Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax had “broken the legs of Surat”, as the Opposition observed a “Black Day” to mark the first anniversary of the note ban, PTI reported.

After speaking to industry representatives and workers in Surat in poll-bound Gujarat, Gandhi told reporters, “There was an attack on India’s economy one year back.”

On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were no longer legal tender, and the government would introduce new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes. People were asked to swap old notes for the new ones.

“I interacted with the people here, and they told me that demonetisation and then GST broke Surat’s legs,” Gandhi said. “Industries were finished by the twin blows not only here, but in the entire country.”

Surat has been competing with China for jobs, but the government has destroyed their strength with these “twin blows” to the Indian economy, the Congress leader said.

Reiterating that the Congress had told Prime Minister Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to not implement the Goods and Services Tax regime in July, Gandhi said that it was not a political matter between the Congress and the BJP. “This is about India’s competitiveness, we have to compete with China...Please do not kill our industries and businesses,” the Congress had told the ruling party, Gandhi said.

“GST means one nation, one tax...But this GST, implemented by Modiji, which has five layers, will not work,” the Congress scion added. “We had said that maximum cap on taxes should be 18% but they did not listen to us.”

Black Day protests

Members of the Opposition parties protested in New Delhi, Hyderabad and other parts of the country to observe the first anniversary of demonetisation as a black day. Here are some visuals.