Demonetisation was a blow to the India economy and China is benefiting from it, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Surat on Saturday. Singh was addressing entrepreneurs in the city as both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party intensified campaigning for the Gujarat elections. The former prime minister took an apparent jibe at his successor’s claim’s of a humble background.
The polls are scheduled to be held on December 9 and December 14.
“I do not want the country to take pity on me on the basis of my humble background,” Singh said. “I do not think I would like to enter in any competition with Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi Ji on this particular matter.”
Singh reiterated his criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s demonetisation decision. “Demonetisation cost us Rs 1.5 lakh crore. GDP growth rate in the first quarter fell to 5.7%,” Singh said, according to The Indian Express. Singh said small and medium enterprises suffered because of demonetisation and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. “Even if growth reaches 6.7% in 2017-18, it is still below UPA’s 10-year average of 10.6%,” he said.
Demonetisation did not achieve any of the objectives it set out to ensure, the former prime minister said. “None of the objectives of demonetisation, including curbing counterfeit money and rooting out black money, have been met. On the other hand it converted black money to white while the poor suffered,” he said.
“More than a hundred people lost their lives standing in queue after demonetisation. November 8 was a Black Day for our democracy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was also in Surat to campaign for the BJP.
The previous UPA government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the “most corrupt” and “leaderless”, Jaitley said, according to The Statesman.
“The 10 years of governance before [Narendra] Modi ji’s government was the most corrupt we have ever seen,” Jaitley said.