Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden call on November 8 to declare Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes not as legal tender has sparked off a financial crisis in the country, giving a good reason for the Opposition to score brownie points. However, despite their common attempt to corner the government, the Opposition’s united stand seems to have fallen flat due to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. For this crack in ‘united’ Opposition, Narendra Modi should thank Didi.
The Opposition has been demanding ever since Parliament’s Winter Session began that Modi speak on the tricky issue in both Houses, but the Prime Minister is yet to met the demand and the logjam continues.
In her attempt to forge an opposition unity against the BJP, it may be recalled that Mamata Banerjee had, in a dramatic U-turn, even agreed to join hands with the CPM and dialed Sitaram Yechury and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s numbers. But her so-called unity mantra did not impress either.
As a result, while several parties are against demonetisation and are taking part in various protests, they are not part of the Monday Bharat Bandh called by the Left.
Mamata Banerjee led a protest march against demonetisation in Kolkata on Monday. Her suggestion, which was also a veiled attack, to the Left leaders was: “In order to protest, one must take to the streets. Let me tell my CPM friends just try to do the politics on the streets.”
Menwhile, the CPM termed Mamata’s offer as a desperate call and a bid to save her own partymen involved in host of controversies. Many of her partymen, incidentally, feature in Narada News – X Files sting tapes and the Sharada chit fund scam. Thus, leaving Mamata in the lurch and giving the Modi government the much-needed breather.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Sunday said it had not called for a Bharat Bandh or a countrywide shutdown, but ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ to hold protests over demonetisation.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party has spread the misinformation that the Congress and other opposition parties have called for a bandh. The country is already shut from November 9, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation move. That’s why we don’t want a ‘Bharat Bandh’,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said.
Rahul Gandhi said: “What the PM has done is the biggest impromptu financial experiment in the world. He did not ask anyone.”
He had earlier said, “The Prime Minister can give lectures to pop concert where ‘naach gaana’ is going on. 200 MPs are saying they want to tell the nation why he took this decision. PM does not want to come to Parliament. Why is PM afraid of going inside? He is obviously anxious about something.”