Unfazed by the absence of leaders of the Left, the Janata Dal-United, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee along with some regional parties on Tuesday sought to put up a united face raising the pitch against demonetisation by demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After the eight-party meeting, the leaders also sought a probe into the issue of “personal corruption” of Modi with Gandhi insisting that a “free and fair” inquiry was needed to maintain the credibility of the prime minister’s post.
Banerjee, whose presence rescued the Congress’ plan of replicating the opposition unity witnessed in Parliament recently on the note ban issue, virtually stole the show by placing the resignation demand, a position subsequently echoed by Gandhi.
Both Gandhi and Banerjee spoke of a “common minimum agenda” being evolved to take the opposition unity forward even as he downplayed the absence of several other parties, including the Left, from the meet which preceded the press conference.
Escalating the attack on Modi, Gandhi described the note ban as a “single arbitrary financial experiment in the history of the world that affected 1.3 billion people” and asked him to explain the “real” reason for implementing it and take responsibility for giving pain to people.
He also raised the demand that Modi answer the charges of “personal corruption” made against him in the wake of his name allegedly figuring in the “Sahara and Birla diaries”
“Will you take responsibility over demonetisation and resign. Will you resign from prime ministership,” Banerjee asked, as she termed demonetisation as a “mega scam” in the name of “achhe din” (good days).
The West Bengal chief minister said that 47 days are over and only three days are left in the 50-day period sought by Modi for return of normalcy post the note ban.
“He is not a magician to perform magic. No miracle will happen. You promised to bring ‘achhe din’. Are these ‘achhe din’? In the name of cashless, Modi government has become faceless and baseless.
“Demonetisation is not a small issue. If government becomes weak, the country is weakened,” she said.
Asked what if the PM did not resign, Gandhi said, “If he does not resign, we will put pressure on him to resign.”
Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo