New Delhi: Former finance minister P. Chidambaram on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should now make a categorical announcement of an end to all restrictions on cash withdrawals.
“When the PM addresses the nation tomorrow or on any other day, the people expect that he will make a categorical announcement that all restrictions on money have been ended,” he told reporters at AICC headquarters.
On Centre’s claim that people are happy and there have been no incidents of rioting, he said, “people are patient. But please don’t mistake patient people for happy people.”
Congress also fielded its vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who reiterated his five questions to PM that he had raised earlier on the party’s foundation day.
Continuing his attack on Mr Modi, Mr Chidambaram said that since the PM had recently said at a rally that “through the note ban, we destroyed the world of terrorism, drug mafia, human trafficking and underworld,” he said that it was therefore, fair to expect that these objectives would be achieved by Friday-end. “It is fair to expect that beginning Monday, all restrictions will be removed and people will be able to withdraw the money, that there will be no queues and that all ATMs will be open round the clock,” he said.
Mr Chidambaram said that the “only person” who can assure the people on these matters is the PM because his government has “dubbed all of us in the Opposition as supporters of black money hoarders and tax evaders.”
Seeking to debunk government’s claims on the benefits of demonetisation, he said “Events of the last 50 days have proved us correct. Hoards of black money in new Rs 2,000 notes have been found.”
He further said that bribes have been given and taken in new Rs 2,000 notes and there is “no guarantee” that black money will not be demanded or generated in future or that bribes will not be given or taken in future in the new currency.
Dubbing the way the demonetisation was announced and implemented as a “single biggest case of total mismanagement”, he regretted the most momentous decision has been taken “without consulting key officials.”
Making a strong pitch for compensating people for the hardships they faced, he lamented that the government has “not uttered a word” about compensating the people for the economic losses heaped upon them by demonetisation.
He also demanded that the Agenda note and the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Directors of RBI held on November 8, 2016, along with the Note for Cabinet on demonetisation placed before the Cabinet on November 8, 2016, should be made public.