West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee upped the ante against the Centre’s move of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on Saturday and said that she was ready to work with all opposition parties, including the CPI(M), against the Centre.
Serpentine queues were witnessed in front of banks as harassed people waited for hours to withdraw money, even as ATMs ran dry on the second day after ATM withdrawal was allowed following a two-day moratorium. Despite efforts by banks to ease the situation, people complained that ATMs were running dry within hours of re-opening and timely refilling was not being done in the metropolis or in the districts.
“The Centre cannot scare us. We are not afraid of them. I appeal to all opposition parties to come together, including CPI(M) to put up a protest against the demonetisation of currency notes,” said Banerjee while addressing reporters at the state secretariat – Nabanna, adding “We thank the parties who have opposed the note ban. There should be more protests. Will Emergency be imposed next?” she asked.
Banerjee lashed out at the Central government and termed it ‘anti-poor’. “This anti-people, anti-poor government has no moral right to continue in power. This is a dictatorship. People will teach the BJP a lesson in future elections. I don’t care if I am jailed for voicing my opinions. Are they going to get army to shoot us? I will speak for common people. I supported them on GST. But this is a disaster. There should be a judicial inquiry on the economic loss in the country due to note ban in the last few days. This is not a surgical strike on black money but complete financial surgical anarchy,” said Banerjee.
Earlier in the day, Mamata visited some banks and ATMs in South Kolkata to take stock of the situation.
She visited three banks at – Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Ashutosh Mukherjee Road and Sarat Bose Road and spoke to people who had been waiting in line for hours. She advised customers who had been waiting in the queue to exchange currency or withdraw cash to ask for Rs 100 notes instead of the Rs 2,000 notes.
Later, Banerjee even spoke to a bank official, who highlighted that the banks did not have sufficient cash to dispense, following the demonetisation.
(With Agency Inputs)