The Congress on Thursday hit out at the government on the November 8 demonetisation and a drop in economic growth thereafter, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go down in history along with 14th century Delhi Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq.
The party also demanded Modi’s resignation over the demonetisation decision.
In a series of tweets, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Gross Domestic Product growth had slowed down but those living in ivory towers continued to be oblivious to the “demonetisation disaster”.
“In last six quarters the economy under Modiji sank from 9.2% to 5.7%! This is by new method of calculation! Is this #DemonetisationSuccess formula?”
“GDP growth slows from over 8% to 5.7% yet those living in glass houses of #DemonetisationDisaster remain oblivious in their ivory tower.”
“PM Modiji will go down in history alongside Mohammad bin Tughlaq for #DemonetisationScam. If morality has a place, he should consider to quit.”
Mohammed bin Tughlak was known for his eccentric decisions to shift his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad (in present-day Maharashtra) and change the currency. The decisions had misfired.
Surjewala told the media here that demonetisation had “wrecked” the Indian economy.
“Will PM Modi today introspect, and apologise to the nation. If morality has any foundation, will he care to step down for lying to the nation, for misleading the nation?” the Congress leader said.
The Congress leader referred to the Reserve Bank of India’s annual report and said of the currency in circulation in November 2016, 99 per cent had come back into the banking system.
He said the cost of printing the new currency was more than the amount that did not return. “What has India gained?” he asked.
Surjewala said the Finance Ministry had stated that demonetisation aimed at ending fake currency. However, he said, only .0013 per cent currency was found to be fake.
Pointing to the government’s claim that demonetisation would be an assault on finances of terrorists and Maoists, he said post-demonetisation there were 36 major terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir alone and 58 Army personnel and 36 civilians lost their lives.
There were 13 major attacks by Maoists and 69 security personnel and 81 civilians died, he added.
“Will the Prime Minister answer as to who is responsible for 104 deaths during demonetisation? Why did the RBI issue 107 circulars and kept changing rules? How will the ruined agricultural economy be restored? What will happen to ordinary housewives whose entire earnings were lost? What will happen to small businesses?” he asked.
Official data showed on Thursday that India’s GDP growth for the first quarter of the current fiscal ended June slowed down to 5.7 per cent from 6.1 per cent for the fourth quarter of 2016-17.