[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Supreme Court refused to stay proceedings in cases filed in high courts and lower courts against the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. A bench said the petitions in the various courts highlight “the different inconveniences highlighted in the various cases filed across the country, maybe some relief can be had by these people”. The Supreme Court had refused to “shut its door” to the “frantic and affected” public. The court allowed cash-starved co-operative banks to approach their respective High Courts for succour. The Centre, however, maintained that the demonetisation policy, an exercise meant to weed out black money and cripple terror funding, is a success. The Attorney General (AG) said queues in front of banks and ATMs have thinned and normalcy would be restored in the next 20 days. The court also asked whether farmers are able to buy seeds at the peak of the rabi season. The AG informed that alternate arrangements have been made, special teams sent to all the states and the situation will be monitored on an hourly basis. However, reality is totally different. The Supreme Court issued notice to all petitioners on a Centre’s plea to transfer the demonetisation cases in various courts to either the apex court or a high court, and not to spread it in entire country’s courts. The court will hear in this aspect on December 2.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders unitedly marched against demonetization. Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal United, and four lawmakers of the Samajwadi Party, including actor turned politician Jaya Bachchan were present at Mamata Banerjee’s protest held at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. Two hundred opposition lawmakers walked in a single line in the parliament complex on Wednesday morning to show their solidarity with the people queuing outside banks. West Bengal CM, in the second edition of her street protests in Delhi over the government’s currency ban, challenged BJP to perform in forthcoming elections ‘win and show’. She has vowed to take her protests to other cities, including Varanasi, Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, where elections will be held soon. She has however linked her party’s sweep of by-elections in West Bengal to what she called a “people’s revolt” against the notes ban. The ruling BJP says its “excellent” performance in three states in the by-elections is a signal that people support PM Modi’s tough reform despite the hardships it has caused to them because they believe it holds long term benefits for them and punishes the corrupt.
Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) is a part of a united opposition offensive over the ban on Rs. 500 and 1000 notes in parliament. The opposition parties have disrupted parliament since the winter session began, demanding that the Prime Minister explain the notes ban in the Rajya Sabha. The opposition parties say they will now take their protest countrywide on November 28, coming Monday, giving separate calls for demonstrations and marches. On the same day, the Congress plans to protest in districts and state capitals against what it calls the failure of the government in giving people access to their own money. It will also hold protests in front of banks. At the protest, Rahul Gandhi described the demonetisation as the world’s “biggest impromptu financial experiment” and said a united opposition is firm on their demand for a joint parliamentary committee investigation into what he alleges was a selective leak about the demonetisation announcement. Biggest corrupts are out for everyone to see. If these 200 MPs worked for their people to ease this tension, they would have been called as National heroes. Opposition MPs from the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress, DMK and Left parties participated in the protest.
In parliament, they have united to attack the government, disrupting proceedings in both houses as they demanded that the Prime Minister should explain the notes ban in the Rajya Sabha. They have also demanded a vote at the end of a debate on the notes ban in the Lok Sabha. The government has rejected both demands. The Prime Minister was in the Lok Sabha, but the opposition forced an adjournment of the house because their demand for a discussion with a vote was not met.
Two weeks of queues and cashless ATMs, Modi wants to assess the mood of the people, directly from them. He sought a rating of demonetisation in a 10-step survey, calling it “Jan Jan Ki Baat”. Within hours of the PM seeking citizens’ feedback on the most burning issue on his Narendra Modi (NaMo) application, there were around 10,000 retweets and over 23,000 likes on his Twitter handle. However people from the rural and urban areas who stood in the queues couldn’t go online to mention their grievances online. Finally, the PM has asked for ideas and insights after the country has experienced the after-effects of demonetisation. He also wants the app followers who have taken the dipstick survey to inspire friends and family to do the same. To get a 360 degree view of the big ban that has put the nation in queue for two weeks now, I hope the chaos ends somewhere and people can resume their normal routine, else as opposition challenged, BJP will face tough time ahead.
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