Like millions across the country, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday stepped out of his residence to exchange his old notes and was seen taking selfies with people who were waiting outside a branch of State Bank of India (SBI) at Parliament Street in New Delhi.
Millions across India spent long hours at banks and ATMs trying to withdraw cash after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly declared Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes “worthless pieces of paper”.
“Mere logon ko kasht hua hai, mai unke saath khada hoon yahan (My people have suffered. I am standing by them),” Gandhi said, standing in queue at the State Bank of India branch on Parliament Street here. “Gareeb vyakti ko kasht ho raha hai (The poor are suffering).”
“I have come to exchange Rs. 4,000. My people are suffering, I have come to stand with them,” the Congress Vice President said.
Crowds at the Parliament Street bank were in for a surprise when the 46-year-old leader joined the queue. Crowds jostled to get a selfie with Gandhi who said that he was there because his people were suffering due to the demonetisation.
“Kya apko yaha koi suit boot pehne dikh raha hai, yaha par sab aam log hai jo pareshan hai, par Modi ji ko isse kya farak padta hai. (Can you see anybody here who is high and mighty? Only the troubled common people are here. But how does it matter to Modiji?)” he said.
Taking a swipe at PM Narendra Modi and the government, he said, “The government should be for these people, not a select 10 or 15 people who are not here and suffering”.
Gandhi also sportingly posed for selfies with customers who were stunned to find a VIP in their midst.
When quizzed repeatedly why he was there, Gandhi replied, “You will not understand that. You or your millionaire bosses or the media or the government will never understand what these people are suffering.”
The Congress vice-president had earlier criticised the government’s demonetisation move on Twitter saying that the “real culprits” who had stashed “black money” were “sitting tight” as the farmers, small shopkeepers and housewives faced troubles.