Congress today said it wants “strictest action” against black money but demonetisation was not a solution to fight the menace and described the exercise as a “monumental blunder” and “completely disastrous”.
Senior Congress leader and former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said Modi’s demonetisation was a “political” decision and not an “economic” one and claimed that more black money was unearthed during the tenure of the UPA government under then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“We are for the strictest action against black money. We want black money offenders to be caught….black money to be confiscated and the offenders to be jailed,” he said.
Ramesh was speaking after inaugurating the ‘Jan Vedana Sammelan’ here, organised by Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee as part of AICC’s nation-wide protest campaign against the Centre’s demonetisation policy.
Stating that Congress was not against laws to fight black money, he said what they were agitating against was “taking away” the rights of individuals to withdraw their own money.
“We are not against laws to fight black money. We will fight the evil and menace of black money. But demonetisation is not the way for it,” he said and alleged that the policy had already ruined the economy.
Claiming that Rs 1.30 lakh crore black money was unearthed in the last two years of the UPA government, he said only Rs 1.20 lakh crore of black money was seized in the first two-and-half-years of the Modi government before demonetisation.
“Manmohan Singh government seized more black money than the Modi government,” he said.
Calling Modi ‘Narendra Bin Tuglaq’, the Congress leader said he was now talking of digital economy and a cashless society to cover up the “failure” of bringing back black money as he promised.
“Modi suddenly started talking about digital economy and cashless society. Black money was forgotten.Why? because those who have black money won’t keep cash. They invested in buildings … they buy shares. So the demonetisation, from a black money point of view, is completely disastrous,” he said.
“Our challenge is a political one. We must fight it (demonetisation) politically. It will not work out in economic scenario. It will not bring black money back. It is dangerous to the long-term and short-term interests of the country. PM and BJP should be exposed for their monumental blunder” he said.
Ramesh also took a dig at the Prime Minister’s claim that Jammu and Kashmir had become normal after demonetisation.
“Modi says because of demonetisation, no terrorist attacks. He says no stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir. How could they pelt stones when it is snowing and temperature is two degree Celsius? It’s winter time and nobody is going to come out. But Modi says because of demonetisation, Kashmir has become normal,” he said.