Dehradun: The Congress today observed the first anniversary of note ban as 'black day', sparking sharp reaction from the ruling BJP over the timing of the protest which, it said, was an insult to the people who were set to celebrate the 17th anniversary of Uttarakhand's creation.
Cong Observes Black Day, BJP Criticises Timing
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat claimed was a bold move of the central government which proved to be a milestone in the country's economic reforms.
Led by PCC chief Pritam Singh, Congress leaders and workers participated in large numbers in a march which began from the state party office on Rajpur road and concluded at Rajiv complex.
Singh alleged that demonetisation caused great hardships to small traders, farmers, labourers and low income group people.
"The central government took the step to benefit big industrial houses at the expense of the people who were made to stand in queues outside banks like beggars," he alleged.
"A year on, people still wonder who stood to gain from it, except the high and mighty," he said addressing party workers before the start of the procession. He also criticised the Centre for the manner in which it implemented the GST, alleging it had been done without proper preparation.
"The Congress has always been in favour of the GST. But the manner in which it was implemented by the government without doing the groundwork is highly condemnable. There are four tax slabs under GST which go against the tenets of a uniform tax regime," Singh said.
Similar programmes were held by the Congress in all districts of the state to observe the black day.
The ruling BJP claimed it was an insult to the people of the state who are set to celebrate the 17th anniversary ofthe state's creation tomorrow.
"I criticise my friends in the opposition for having chosen a wrong day to observe black day when the state is all set to celebrate statehood on November 9," Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik who is also the official spokesman of the state government said later at a press conference.
"It is an insult to the people of the state. They could have staged protest rallies and demonstrations which is their democratic right even a couple of days later," he said.
He claimed it was not surprising that the Congress was observing black day today as the party was never in favour of statehood to Uttarakhand.
Countering the opposition charge that the double engine government had failed in Uttarakhand, he claimed it was very much at work.
"Work initiated on all weather roads project, the Rishikesh-Karnaprayag rail link and creation of a separate commission to stop involuntary migration from the hills is enough indication that the double engine government is very much at work," Kaushik said.
The chief minister said, "The ban on high denomination currency notes was a bold step by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has proved to be a milestone in the country's economic reforms process." He was addressing a seminar here to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation which the BJP is celebrating across the country as anti-black money day.
Rawat said the people of the country were against black money, and it was reflected in the massive mandate given to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand where assembly elections were held after the note ban.
Apart from being a step towards cashless economy which gave a boost to digital monetary transactions, the note ban also helped unearth clandestine practices being carried out by fake companies besides leading to an unprecedented rise in the number of taxpayers, Rawat said. "Demonetisation has struck at the root of corruption and dealt a blow to terrorists by blocking their source of funding," he said.