On the first anniversary of demonetization ordered by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on November 8 last year, opposition parties conducted rallies and protest meetings across the country and lambasted the decision calling it a disaster, that it destroyed the labour sector rendering lacks of people jobless, that it was a ‘legalized loot and plunder’ and resulted in deaths and misery for people at large. While the opposition observed Black Day to express their wrath and condemnation, the ruling BJP organized Anti-Black Money Day. Adamant in his stand, the Prime Minister said it was a decisive battle against black money. The fact of the matter is that no black money was unearthed by the miscalculated and ill-advised adventure.
In an opinion piece for Financial Times, on November 8, Rahul Gandhi wrote, “Demonetisation has wiped out 2 per cent of India’s Gross Domestic Product, destroyed the formal labour sector and wiped out many small and medium businesses. It has ruined the lives of millions of hard working Indians.” He said Modi converted anger of youth due to joblessness into communal hatred.
Hundreds of Congress workers in New Delhi formed a human chain as a part of their party’s observance of November 8 as Black Day on the anniversary of note ban. In the Left parties’ protest meeting the CPM leaders said the decision of scrapping of high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 was undemocratically taken by the Prime Minister without the consultation of the cabinet. This whimsical step taken by the government ruined the lives and livelihood of the poor.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated his opinion that the decision was ‘an organised loot and legalized plunder’. While responding to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who said it was an ethical step, former Finance Minister Chidambaram questioned if demonetization was ethical, was it ethical to heap misery on millions of people especially 15 crore daily wage earners?, he asked. However, the government is unmoved by the opposition stir.