Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata BanerjeeIANS File Photo

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that demonetisation has set India behind by 20 years and that the Opposition would form a common minimum agenda programme on the issue. She also asked if Narendra Modi would resign as prime minister if things did not return to normal after 50 days of the note ban. 

She was speaking to reporters along with other leaders of the Opposition in New Delhi following the all-party meeting called by the Congress and chaired by the party's vice-president Rahul Gandhi. It may be noted that some political parties were already boycotting the meeting and the subsequent press conference, exposing cracks in the erstwhile Unity of the Opposition. 

Banerjee delivered one of the harshest criticisms of demonetisation at this platform — one which put her a cut above Rahul Gandhi, who concluded his statement on demonetisation at the press conference by simply asking what Modi planned to do to alleviate the hardships faced by people due to the move. 

She kept constantly reminding those present at the event that 47 of the proposed 50 days of demonetisation had passed and only three days were left for things to return to normal. She also demanded several times that not only Modi but the whole government should resign if that was not the case. 

Banerjee also hurled several other volleys at Modi, saying the banking and federal structure had become baseless and the government had become faceless in the name of cashless economy. She also said many industries had been destroyed and others hurt badly due to the move. She gave the examples of people from the lowest strata of society who she said were going hungry due to demonetisation.

Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, was not as aggressive when addressing the press conference. He urged Modi to come clean on the exact reason behind demonetisation. He also brought up the issue of the Sahara papers again, demanding that everyone named in them should be investigated thoroughly.