NEW DELHI, (Xinhua) — India’s main opposition Congress party Tuesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not speaking in the Parliament about his government’s sudden move to demonetize currency notes of higher denominations.
“The Prime Minister can speak on television, at a pop concert, but not in Parliament,” Congress party’s second-in-command Rahul Gandhi, told the media in Delhi, referring to Modi’s remarks at the Coldplay concert in Mumbai at the weekend.
The 46-year-old Nehru-Gandhi scion had criticised the prime minister of taking “the most important economic decision” without consulting more than “just three to four people” that resulted in chaos and a nationwide cash crunch.
In a surprise address to the nation on Nov. 8, Modi announced the move to scrap currency notes of 500 rupees and 1,000 rupees (7.5 U.S. dollars and 15 U.S. dollars respectively) as part of his government’s crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings.
Though the move has been welcomed by most Indians, it has led to millions queuing up outside banks to exchange their old notes for new 500 and 2,000 rupee ones and ATM machines running out of cash.
Nearly 80 billion dollars of old currency notes have been deposited in banks so far, the Indian government said, while the prime minister has asked people to bear with some hardship and allow him “just 50 days” till end of the year to push forward his government’s crackdown on black money.