NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi today requested for the opposition’s cooperation on demonetisation, maintaining that the government has launched a “crusade” against corruption and black money with the decision to ban 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
“We have launched a crusade against corruption, black money and fake currency, which is also behind cross-border terrorism. All parties should come together on this issue of national interest,” the PM said, speaking at a meeting of all parties ahead of the winter session of parliament that begins tomorrow.
“Parliament is the right forum to send out a positive message about politicians by addressing the issues appropriately. Politicians are accused of several things and it was time we could send out a positive message to the people,” the PM said.
Opposition parties said at the meeting that the government was ill-prepared and had made a hasty decision, causing “economic chaos”.
“We are not for a roll back of demonetisation, but are against the economic chaos inflicted by this hasty, unprepared move, said the Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad. He alleged that the decision to abolish the big currency notes was leaked in advance to some people, including BJP leaders, and said it was “probably the biggest scam.”
The Congress has moved notices in both houses of parliament to seeking that all other work be set aside so that demonetisation can be discussed first tomorrow. But it has declined to join a march organised by the Trinamool Congress to petition the President for a roll back of the move.
The Aam Aadmi Party and the National Conference are the only opposition parties that have confirmed participation in the march, as has BJP ally, the Shiv Sena.
At today’s meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley refuted the Opposition’s contention that the government was ill-prapared. It was, he said, fully prepared for the withdrawal of high value notes despite the secrecy that the move required.
PM Modi, who made concluding remarks at the meeting, said the government was willing to discuss all issues and answer questions raised by the opposition. He said he hoped for a fruitful session, recalling the passage of the landmark Goods and Services Tax or GST Bill in the last session with the cooperation of all parties.
Passing two bills related to GST is the number 1 priority of the government in this session, for which it needs the support of opposition parties, especially in the Rajya Sabha or Upper House where it is in a minority.