Protesting against demonetisation, Left parties on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of pushing the country into an "unprecedented financial turmoil" and questioned why he was not speaking in Parliament on the issue.
During their protest here as part of "Jan Aakrosh Diwas" against demonetisation, seven Left parties including the CPI(M) and CPI decried the invalidation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes as "anti-poor and pro-corporate" and demanded that the government let people use the old notes until it makes new notes available.
"We believe the prime minister has brought the country to a standstill. He has imposed deshbandi (holding country hostage) with notebandi (demonetisation).
"90 per cent of our people do cash transactions every day. Their lives have been hit quite hard. We are protesting against all this," CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said during the protest.
Continuing their attack on the prime minister over his alleged absence from Parliament, where opposition MPs are demanding that he reply to a debate on demonetisation, the Left parties questioned his "silence" on the floor of the House, calling him "Narendra Maun (silent) Modi".
Yechury claimed that while the November 8 decision has farmers and daily wage earners reeling under hardships, the stated objectives of demonetisation are unlikely to be achieved.
He suggested the government ushering in Rs 2000 currency note will rather "double" corruption.
Yechury reiterated the charge that BJP and "those who had black money" were "aware" of the prime minister's move.
"The BJP (reportedly) purchased lands in the run up to the decision in Bihar. Those with black money had already made arrangements. How come they were aware of demonetisation move?" he asked.
The Rajya Sabha member asked the government to crack the whip on those who have black money stashed in banks abroad and also act against corporate houses which have faltered on payments of bank loans.
Referring to Modi calling his predecessor Manmohan Singh as "Maunmohan Singh" during poll campaigns, Yechury said the situation was different now as Singh has spoken on demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha last week but the PM was silent.
"Now it was a coincidence, when Singh spoke in Parliament, the Prime Minister was silent, (he) became Narendra Maun Modi. This is the situation," Yechury quipped.
CPI national secretary D Raja, who also addressed the protesters, echoed Yechury views saying the decision has caused "unprecedented financial turmoil" in the country and subjected people to "huge hardships, unimaginable miseries and humiliations".
'Modi must apologise to nation'
Congress lashed out at Narendra Modi terming him "insensitive" for his remarks in the 'Mann ki Baat' radio programme saying he talked of moving towards a cashless society when a very small population of the country used plastic money.
"The prime minister, in his programme on Sunday, had said the youth and tech-savvy should help others in moving towards a cashless society. But, he must remember what percentage of the people uses credit and debit cards.
"People are dying due the impact of demonetisation and he makes such remarks. Modi is insensitive," Congress leader Anand Sharma told a gathering of Youth Congress workers and NSUI members in front of the IYC office on Raisina Road.
"Modiji doesn't do 'Mann Ki Baat'. He only likes listening to himself and doing what he pleases," he alleged.
Modi, in his radio programme, had appealed to the people to shift to a cashless system of transactions and asked the youth to help in the process by educating the elders and those not literate.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala attacked the prime minister saying he must also "try to listen to the voices of those whose family members had died due to the impact of demonetisation".
"Modiji has started this problem and instead of indulging in a political slugfest with the opposition, he and his government should try to find a solution to it," he said.
Surjewala reiterated his party's stand of demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Centre's demonetisation decision, which the Congress alleged was a "scam".
Sharma said even in the US, "dollars are used as black money but they don't suddenly remove their currency".
"Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes accounted for about 86 per cent of the currencies in circulation. Is he saying that 86 per cent of the money was black? Modi has denigrated the country by this move and he must apologise to the nation," the Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said.
NSUI workers later attempted to take out a march towards Parliament but were prevented by the police who detained them after they tried to climb the barricade.
Youth Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda also took part in the protest.