New Delhi: Several opposition parties on Tuesday announced that they would observe November 8, the first anniversary of demonetisation, as 'Black Day' and would hold protests across the country to highlight its "ill- effects" on the economy.
Announcing the decision at a joint press conference of the opposition coordination committee, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "This particular announcement made on November 8 is the scam of the century, which is why we are observing this as Black Day." He described the note-ban decision as the National Democratic Alliance government's "most ill-conceived and hasty decision".
"One can say this is a scam of the century. Eighteen political parties have decided to hold protests in every state in their capacity against the government's decision which caused hardship to the people. Never ever in the world people have died because of a government policy," Azad said. Azad, flanked by Sharad Yadav of the breakaway faction of the Janata Dal-United and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien, said, "Each political party will try to give a regional name to observe this as a 'Black Day' and will hold protests and processions."
O'Brien said his party would observe the day as "Kalo Dibas" which is 'Black Day' in Bengali.
"History of modern India will remember the 'scam' which took place on November 8. We had raised a number of questions and our doubts regarding the policy but the government could not answer or erase our doubts," he said.
O'Brien also said that all the 18 parties would interpret the day in different ways "in the true federal structure and will take it forward". Asked why the opposition was not planning a joint and united protest on the day, Azad said the opposition had been "forced" to call November 8 as 'Black Day' and that the parties were united on the issue.
"Since opposition leaders from all parties including regional ones cannot be in Delhi. That is the reason the coordination committee has decided to have protests at every state according to the capacity of various opposition parties. Our purpose is to show our unity," he said.
"When we raised this issue in Parliament, we visualised the problems but general public did not have apprehensions initially. All political parties were branded as if we all are corrupt and we are all black money hoarders. This is how the prime minister tried to project those who opposed demonetisation. Each of them has felt the pinch and realised how much damage we have suffered due to it," he said.
The coordination committee of opposition parties had met on Monday in the Parliament House, where it authorised Azad to talk to other parties and finalise the protest plan on November 8. The group of 18 opposition parties has been standing together against the government and formed the seven-member coordination committee comprising leaders of the Congress, TMC, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Left and the breakaway JD-U faction.