NEW DELHI:Opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, scaled up their protests today to implement what they have called 'Jan Aakrosh Diwas' — a day of expressing public anger at the inconvenience caused due to the scrapping of old currency notes.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament became a rallying point for leaders of the Opposition, including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and other politicians from DMK, CPM, Congress and RJD. The Congress has made it clear that they intend to only protest and not called for a nationwide lockdown, as it will further hurt business.
DMK leader MK Stalin has been taken into preventive custody in Chennai, and workers of other parties have also been detained. In Kerala, a 12-hour bandh has brought the state to a standstill. Police vehicles were used to transport railway passengers and patients to the Regional Cancer Centre, and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private buses were off the roads, according to PTI.
Similarly, life in Tripura has also been affected by the shutdown. Schools and colleges remained closed in Odisha. In Mumbai, Congress workers took out a rally and raised slogans against the poor implementation of demonetisation.
In the national capital, traffic was affected due to rallies by Left parties, including CPI(M) and CPI from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. NSUI, student wing of the Congress, had also planned a protest march from Raisina Road to Parliament but police personnel barricaded the area and did not allow them to proceed.
Heavy police deployment was made to thwart any attempt to march towards Parliament. Water cannons were also stationed at the protest site.
"PM should know that how many people have bank accounts and use credit and debit cards," senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said.
According to NDTV, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have been reaching out to opposition leaders for the smooth functioning of parliament.
Incidentally, BJP workers in Nagpur are observing a 'Jan Abhaar Diwas' by distributing flowers and sweets to those willing to work today, to counter the 'Akrosh', reported Indian Express.
However, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi took a jibe at the opposition today, claiming that their anger was not over demonetisation, but over Centre's "blockade" of black money.
"Aakrosh (anger) is not against 'Notebandi' but against Nakebandi (blockade) of black money," the Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs tweeted.
In Kerala, banks, newspapers, milk supply, hospitals and marriage functions would be exempted from the shutdown.
In Bengal, Mamata Banerjee made a fiery speech, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking a unilateral decision that has affected the life of millions
Yesterday former Union Cabinet Minister Jairam Ramesh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was indulging in "dhamaka" politics and the decision to scrap high-value currency notes was taken because he had seen the "writing on the wall" in Uttar Pradesh, where polls are due next year, PTI reported.
"Unfortunately, people who needed to be attacked have gone scot-free," he said, adding that one section of "suited-booted" people was still leading a life of luxury.
News18 reported that CPI(ML) workers in Darbhanga and Jahanabad, Bihar, stopped trains as part of their protest against the currency ban. Samajwadi Party workers in Allahabad burnt effigies and raised slogans.