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Interview With Idris Ali

Interview With Idris Ali

Disruptions in Parliament over demonetization continued and the month-long winter session of Parliament ended on Friday. The demonetisation row led to a virtual washout and made the winter session as one of the "least productive" sessions in the last 15 years.

The opposition intends to hit the streets over demonetization now even as the deadline of December 30 draws closer. PM Modi had appealed to the people to support the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and asked them to bear the “pain” for “50 days” to help him deliver the “India of your dreams”. December 30 will be the 50th day. The opposition parties are keeping a close watch on the government and its further actions.

Anju Grover for Indian Currents spoke to Idris Ali, Trinamool Congress MP, to know the opposition’s future strategy on demonetisation. Ali refused to disclose anything on the strategy but said that he was not optimistic about change in the ground situation after Dec 30. He said that people will continue to suffer and black money hoarders will make more money.

IC: The logjam in Parliament over demonetization continued and winter session ended without much work. What do you have to say?

Idris Ali: We are not to be blamed for the washout. It is the government which is responsible for the disruptions in both houses of Parliament.

IC: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has blamed the opposition parties for the logjam in Parliament… your comments.

He can say whatever he wants to. In my personal opinion, central government is squarely responsible for washout of the winter session. Prime Minister Modi is responsible for it. The government and PM were scared of the opposition and hence did not allow the discussion in the Parliament. Congress party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi was not allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha. Our leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandhopadhyay was not allowed to speak. The opposition wanted a discussion but they were scared. “Daal me kuch kala hai” (there is something fishy in the ruling party).

IC: What will be TMC’s strategy now? Will your party hit the streets to continue its fight against demonetization?

I cannot say anything on it at the moment. Rather, I should not say anything. Our party supremo Mamata Banerjee and party leader in Lok Sabha Sudipto Banerjee can speak about our future strategy. Our party supremo Mamata Banerjee has called for a meeting on Dec 22 to finalise party’s strategy on demonetization issue. Other political parties will be contacted after our strategy is finalized.

IC: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had stated that that his speech on demonetisation - if he's allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha - has the potential to cause an "earthquake". He also said that he has detailed information to establish Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "personal corruption". Your comments.

Obviously, he has some concrete information and documents relating to Modi. Without proof, why would he say such a thing? After all, Rahul Gandhi is a responsible leader and vice-president of Congress party.

IC: There are differences of opinions among the opposition parties on demonetization. It was evident when Gandhi-led Congress delegation raised the issue of farmer suicides with PM Modi on Friday and urged him to write off the loans given to farmers like it has been done in the case of corporates. TMC was not there.

There is no disunity among the opposition political parties. All party representatives were there when they met President Pranab Mukherjee. As regards to opposition delegation’s meeting with PM, I have no information about it. All the opposition parties are united on demonetization.

IC: Unearthing of cash worth over 11 crores from different persons and places, and spending hours in front of banks and ATMs by the people are linked. Nearly 100 people have lost their lives due to monetization. The Courts have expressed serious concern over demonetization. Your comments.

The government should give compensation to next kith and kin of those who lost their lives due to demonetization. People of this country have suffered and are suffering because of demonetization. Therefore it is the responsibility of the government to pay compensation to those who have lost their lives due to the government’s initiative which was anti-people.

IC: December 30 will be 50th day. Do you think the situation would improve by then?

I have no faith in the PM. People of India have no faith in Prime Minister except black money hoarders and goondas. By and large, people are not with him.

IC: The BJP is confident about coming to power in Uttar Pradesh. If so, it will be a huge endorsement of PM Modi's demonentisation drive. The result will also be used to measure his chances of retaining power in 2019. Your comments.

People of UP will not vote for the BJP. The BJP will not come to power in UP elections. It will not retain power in 2019 elections also. There is no way that the BJP can come to power in UP or in Lok Sabha elections 2019 .Their candidates will lose surety bonds in Gujarat and other states as well.

IC: Few Chief Ministers including Bihar CM Nitish Kumar have been supporting demonetization. But your Chief Minister has been continuously opposing demonetization.

Janata Dal (U) leader Sharad Yadav is with us, although Nitish Kumar has been supporting demonetization. I have my doubts that JDU is on board with the NDA on demonetization.

IC: Mamata Banerjee, who is at the forefront of the anti-demonetisation protest, has expressed her concern over people's hardship and "political discrimination amongst states" in meeting with RBI Governor. How, please explain.

Whatever Mamata Banerjee has said, is correct. I would not like to add anything in it.

IC: Post winter session, what will be your party’s strategy and strategy of the opposition on demonetization?

Ms Banerjee, who has been leading fight against demonetization, will continue with it. She will decide next strategy. Like TMC, all the opposition parties unitedly fight against demonetization and there are no two opinions about it.

(Published on 19th December 2016, Volume XXVIII, Issue 51)#