Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of hitting the economy with the two 'torpedoes' of note ban and GST and not understanding the pain the moves inflicted on the people.
The Congress, which is observing November 8 -- which was when Modi announced the note ban measure last year -- as a "Black Day", said it would take out protest rallies under the slogan "Bhugat raha hai desh" (India continues to suffer).
"November 8 is a sad day for the country," Gandhi said.
The day's 'barsi' -- Hindi for death anniversary -- would be marked with candle marches starting at 8 PM across the country to coincide with Modi's announcement. The marches would also be a tribute to those who lost their lives or livelihood because of demonetisation, Congress leaders said.
The protests will be led by Gandhi, who has asked state leaders to head the rallies in their regions.
Gandhi, who chaired a meeting of the party's general secretaries and in-charges which gave the final shape to the plan, attacked Modi, saying he had destroyed the country's economy with the two "torpedoes".
He also chaired a meeting on the GST that was attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh amd former ministers P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh, where the leaders said the Modi government's GST had "inherent flaws".
Singh noted with concern that its "faulty design" had killed jobs and businesses.
Criticising the government's plan to celebrate the day, Gandhi said the prime minister's decisions had caused immense agony to people.
He wondered why the government was "celebrating" the anniversary of the note ban, which he described as a "total disaster".
"I don't know what is there to celebrate," he said.
Gandhi said while the economy could withstand the first "torpedo" of the note ban, it could not do so with the GST, and was "shattered" by immense job losses.
The economy, he said, "was in tatters now".
"The prime minster is not able to understand the feeling of the people and the hurt and sadness these two decisions have caused," he told reporters after the two meetings.
GST was a "good idea" which had been "destroyed" by the Modi government, Gandhi claimed, adding the that party would not rest till the problems were resolved by the government.
Addressing a press conference later, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala called demonetisation the "century's biggest scam" and said demonstrations would be held in every district and state capital on November 8.
"Sadly, a government drunk with power and blinded by arrogance has the audacity to celebrate the 'surgical strike' on India's economy. People will never pardon the BJP," he said.
Surjewala said it was time for the BJP and Modi to face the nation on promises made and not delivered, and "suffer the punishment in the people's court".
Also present for the GST meeting was Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal and RPN Singh. Badal said all Congress finance ministers would raised public concerns on GST at the November 10 meeting of the GST Council in Guwahati.
"We will demand exemptions from GST for small traders in cycle, gem, jewellery and textile sectors," he said.
Surjewala said Gandhi noted that both demonetisation and GST were sold to the people by the BJP and the prime minister as a panacea for the poor, ordinary people and small businesses and for fighting black money.
"Demonetisation and GST have turned out to be a double whammy in the life of ordinary people and have crippled or shut down businesses, besides leading to large scale job losses," he quoted Gandhi as saying.
The PM, he said, had promised to bring black money back.
"But where is the black money, since 99 per cent of all the currency has come back? Where is the fake money? Has terrorism stopped," he asked.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)