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February 2, 2017

Trinamool slams Centre over political vendetta, demonetisation and Digital India

Trinamool slams Centre over political vendetta, demonetisation and Digital India

Trinamool Congress today slammed the Centre on the issue of political vendetta and Digital India during a discussion in Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address. Speaking on behalf of the party, leader of the Parliamentary Party in RS, Derek O’Brien accused the Centre of mainstreaming hate.

He also remarked that PM now stands for Photo Mantri. Citing the instance of PM’s mother standing in the queue of bank during demonetization, he said he would never let his mother to stand in a queue. He also slammed the PM for his jokes on demonetization at Coldplay concert and the replacement of Gandhi ji’s image in Khadi calendar with that of the PM.

Speaking on the effects of demonetization, Derek highlighted that unemployment increased to 7% in the weeks following demonetization in the informal sector. He said 25 crore daily wage workers lost their jobs. He also highlighted the 50% decline in revenue in the MSME sector and 35% job losses along with 40% drop in FMCG sales.

Derek said that India is perhaps the only democracy where the head of government attacks an individual for holding a different view. He cited that 26 Twitter handles that routinely give rape and death threats are followed by the PM. Derek went on to say that the government speaks of Digital India but practices Divisive India. He appealed to all to make ‘Be India’ the slogan.

Attacking the government on political vendetta, Derek said that in a democracy one can have political differences. He said Trinamool’s leader in Lok Sabha and another MP were arrested within a span of few days because Trinamool has been vocal against demonetization from November 8 itself.

He also slammed the government’s ‘digital economy’ initiative. He said to go from point one to point ten one can miss a few steps but not all steps. Derek cited that 4 out of 5 villages in India do not have bnks and only 6% of all debit cards are used for transactions.

On the welfare of women and children, he cited the success story of Kanyashree: “They spoke about Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. I want to speak about Kanyashree because in my State of Bengal 38 lakhs of young girls have benefitted from this scheme. No wonder why this is one of the important reasons why in May, 2016 we won such a fabulous re-endorsement of Mamata Di in Bengal.”

He also mentioned that Trinamool is the only party to have 34% women MPs while the Women’s Reservation Bill is still pending. On communal harmony, Derek quoted former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpyee and took on Modi for his “hum paanch, humare pachchees” remark in 2002.

In his closing remarks, Derek paraphrased a famous quote:

“First they came for the Dalits, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Dalit.

Then they came for the daily wage worker, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a daily wage worker.

Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Muslim.

Then they came for the farmer, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a farmer.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”


Read the full speech here.