Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday held the Modi government responsible for taking away livelihoods through demonetisation and said her party will ensure that the nation never forgets or forgives the "Tughlaqi blunder".
She said the prime minister and his colleagues have never taken responsibility for the "faux pas" that claimed over 120 lives and proved a death knell for India's medium and small businesses.
"No matter how much the Modi government may try and evade responsibility for this ludicrous and short-sighted measure, the nation and its people will ensure that they are held accountable," Sonia Gandhi said in a statement.
"The prime minister and his colleagues have stopped speaking about demonetisation since 2017, hoping that the nation will forget. Unfortunately for them, the Congress will ensure that neither the nation nor history, forgives or forgets. Because unlike the BJP, we serve in the 'National Interest'," she added.
She said three years on, demonetisation is perhaps the single most appropriate metaphor for the BJP's "ill-conceived governance model".
"It was a preposterous measure fuelled by false propaganda, which did untold damage to innocent and trusting countrymen. This, in a nutshell, is a summary of the Modi Government's approach to Governance," she said.
"Yet, despite all the empty rhetoric about holding himself accountable, the prime minister and his colleagues never once took responsibility for - or even acknowledged - this faux pas that claimed over a hundred and twenty lives (by a conservative estimate), proved a death knell for India's medium and small businesses, snatched the livelihoods of India's farmers and reduced millions of families to the very margins of poverty," she noted.
Sonia Gandhi recalled that on November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Modi demonetised the ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes by one sweeping measure and promised the nation to wipe out black money, eliminate fake currency and purge terrorism and Naxalism.
The BJP government even told the Supreme Court that black money to the tune of ₹3,00,000 crore will be purged as it would not return into the system. Subsequently, the prime minister added the objective of the abolition of cash currency usage and to replace it with a digital economy, she said.
"Three years later, Prime Minister Modi has failed spectacularly on all these counts," she said.
The Congress chief said the RBI has confirmed that 99.3 per cent of all the devalued ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes have been re-deposited with zero windfall gain. "Fake notes turned out to be a miniscule and negligible percentage of the notes in circulation (again, as per the RBI)." Terror and Naxalite activities have actually seen an increase after demonetisation as per the government's own published data and the currency in circulation has actually seen a 22 per cent increase over pre-demonetisation level, she noted.
"The simple question being asked by every Indian is - What did the Demonetisation achieve? "What it did instead, was to wipe out over one crore jobs from the economy (and still counting), take the unemployment rate to a 45 year high, shaved two full percentage points off GDP growth and ensured that India's international rating moved from 'stable' to 'negative'. It is now widely acknowledged as a herculean blunder by independent economists and taught, across the world, as a cautionary tale of 'what governments should not do'," she said.