Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday that demonetisation was “not a good” initiative and if he were the prime minister he would have thrown the proposal in the “dustbin”.
Gandhi is on a five-day trip to the Southeast Asian countries. He began the Malaysia leg of his visit on Saturday and interacted with an “enthusiastic gathering” of the Indian diaspora in Kuala Lumpur.
Asked how he would have rolled out demonetisation differently, Gandhi said, “If I was the prime minister and somebody would have given me a file with demonetisation written on it, I would thrown it in the dustbin, out of the door and into the junkyard.”
“That is how I would have rolled it out, because that is what I think should have been done with the demonetisation which was not good at all,” he said in a video shared by the Congress party on its Twitter handle.
The demonetisation initiative was rolled out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, announcing the invalidation of high-value currency notes currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
The Congress strongly criticised demonetisation, saying the move has led to economic slowdown.
Earlier at the University of California, Berkeley Gandhi had said that Modi had caused “tremendous damage” to India’s economy with his “reckless and dangerous” decisions like demonetisation and “hastily-applied” GST.
Responding to a question on women empowerment, Gandhi also said equality was not “good enough” for women empowerment and asserted that women have to be given more support than men to end the bias against them.
“I don’t treat women equal to men, but better than men. I think there is a bias in all societies, including in western society and that bias needs to be corrected. And to correct that bias, equality is not good enough, you have to be partial to women and give them more support than you give men,” he said.
Gandhi also addressed a gathering of young professionals at IYCON in Kuala Lumpur.
“Met Mr Subramaniam Sathasivam, President of the Malaysian Indian Congress in Kuala Lumpur. Originally a part of the AICC until 1946, the MIC has played a major role in the Malaysian Independence Movement,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Gandhi’s trip is part of the Congress party’s efforts to connect with the diaspora.
He called on Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday and discussed a wide range of topics related to India-Singapore ties.
The trip is being organised by the AICC Overseas cell headed by technocrat Sam Pitroda, who helped former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi lead the IT revolution in India.
Pitroda had earlier successfully organised Rahul Gandhi’s visits to the US and West Asia.
Later in the year, the Congress president is also expected to travel to Dubai and Canada.
Photograph: Thomas White/Reuters