Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday slammed demonetisation as a "devil act" alleging the currency exercise was "only to convert black money into white for vested interests of the political party in power". Banerjee changed the display picture of her Twitter account to black on Monday in a staunch protest against demonetisation. The Trinamool Congress chief has instructed her party leaders to observe "Black Day" against demonetisation on Thursday to mark its first anniversary. "The ill-famed #Noteban November 8 is approaching. Demonetisation is a big scam. I repeat, demonetisation is a big scam. If thorough investigation is conducted, this will be proved," Banerjee posted on Facebook.

Attacking the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), she said: "Demonetisation was not to combat black money. It was only to convert black money into white money for vested interests of political party in power. Black money became 'white fund' for them and the country was plunged into darkness. No black money could yet be brought out from the foreign accounts. In all practical sense, it yielded big, big zero." In harsh criticism against the move, she branded it as a "devil act" and said the Indian economy has been "ruined".

According to Banerjee, the exercise was an impetuous decision and had compelled over 75,000 industrialists to leave India. "Neither demonetisation could combat terrorism, nor black money nor aid to development of the country. By the devil act of demonetisation, the country has already lost its GDP worth nearly Rs 3 lakh Crore. Crores of workers, particularly in the informal sector, lost their jobs. Farmers were left to starve. Over 100 people lost their lives. People had no access to their own money in banks, even in emergency.

"The memories of untold sufferings and pain thrust upon the common people still haunt our minds. "From Day 1, I had protested against this draconian decision of demonetisation by the central government and requested for its immediate withdrawal. The Indian economy has been ruined; so has plummeted the growth rate of the country. The GDP fell to 6.1 per cent growth in between January and March, 2017 compared to 9.1 per cent in the previous year. It further plummeted to 5.7 per cent between April and June, 2017, compared to 7.9 per cent in the previous year.

"More than 75,000 industrialists were compelled to leave India and settle abroad and become NRI because of harassment in the prevailing situation. Business potential worth lakhs and lakhs of crore in India was thus lost," she added. Banerjee condemned the decision, saying: "Demonetisation was a Black Decision worth every sort of condemnation. 8th November #Nov8BlackDay this year will be observed as 'Kaala Dibas' (Black Day) to protest against demonetisation and the unparalleled damage it caused to the country and its economy. We are for all the people who suffered and still continue to suffer. Their fight is our fight and we are committed to stand by them." (IANS)