New Delhi/Kolkata, Nov 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement about demonetising Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes was on Tuesday hailed as a "bold step" by President Pranab Mukherjee and BJP, which called it a "surgical strike" on black money, but his rivals denounced it as a "heartless and ill-conceived" decision that would inconvenience people.
Mukherjee, who was briefed by the Prime Minister about the impending announcement, described the decision as a measure that will help unearth unaccounted money as well as counterfeit currency, a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.
Mukherjee called upon people not to panic and to follow the government's guidelines for exchanging currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 denomination available with them.
Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "surgical strike" against black money and corruption, BJP chief Amit Shah termed the step as "tough but timely and path-breaking".
He asserted that Modi had again demonstrated his unwavering commitment to fulfilling the promises he made to people.
"We feel proud of PM Narendra Modi ji's surgical strike against black money and corruption. His decision to discontinue Rs 500 and Rs 1000 rupee note will immensely help in eliminating corruption. On behalf of all BJP karyakartas, I compliment the Central government and the PM for taking tough but timely and path-breaking measures.
"We can no longer let corruption and black money slow down our development journey. We must create a prosperous India for future generations. The elimination of black money will help boost development with justice," Shah said in a statement as well as a series of tweets.
He recalled how Modi had set up an SIT to look into black money at his first Cabinet meeting after taking over as the Prime Minister in May 2014. However, Congress termed it as a move that would put farmers, small businessmen and common people to inconvenience.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wondered if the banking system in the country was ready to tackle such a situation and said government has to answer many questions.
He termed the decision as only "a ploy to cover the failure of his promise" to get back black money stashed abroad and deposit 15 lakh into every account of common people of India.
Another Congress spokesman Manish Tewari went a step ahead, terming the decision as "insane" and taken by "modern day Tughlak". West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called it "heartless and ill conceived" decision which will lead to financial chaos and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
"Withdraw this draconian decision. While I'm strongly against black money, corruption, deeply concerned about common people, small traders. How they will buy essentials tomorrow? This is a financial chaos and disaster let loose on the common people of India.
The PM could not get back the promised black money from abroad from the rich so a drama to divert (attention from) his failure," Banerjee said in a series of tweets.
Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, said she wants to know from the PM how the poor Indian, who had got a Rs 500 note as a remuneration for his week-long hard work will buy essentials tomorrow.
"Heartless and ill-conceived blow on the common people and the middle class in the fake name of anti-corruption (drive)," she said.