This Article is From Nov 11, 2016

Amid Scramble For Cash, Rahul Gandhi Stands In Line, Smiles For Selfies

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited an ATM in Delhi amid chaos over Rs 500, 1000 notes ban.


  • Rahul Gandhi visits bank in central Delhi to exchange old notes
  • Says he wants to share people's pain, BJP criticises move
  • Old Rs 500, 1000 notes declared illegal in bid to curb untaxed wealth
New Delhi: At a bank in central Delhi, there was commotion when Rahul Gandhi arrived and joined the queue.

Millions across India spent long hours at banks and ATMs today trying to withdraw cash after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly declared Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes "worthless pieces of paper" on Tuesday.

Mr Gandhi, one of the most protected politicians in India, plunged right into the scrum of people at a State Bank of India branch on Parliament Street.

"I have come to exchange Rs 4,000. My people are in pain and are suffering, I have come to stand with them," the Congress Vice President told reporters.

Surrounded by personnel of the Special Protection Group, the 45-year-old offered to stand in the queue but was whisked away. "I want to stand in the line, with my people who are suffering. But as soon as I came, they moved the people inside...," he complained.

Taking a swipe at PM Modi and the government, he said, "There are no crorepatis in this queue. The government should be for these people, not a select 10 or 15 people who are not here."

Mr Gandhi, in a white shirt and jeans, gamely posed for selfies with customers who were stunned to find a VIP in their midst.

Asked repeatedly what he was doing there, Mr Gandhi replied: "You will not understand that. You or your millionaire bosses or the media or the government will never understand what these people are suffering."

The BJP accused the Congress leader of playing to the gallery at a huge inconvenience to people.

"Rahul Gandhi is adding to the chaos. The people do not buy this, they are not interested in theatrics," said BJP spokesperson Shaina NC.

PM Modi's decision to take the two highest currency notes out of circulation has been applauded by many as a strong step against black or untaxed money but many opposition politicians have criticized the government, alleging hardship to the poor.

Yesterday, there were long queues as people hurried to exchange their old notes and withdraw new ones at banks. Today, there was a similar sight at ATMs, which reopened after three days of preparing for the turnaround.