The ruling BJP was on the back-foot over the cash-crunch on Tuesday with the Opposition describing the situation as a continuation of the “demonetisation disaster” and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee enquiring whether there was “financial emergency” in the country.

The only official comment on the prevailing situation came from the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while the BJP, in its formal briefing by party spokespersons Sambit Patra and GVL Narasimha Rao, focused on issues ranging from Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s views on saffron terror, Kathua rape case and the Congress’ links with absconding industrialist Mehul Choksi.

Images of queues outside ATM counters and empty cash machines provided a perfect backdrop for the Opposition to dwell on what was described by the CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury as “Modi’s Jumlanomics meeting crony capitalism”. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to re-tweeting Yechury’s analysis where he provided statistics of bad loans written off by PSBs and the recovery rate and underlined that the “BJP Government under Modi writes off 2.7 lakh crore of bank loans for crony corporates. Recovery only 10.77 per cent. Recovery was above 40 per cent before 2014. This says it all.”

“This Government, which has still not been able to count the demonetised currency is asking us to trust its Jumla that there is no cash crunch… Demonetisation did not kill terrorism. It did not kill corruption or fake currency either. But it has certainly killed the Indian economy. The cash crisis tells us how Modi’s demonetisation is still wreaking havoc,” Yechury said.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi recalled the difficult months after demonetisation and underlined that the BJP and the likes of Nirav Modi “are the only ones who have become richer since 2014”. An analysis by the legislative research body Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) last week found that the BJP’s income increased by more than 80 per cent in 2016-17 as opposed to the Congress which saw a drop in its earnings by 14 per cent in the same period.

The Congress President was on the offensive on his twitter account and statements to TV channels. “We should now understand the scam that was demonetisation. Your money was saved in the pocket of Nirav Modi. Modiji has money and Mallya (Vijay Mallya) has money and the country is once again struck by demonetisation terror. The ATMs are running dry and the banking system has collapsed,” Gandhi said on twitter.

Mamata Banerjee wanted to know if there was a “financial emergency” in the country. “Seeing reports of ATMs running out of cash in several States. Big notes are missing. (This is a) reminder of demonetisation days. Is there a financial emergency in the country,” the West Bengal Chief Minister tweeted.

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