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RBI guv resignation: Oppn accuses govt of 'assault' on institutions; PM lauds Patel's contribution

twitter-logoPTI | December 10, 2018 | Updated 21:53 IST

(Eds: Incorporating political reactions) New Delhi, Dec 10 (PTI) Opposition parties on Monday attacked the government over RBI Governor Urjit Patel's resignation, alleging that institutions like the central bank were under "assault" and there was a "financial emergency" in the country. After Patel announced he was stepping down due to personal reasons, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded his contribution and legacy, saying he steered the banking system "from chaos to order" and ensured discipline. Patel was hand-picked by the BJP-led government after his predecessor Raghuram Rajan was denied a second-term. His resignation came amid widening rift between the government and the RBI on several key issues including the central bank's autonomy. Patel had more than eight months left in his three-year tenure. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, addressing the media after a meeting of top leaders from over a dozen opposition parties, said that in the middle of the meet "we were told that RSS-BJP agenda is progressing further". The RBI chief has resigned because he can no longer work in this government, Gandhi alleged. "There was consensus that we have to stop the BJP's assault on Constitution, assault on the institutions like CBI, RBI and Election Commission. We are going to fight it out," he said. While Modi said Patel leaves behind a great legacy and will be missed immensely, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley appreciated the service rendered by Patel saying it was a pleasure to deal with him and he has benefitted from the economist's scholarship. The opposition, however, was unsparing in its criticism of the government over the development and alleged interference in the working of all institutions. Former finance minister P Chidambaram said he was saddened but not surprised by Patel's resignation and claimed no self respecting scholar or academic can work in the NDA government. In a series of tweets, the senior Congress leader said the last meeting of the Reserve Bank of India Board held on November 19 was the "day of reckoning" and Patel should have resigned on that day. "Government's immediate agenda is to grab the reserves of the RBI to meet its fiscal deficit target and to get funds for spending in an election year," he alleged. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who attended the opposition meeting, hit out at the Modi government over Patel's resignation, saying it was a matter of "great shock". "Institutions, from the CBI to the RBI, have become total disasters. This has never happened before. It is a matter of great shock. We must protest," Banerjee said. The Trinamool Congress chief proposed that the meeting should continue on Tuesday and leaders of opposition parties should also meet President Ram Nath Kovind over Patel's resignation. Later, in a tweet, Banerjee said: "The RBI is the custodian of public money. The credibility of all institutions is being destroyed. This is a financial and economic emergency". Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, who coordinated the opposition meeting that was held to discuss forging of an anti-BJP front for 2019 polls, alleged that there was "pressure" from the government on RBI to give its surplus. "He (Patel) tried his best to protect the economy and the nation in the interest of the public. Finally he was unable to bear the pressure and resigned," he said. Gandhi, in his remarks, alleged that the government was getting "more and more" desperate. Government is taking measures which are "dangerous for the country", he said. The RBI governor has resigned because he was protecting the institution of RBI and he was not able to function, Gandhi claimed. The government is trying to take away the reserves from the RBI to save its skin and fix the "mismanagement" it has done, he alleged. "It is an act that is against the nation. I am very proud that people from all walks of life and institutions are standing up and saying we will not tolerate all this," the Congress president said. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that RBI governor Patel was eased out by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to bring in a "more pliable" person to fill the post. Earlier, reacting to Patel's resignation, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the NDA government had "denigrated" another institution and that his exit was the result of attempts to stifle the independence of the Reserve Bank of India. "The manner in which the RBI governor has been forced to quit is a blot on India's monetary and banking system. The BJP government has unleashed a defacto financial emergency. The country's reputation and credibility are now at stake," senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said. PTI TEAM ASK MPB RT

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