PATNA: Determined to “expose” the Centre on demonetisation, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is going to chalk out his party’s protest plans against the demonetisation exercise in a meeting of all RJD leaders – MLAs, MLCs, MPs, ministers, district unit chiefs – he would chair on December 17.
Yadav has been opposing the demonetisation exercise and the stress on cashless transactions, but he had put RJD’s protest plans on hold due to differences on the issue with his ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who came out in open support of demonetisation. Now, with the 50 days sought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the chaotic situation caused by demonetisation to be over coming to end shortly, Yadav is getting ready to launch a massive agitation against the move, said RJD sources.
Positioning himself as the messiah of the country’s rural, underprivileged masses, the RJD chief, who was formerly Bihar chief minister and Union railway minister, told journalists that the crises caused by demonetisation remains the same for farmers and people without bank accounts. Yadav believes that the idea of cashless transactions is being implemented in the country far ahead of its time and without enough preparations.
“Only about 20 per cent people in the country have the capability to perform cashless transactions at this moment. The rest 80 per cent people living in rural areas are not familiar with cashless transactions,” said Yadav to journalists at his residence. “The current drive for cashless transactions is just another jumla (political gimmick) unveiled by Modi to divert the people’s attention from the failure of notebandi (demonetisation),” he added.
RJD’s Bihar state president Ramchandra Purvey described the December 17 meeting as a “crucial party event” and said Yadav has directed the party’s state and national executive members, all elected people’s representatives and district-level office-bearers to assemble at the residence of MLC and former chief minister Rabri Devi to discuss the
impact of demonetisation. A plan of action for the party’s upcoming agitation, Purve hinted, could be decided at this meeting.
Sources in RJD said Yadav has been “very displeased” with Nitish Kumar for his open support for demonetisation “against the major view in the grand alliance”. Therefore, the December 17 meeting appears to be a significant event in Bihar politics as Yadav would seek the view of the party’s MLAs on the issue and take a decision.
In Bihar’s three-party grand alliance government led by JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar, RJD has the highest number of MLAs, followed by JD(U) and Congress. RJD leaders have recently said that it is their party that has kept the Nitish Kumar government alive and afloat.