PATNA: After consistently praising the BJP-led Centre’s demonetisation move since it was announced on November 8, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar on Saturday officially came out in support of the exercise and decided to keep his party away from Opposition-called protest plans of November 28.
JD(U) also made it clear that it would support the Narendra Modi government if it follows up demonetisation with an attack on benami properties in the country. The decisions came in discussions Kumar held with his core team of senior party colleagues and advisors in Patna.
The two-hour-long meeting at the CM’s official residence 1, Anne Marg was attended by JD(U) state president Vashistha Narayan Singh and three Rajya Sabha members Pavan Kumar Varma, RCP Singh and Harivansh, among others, said sources.
“We have been supporting it (demonetisation) and we will keep supporting it. There will be no change in our stand on the issue,” said Vashistha Narayan Singh, announcing the party’s official stand after the meeting. “Nobody has asked us to join the proposed protests, nor do we have any plans to join any such protests against demonetisation,” he added.
As many as 13 Opposition parties are planning to stage nationwide protests against demonetisation on November 28. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to stage a demonstration in Patna on November 30.
Jan Adhikar Party chief and MP from Bihar’s Madhepura, Pappu Yadav, on Saturday said his party would join Banerjee’s protest.
The JD(U) state president said if the Centre begins a scrutiny of benami properties across the country, JD(U) would support the move. Earlier in the day, Nitish Kumar once again publicly praised demonetisation in his speech at a function to mark Bihar’s Prohibition Day. He also appealed to the Centre to begin “immediate countrywide raids” on benami properties.
While BJP appreciated JD(U)’s stand on demonetisation, Kumar’s ruling allies RJD and Congress were yet to react to JD(U)’s stand. “This is a welcome step. Other parties should also support demonetisation by rising above politics,” said senior BJP leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.