PATNA: With demonetisation having completed 60 days on Sunday, JD(U) reiterated its support for the controversial financial exercise, thus causing fresh strains with its allies in the Bihar government, RJD and Congress.
Even though JD(U) is yet to carry out a formal review of demonetisation and its impact, as was announced by the party’s national president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his close aide and state JD(U) chief Vashistha Narayan Singh said that hardships due to demonetisation have started easing.
The statement took both RJD and Congress by surprise amid renewed speculation that Kumar might continue with his support for demonetisation despite continuing protests by non-NDA parties and that the “growing proximity” between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi could lead to a political realignment in Bihar.
“We would review the situation around the time of (former Bihar CM and socialist icon) Karpoori Thakur’s birth anniversary on January 24. Problems faced by the common people due to demonetisation have started easing now,” said Singh in Patna.
Leaders of RJD, which organized demonstrations across Bihar against demonetisation on December 28 and now plans a big rally of like-minded parties in Patna, were shocked by Singh’s statement. Congress, which organized a demonstration in Patna on Saturday, asked BJP leaders to visit rural areas and homes of the poor for a realistic assessment of the situation.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, decidedly perplexed by JD(U)’s stand, declined to comment on Singh’s statement and instead targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Sixty days have passed. Why doesn’t Modi now say how much black money came back? Why is he silent? He had been speaking so much on ending corruption, but the country’s GDP is coming down and industrial activities have stalled,” he said.
“He (PM) is now talking of cashless transactions, but it will take years before cashless facilities start being used extensively in the country,” added Yadav. Bihar Congress president and education minister Ashok Chaudhary said: “BJP’s claims about demonetisation having been welcomed by the poor are baseless. The parties should visit rural areas and homes of the poor to know”.
JD(U) state spokesperson Sanjay Singh rubbished speculation about a growing Nitish-Modi friendship, saying: “JD(U) has been supporting demonetisation since the beginning, though our party’s formal stand is yet to be announced”. BJP wholeheartedly welcomed JD(U)’s renewed support for demonetisation.
“Nitish Kumar is no less than an economist and knows the realities of the nation. JD(U) had been in NDA for 17 years,” said senior BJP leader Vinod Narayan Jha.