BJP ally Chandrababu Naidu criticises shortcomings in note ban

RSTV Bureau

Chandrababu Naidu

BJP ally and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has raised questions over the implementation of Centre’s note ban move. Naidu had very strongly supported the move to demonetise higher denomination Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, but on Tuesday he did a virtual volte face, saying the decision was not as per “our wish” and that a “lot of problems” still remain without any solution in sight.

While the Opposition has strongly attacked the government over the move, this is not the first time that a BJP ally has questioned it. Shiv Sena had slammed the move, even participating in Mamata Banerjee-led march to the Rashtrapati Bhawan at the start of the Winter session.

“Demonetisation was not our wish but it happened. More than 40 days after demonetisation, there are still a lot of problems but yet there appears to be no solution,” Andhra CM said addressing a workshop of his party MPs, MLCs, MLAs and other leaders at Vijaywada.

What is even more significant, Chandrababu Naidu heads a 13-member committee appointed by the Centre to look into demonetisation issues.

Warning that unless remedial measures are taken, people’s woes would continue in the long-term, he said, “I am spending two hours daily to ease the problems caused by demonetisation. I am breaking my head daily but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” the CM said.

Calling demonetisation a “sensitive” and “complicated problem”, he drew reference from PDP’s track record in resolving the inner-party crisis.

“We could resolve the ‘August crisis’ (an internal party coup dating back to 1984) in 30 days but this (demonetisation) still persists,” he said.

People stand in a long queue to withdraw money at an ATM in Allahabad  Photo-PTI

People stand in a long queue to withdraw money at an ATM in Allahabad

Raising further apprehensions, he said banks were “not prepared for a transition to digital economy. They are unable to even register banking correspondents,”

Chandrababu Naidu had initially been a strong proponent of ban on high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. In fact, he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 12 reiterating his demand.

On November 9, a day after the Prime Minister came out with the demonetisation announcement, the TDP had even claimed credit saying it was a “victory for Chandrababu” over his fight on corruption. “This is a moral victory for the TDP,” the party had said in posts on Facebook and Twitter.

“Prime Minister Modi may have taken the decision now but Chandrababu had these thoughts even when he was in the opposition (2004-14). He had been fighting for scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes since then,” the TDP said in a Facebook post.

However, with people across the country starting to face trouble in exchanging the scrapped notes as well as in withdrawing cash from their savings accounts, Naidu seemed to change his tone and his stated position on note ban move.

(With inputs from the PTI)