ANDHRA PRADESH Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who was among the first to welcome the Centre’s demonetisation decision, did a turnaround on Tuesday, saying it was “not what we wished for” and pointed out that there was no solution in sight even after “more than 40 days”.
Naidu heads the 13-member central committee set up to look into the demonetisation issue, and his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is an ally of the NDA.
“Demonetisation was not what we wished for. It was not our wish but it happened. More than 40 days after demonetisation, there are still a lot of problems, but there appears to be no solution,” said Naidu, speaking at a workshop for party MPs, MLAs and MLCs at Vijayawada.
WATCH | Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu’s Does A U-Turn Over Demonetisation
“The people who are supposed to manage the crisis are incapable of doing anything. The RBI has not been able to do anything about it. It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem,’’ he said.
Naidu said he was “breaking his head” over the crisis. “The currency crisis still remains a sensitive and complicated problem… I am spending two hours daily to review the situation and ease the problems caused by demonetisation. I am breaking my head daily, but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” he said.
Earlier in the morning, party MPs and MLAs briefed Naidu on how people were getting frustrated over the currency shortage, and how farmers and small businesses had been hit.
Naidu had earlier praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, even taking credit for the decision. A day after Modi made the announcement on November 8, the TDP was quick to claim that it was a “victory” for Naidu.
“This is a moral victory for the TDP,” claimed the party on Facebook and Twitter. Naidu had earlier sought a ban on high-denomination notes, and even written to Modi on October 12 on the issue.
“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 1,000 notes since then,” posted the TDP on Facebook. The party’s media cell posted newspaper clippings dated June 2013, when Naidu had raised the demand for the first time.
But as the cash crunch continued and people started to express their anger, Naidu began to criticise the move. He expressed displeasure over introduction of Rs 2,000 notes. On November 21, he remarked that he had never seen this kind of crisis, where an issue could not be resolved even after 12 days. He said his government restored normalcy within eight days after Cyclone Hudhud devastated the north coastal districts.
Today, he also referred to political problems being resolved within a few days. “We could resolve the ‘August crisis’ (an internal party coup dating back to 1984) in 30 days, but this (demonetisation) still persists,” he said.
He said banks were “not prepared” for a transition to digital economy. “They are unable to even register banking correspondents,” he said.
However, on Monday, Naidu had expressed confidence that the cash shortage would be resolved soon as he expected the state to receive Rs 1,600 crore on Wednesday.