Tapping into the popular mood amid reports of public inconvenience following the Centre’s demonetisation move, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said it amounted to “torture” of people as he dared the Prime Minister to conduct “surgical strikes” on Swiss banks to bring back black money.
“People have put immense faith in you (PM). Do not betray their trust or you will see the impact of peoples’ surgical strike against you,” he told reporters in Mumbai. His comments came at a time when citizens are having a tough time to get cash from banks and ATMs after the government scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes, causing panic among people.
“If your move is against corruption, we are with you, but not at the cost of troubling the common man. Your (Modi) sudden decision at a time when new notes are not available adequately, is proving to be a torture for people,” Udhav said. Questioning the rationale behind the decision, the Sena chief said, “What purpose will it serve by harassing people and weeding out black money from the system (in such a manner)…If you have guts, conduct a surgical strike on Swiss banks where Indian money is stashed. Bring back this black money.”
Thackeray demanded that the Centre extend the period for which old notes were being accepted by various government agencies, and that collection of road tax be completely suspended until there was an adequate supply of new notes. The Centre on Thursday allowed Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes for payment of electricity bills, water bills, property tax or any kind of government dues in Maharashtra on request of the state government.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced on Wednesday that all state roads would be toll tax free till November 11 midnight. “Do you even understand what you are doing? The government should understand the plight of people and the consequences of their (people’s) anger. Make the process (of conversion of old notes) convenient for people,” he said.
As per the Centre’s order, banks started exchanging scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for lower denomination currencies since Thursday. Public can deposit any amount of the invalid currency in their bank accounts till December 30 and also exchange them for lower banknotes at special counters at banks and post offices till November 24, but with a limit of Rs 4,000 per day.
Though the ATMs reopened on Friday after being closed for 2-days, the cash-strapped people were further disappointed as most of these machines ran out of cash and in many areas they did not open at all.