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Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday spoke to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and is believed to have conveyed BJP’s unhappiness over NDA ally participating in a march against demonestisation even as the Sena stuck to its criticism, saying it could have been implemented in a better way. The Shiv Sena, the oldest ally of BJP and part of the governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra, had yesterday joined a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan led by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and participated by AAP and National Conference.
While the other parties which took part in the march sought immediate withdrawal of demonetisation exercise, the Sena had differed on the issue and insisted that the government extend the deadline of accepting the old currency notes.
Earlier on Thursday, Singh spoke to Thackeray on phone for about 10 minutes and is understood to have told him that Shiv Sena joining hands with the opposition, despite being part of the Modi government, was sending a confusing signal and such an action was avoidable.
Thackeray, talking on the development, said his party is with the government in the fight against black money, but the public has been inconvenienced by its implementation. “We are with the government in their fight against black money. But common man has been immensely troubled by the way the decision was implemented. This should stop,” he told reporters in Mumbai.
“The common man is not a thief. I have conveyed to Rajnath Singh that though their intentions were right, the decision could have been implemented in a much better way,” the Sena chief said. Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “kadak chai” remark, Thackeray said that while strong tea is sold everywhere, it is the Shiv Sainiks who have been distributing tea to people standing in queues (at banks and ATMs).
“It was the government’s responsibility to do this,” he further said. During the BJP’s recent Parivartan Yatra rally in UP’s Ghazipur district, Modi had said, “My decision is a little harsh. When I was young, poor people used to ask for ‘kadak’ (strong) tea but it spoils the mood of rich.” Thackeray said that barring the district central cooperative banks from exchanging and accepting deposits of demonetised currency notes of their customers was an unthought of decision that should be revoked immediately.
The Sena, in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, has repeatedly targeted the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. In an editorial in its mouthpiece, the Sena described the demonetisation move as “demonic and unsystematic” and said it has led to “financial anarchy” in the country. It also said instead of striking Pakistan, Modi has wounded Indian citizens who do not have any black money.