Taking a dig at Arun Jaitley, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday expressed doubts whether the Union Finance Minister has any “role” in determining key economic policies, like demonetisation, of the BJP-led NDA government. Recalling his meeting with Jaitley to discuss the crisis in the Kerala’s cooperative banking sector in the wake of demonetisation drive, Vijayan said during the conversation the finance minister could generate a feeling that the issue would be resolved very soon.
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“When we met him we had a feeling that the issue would be resolved very soon. Such was his response to our grievances on the state’s cooperative sector. But when we came out of the meeting, it was realised that the cooperative sector was again thrown into deep troubles,” Vijayan said, addressing a convention on Cooperative Banks in Kochi attended by leaders from CPI(M)-led LDF and Congress-led UDF.
Describing Jaitley as a “gentleman” who never talks unwanted things, Vijayan said during the meeting, the finance minister said everything will be solved but just opposite to his assurance had happened. The Chief Minister recalled his meeting with Jaitley at his office in New Delhi seeking bank status for Kerala’s 3,000 primary cooperatives to accept old Rs 500 and 1000 currencies towards exchange or deposit.
“But when we came out of the meeting what we heard was that the Reserve Bank of India issued a new direction banning even District Central Cooperative Banks from carrying out such operations,” he said. Vijayan said Kerala had to face some unpleasant experiences from the finance minister which no other state would have experienced. “Many people who had met the finance minister on behalf of the Kerala state had such experiences from him,” he said.
“It is being said that three people are taking major economic policy decisions (like demonetisation). But more clarity is required to ascertain whether he (Jaitley) has any role in taking such decisions,” Vijayan said, taking a dig at the senior BJP leader holding the key portfolio in the Narendra Modi government.
Vijayan described as “wrong” the BJP-led government’s decision to demonetise high value Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. “Some centres in the government took a decision (to demonetise the high valued currencies). Now it is being imposed on us,” the Chief Minister said. He said the attempt to destroy Kerala’s cooperative sector would be defeated at any cost.