HAVING KEPT a soft stand on demonetisation for long, apparently due to alliance partner JD(U)’s support for the move, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Saturday announced the launch of a campaign at the village level to tell people about the “ill-effects” of the Narendra Modi government’s move to withdraw high-denomination currencies from circulation.
JD(U) state president Bashistha Narayan Singh had last week said that the party would decide whether to revisit its stand on demonetisation in January.
In a meeting with party functionaries on Saturday, Lalu said RJD workers will create awareness among villagers between December 20 and 26. “After a dharna at all district headquarters on December 28, we will sit together with like-minded parties to decide on the course of the movement against demonetisation,” he said, without mentioning any particular party.
The RJD, he said, would also hold a big rally in Patna.
“Ye baat-badlu PM hain…hum log chup baithne wale nahi nahi hai (This is a PM who keeps changing his words/stand; we will not keep quiet),” the RJD chief said. “Long queues at banks and ATMs will continue for a while. The Central government has failed to address public grievances.”
In an indirect dig at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy CM and Lalu’s son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said, “Those who are not with us on demonetisation will support us sooner than later.”
Drawing a parallel between what he called a forced demonetisation and the forced sterilisation drive by the Congress party during the Emergency, Lalu said, “The Centre will not be able to snuff out black money with demonetisation, and it will do to the BJP what nasbandi (sterilisation) had done to the Congress”.
Reminding the Prime Minister that he had taken responsibility for the demonetisation decision’s success, Lalu had earlier asked whether he would resign if the public grievances are not addressed by December 30.
The JD(U), meanwhile, stuck to its stand on demonetisation, with Nitish Kumar praising the decision as a “good move” during a rally in Saharsa. Nitish added that the Prime Minister must start a crackdown on benami property.