Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to attend a rally organised by Aam Aadmi Party at Azadpur Mandi - the biggest vegetable and fruits wholesale hub in the city - on Thursday in an attempt to woo the trading community agitated over Centre’s ban on currency notes.
Considered traditional supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party ruling at the Centre, their business has been hit by demonetisation announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 to weed out black money and unaccounted cash.
Kejriwal had earlier argued that the scheme is only causing hardship to the poor and has hit farmers and traders, who are forced to deal in cash due to the nature of the market and the economy involved.
Sources said Delhi development minister Gopal Rai - whose department supervises all wholesale markets - held a meeting at his residence on Tuesday to prepare for the rally.
“Traders have been feeling the pinch of the scheme. Several trade and market associations have approached the AAP seeking intervention. A rally will be the first step in taking the fight for their cause to the street. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia besides Gopal Rai will attend the event. Request has also been made to the chief minister and he is likely to attend,” said a source.
Kejriwal has come out as one of the most vocal opponents of the demonetisation scheme of the Modi government, demanding its immediate rollback. On Tuesday, Kejriwal also sought intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee urging him to institute a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the allegations that the scheme was a ‘fraud on the nation’.
Kejriwal on Wednesday tweeted calling all city residents, who have been affected by scrapping of notes, to attend the event.
“Over a dozen representatives of trade, industry and market associations met the chief minister at his residence on Sunday and urged him to intervene on the issue,” an AAP source said.
On Saturday, Kejriwal went on a ‘padyatra’ a tour of few markets and trade hubs in the city including the Azadpur Mandi. However, he also faced some protest at Laxmi Nagar and Gandhi Nagar markets from a section of locals as tempers ran high over paucity of cash in banks and ATMs.