After breaking ranks with the Opposition to support the government on demonetisation, the Janata Dal (U) is set to review its stand in the light of the massive inconvenience caused to the public.
The party is still willing to extend a 50-day leeway for softening of the post note ban cash crunch, as desired by the Prime Minister, with a ‘no dharna, no agitation’ stand till December 30, but it is slowly moving towards a review of its official position.
The definitive sign of a change was evident on Sunday in the ‘aggression’ with which JD (U) spokesperson Rajeev Ranjan Prasad described the chaos caused by the note ban as “sinister plot”, rather than “teething troubles” that was designed to benefit “corporate friends” of the BJP.
“The term surgical strike on black money has been used as a ‘jumla’ (idiom). The BJP has used the move to convert large amounts of black money into white by purchasing land, help corporate friends and promote China-funded PayTM,” he said.
The doors were thrown open for review of the party’s stand on demonetisation (despite JD (U) distancing itself from November 28 Akrosh Diwas and, now, RJD’s dharna on December 28), when chief minister Nitish Kumar took a divergent view on PM’s push for cashless society to strike against corruption, on December 5, saying “complete transformation was not possible”.
He has consistently maintained that currency is small portion of black money and has called for attack all forms of benami holdings and smash liquor trade (implement countrywide prohibition) to weed out corruption.
By raising the bar for an all out war on black money, Kumar not only sought to boost his ‘Mr Clean’ image but also virtually challenged the PM to come clean on his intentions.
While Kumar’s open support to demonetisation had riled leaders like TMC chief Mamata Bannerjee and those in the RJD, he continued to raise the issue of public inconvenience in wake of the implementation of the half-baked measures, contrasting it with the micro-level planning that went into execution of all state schemes, at his public meetings.
Former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, too, adopted a different stand on demonetisation in Rajya Sabha and even joined the Opposition delegation to the President, indicating that something deeper was cooking and the party was testing waters.
Now, the JD (U) spokesperson has alleged that PayTM had a whiff of the highly secret demonetisation move and had opened huge number of new accounts ahead of the announcement, while the entire nation was asked to boycott Chinese goods this Diwali.
“People have lost faith in the BJP-led union government,” he said.
The JD (U)’s assertion that the Centre’s insistence on demonetisation and cashless transaction has heaped untold miseries on citizens and triggered economic slowdown and joblessness seems to indicate that a review of its stand is imminent.