Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday continued his attack on the government’s demonetisation decision by taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying it was not enough to be sensitive and shed tears on the issue when nothing was being done to stop the tears of common man.
He also took potshots at the survey being undertaken on the issue through an app by Prime Minister. He said while a survey was being carried out like the referendum in UK over Brexit, their Prime Minister stepped down following the outcome of the survey. “Will the same happen here? It’s ok to be sentimental once in a while, but what is the point when there are tears in the eyes of common people? These people voted for you with great hope and dreams and you have brought tears to their eyes,” said the Sena chief.
In a move that is likely to heckle the BJP, Thackeray also backed former PM Manmohan Singh’s speech in the Rajya Sabha and questioned the intent behind Modi’s decision. “Former PM Manmohan Singh is a well-known economist and his views should be taken seriously. There seems to be a doubt about PM’s alleged intention of recovering black money through this decision,” said Thackeray.
Thackeray, spoke to the media in Mumbai, after three corporators from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena joined his party, ahead of the Mumbai civic polls in February 2017. The barbs from the Sena come soon after PM met a delegation of Sena MPs this week to shore up their support on the decision in Parliament. However, it is clear the Sena is unlikely to back down from its position of critiquing the note ban as anti-people, in a bid to leverage people’s anger against the move.
Thackeray, once again indicated this, saying he would not hesitate to take an extreme position on the note ban issue, hinting a break up with the ally. Sena’s stance has irked the BJP with the parties now expected to face each other in the upcoming polls as rivals instead of allies. However, a complete break up in the saffron alliance looks difficult given that both parties need each other to keep the government in Maharashtra afloat.
The Sena chief also questioned why the Union government was publicising farm credit offered through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) annually when it had no connection with the note ban decision and would offer no relief in the situation.
He also raised the issue of district central co-operative banks, the mainstay of rural banking not being given powers to exchange old high value notes. “Did Vijay Mallya take a loan from a district co-operative bank? The bank he took loan from and never repaid is being allowed to exchange old notes.”
The BJP reacted with city unit chief Ashish Shelar saying the Sena needs to take a firm position instead of an extreme position by playing on words in Marathi, “tokedar” (pointed) vis-a-vis “tokachi” (extreme). Shelar pointed to Sena’s vacillating position on the issue of demonetisation saying the party should either take a stand against black money hoarders or stand with them and if it was latter the public would teach them a lesson.