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Voters will punish BJP for demonetisation, says UP CM Akhilesh Yadav

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said on Friday people in a democracy pay governments in the same coin if they hurt them, criticising the Narendra Modi-led government’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2016 19:16 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times
Akhilesh Yadav,HTLS,Samajwadi Party
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav at Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2016.

The government’s decision to junk 500-and 1,000-rupee notes has caused “huge suffering” to the common people who will vent their anger in the upcoming elections, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said on Friday.

Speaking on the first day of the 14th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Yadav said the surprise decision to recall high-value bills had bolstered the Samajwadi Party ahead of state polls early next year.

“When you make common people suffer, they will vent their anger… because of the currency shortage, leaders of all parties will have to resort to the bicycle (the SP’s election symbol),” Yadav said to applause and laughter from the audience.

“Governments should work for people’s welfare by encouraging spending. But the BJP government has caused such difficulties to the common man. People are breaking down their “Gullak” (piggy banks) to meet daily needs,” Yadav said.

What he said on demonetisation
  • Centre’s decision has caused “huge suffering” to the common people.
  • Farmers and small traders have been the hardest hit by govt’s move.
  • Demonetisation decision wouldn’t affect black money generation.

He rejected government claims that the currency switch will stamp out illegal cash, pointing to media reports about fake variants of even the new currency bills. “Fake debit and credit cards are also available in the market,” he added.

The 43-year-old leader said he had apprised the prime minister of the difficulties of ordinary people and that Narendra Modi had assured him that things will be brought under control.

“He told me that citizens should be encouraged to absorb technology,” Yadav said.

The UP chief minister has been one of the most vocal critics of the so-called demonetization three weeks ago. He has alleged that farmers, poor and small traders have been the hardest hit by what he said was an ill-planned rollout of the move.

Countering claims of BJP leaders that only the rich and corrupt were opposed to the demonetisation move, Yadav said he had not seen a single rich man standing in the queue outside banks or ATMs.

“It is common knowledge that bank officials visit homes of their valued customers to solve their issues”, he added.

Speaking about his initiatives to distribute laptops and smartphones, Akhilesh said his government had been the first to grasp the need to use IT tools.

In a veiled reference to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the chief Minister quipped, “Only some politicians have stood in the queue to draw money from the ATM”!

Watch | Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav in conversation with Barkha Dutt at HTLS 2016

In pics: Live sketches by New Yorker’s Liza Donnelly from HTLS 2016

Full coverage of HTLS 2016

First Published: Dec 02, 2016 14:31 IST