The JD(U) said on Saturday that it will not take part in the November 28 all-India protest called by opposition parties against the government’s demonetisation exercise. The party also made it clear that it would stay away from the dharna called by the TMC in Patna on November 30.
The JD(U) had joined opposition parties in their protest against Parliament on Thursday on the note ban. However, senior party leader Nitish Kumar has said he doesn’t oppose the demonetisation move, but wants the government to check the inconvenience caused to public.
JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi told The Sunday Express, “Several parties taking part in the (November 28) protest include those which are demanding a rollback of the note ban. We have maintained that we support the note ban as a strong measure to stem black money. There is no question of supporting parties which are against the note ban.”
In Kolkata, sources said TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, who has taken the lead in the opposition to the demonetisation exercise, has reached out to JD(U) ally Lalu Prasad. Unlike Nitish, the RJD chief has been critical of the demonetisation and has repeatedly struck out at Modi on social media.
Mamata shares cordial relations with Lalu, a senior TMC leader pointed out. “When Mamata Banerjee was in Patna during Nitish Kumar’s oath-taking ceremony, she walked from Nitish’s house to Lalu’s. There she interacted not just with the former CM but also his entire family,” he said.
Apart from Lalu, Mamata is banking on the Congress, the JD(U)’s other Bihar ally, to also back it during the party’s Patna November 30 dharna. The TMC chief had earlier taken a swipe at Nitish’s stand, suggesting that he could be “toeing the BJP line” due to “some pressure”.
The Bihar Chief Minister stuck to his guns on Saturday, saying he fully backed the demonetisation and urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to next launch a crackdown on benami property holders, and those owning unaccounted assets.
Hitting out at his detractors, Nitish said he couldn’t help it if they didn’t like his stand. “Hamari sarkar ne bharshtachar ke aaropi adhikariyon ki sampatti jabt kar school khole aur haal me ek balgrih khola hai (My government has seized the property of officials accused of corruption and opened schools from it. We recently opened a children’s home in one such seized property),” Nitish said, underlining that he couldn’t go against any anti-corruption move.
Nitish also lambasted rumours of a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah, saying those with “perverted mindset” were spreading such “canards”.
Unlike Nitish, senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav has remained critical of demonetisation, and has been part of the opposition protests in Delhi on the issue.