Snubbed by media reports that the Shiv Sena had mellowed its stand on demonetisation after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, the party has again upped its ante over the issue. Issuing yet another warning indicating that it will not think twice before pulling the plug on the alliance, Uddhav Thackeray has asked PM Modi to heed the advice of former PM and economist Manmohan Singh. Earlier, the party leadership had rued about media reports on Sena MPs’ meeting with Modi in Delhi.
“We had gone to the PM to tell him about the woes faced by the commoners, the farmers, small traders, vegetable vendors. We told the PM how his decision had led to anarchy. We pleaded to him that the district co-operative banks should be made a part of the banking network and that they should be allowed to get the old notes exchanged. The PM assured us that he would talk to the RBI about our request. When we told him that putting forth this demand did not mean that we were in an alliance with Mamata Banerjee, he got emotional and said to us, ‘How can we leave you? I don’t know what will you tell Balasaheb (Thackeray) after you die, but what will I say to him when I go up?’” Anandrao Adsul, senior Shiv Sena leader, said.
Adsul said that the party was unhappy that the media had twisted the truth while reporting about the meeting. “We told the press what transpired in the meeting. We said that we told the PM that we feared an increase in the number of farmer suicides. Even when the Sena had participated in the march held under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, we had submitted a separate memorandum to the President. When we were asked by the media if we would participate in the Opposition’s rally against demonetisation anymore, we indicated in the negative then. That was because the PM had taken note of our memorandum. He had assured us that the woes would ease in 50 days and that the government would talk to the RBI about inclusion of district co-operative banks,” Adsul said further.
The party claimed that the Central government’s decision to grant Rs 21,000 crore to district co-operative banks for their smooth functioning, was only due to the follow-up by Sena.
A day later, Uddhav Thackeray again turned aggressive against the government. “I will not hesitate to take the critical step (ending the alliance?),” he said in Mumbai. He accused the government of treating 125 crore people of the country as thieves and of bringing them on streets.
“The 125-crore people standing in queues at the banks are patriots. But it is confounding to see that the patriots are yet to receive adequate Rs 2,000 notes, but the terrorists have already got them,” Uddhav Thackeray said.
Bringing up the issue of surgical strikes again, he launched an attack on the government. “If this government is keen to take credit for the surgical strikes, it should also be answerable for the mutilation of the bodies of three of our soldiers,” he said.
Talking about the app which the PM used to test public opinion on demonetisation of high value currency notes, he said the exercise was meaningless. “Are you going to demit the office like the example set during Brexit?” he asked. He said the government was responsible for bringing tears in the eyes of people who had voted them to power with many hopes and aspirations.
Thackeray also questioned the PM’s intention behind reining in black money. Advising the PM to heed the words of former PM Manmohan Singh, he questioned why banks that bailed out Vijay Mallya were allowed to distribute money. “Manmohan Singh is a renowned economist. The government should listen to him,” he said.