Anti-National To Back This Form Of Cash Clean Up Arvind Kejriwal, among the most voluble critics of the ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, has said “it is anti-national to support demonetisation in (its) current form.”
Mr Kejriwal, who is the Chief Minister of Delhi, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to combat black money is designed to fail. Those who are honest and poor are waiting in lines at banks, while “those with black money are getting the new notes home-delivered to them.”
Last week, PM Modi in a surprise televised address said that just hours later, high-denomination notes would be illegal for transactions. The sudden announcement has been followed by winding queues at banks and ATMs as people scramble to access the new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes.
“This Rs. 2,000 note…you tell me. How will it change black money?” Mr Kejriwal asked. “The man who packed his briefcase with 1,000-rupee notes at will now stocks half the notes (but adding up to the same amount) as he heads to pay a bribe,” he alleged. “Aren’t we seeing how bribes are already being found in the new (2000-rupee) bills?”
Together with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Delhi politician has demanded the rollback of the notes ban, which the government has flatly ruled out.
Objecting to criticism that his stand on the currency reboot is forged in a habitual hostility towards the PM, Mr Kejriwal said, “When he has done good things, we have backed him. We swept the streets with him for his Clean India mission, brought our mats to do yoga with him to mark and popularize International Yoga Day. When he conducted surgical strikes against Pakistan, I saluted him.
“Of course, black money must be fought and removed. We will back any robust move for this,” he said, “but how will this be effective?”
Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party grew out of a vast anti-corruption campaign led by activist Anna Hazare in 2012. “Nobody has fought corruption on behalf of this country like us,” said the Chief Minister.
“It would be anti-national” to back the reform as is, he said, using a phrase that critics of the BJP say it levels indiscriminately and too frequently against those who question its policies.
The BJP has dismissed Mr Kejriwal’s comments. “Kejriwal’s nationalism and patriotism is the kind that is revered in Pakistan…he discounts the bravery of our soldiers posted at the border, makes dangerous claims…We don’t take his comments on nationalism seriously because his own priorities are highly suspect,” said the BJP’s GVL Narasinha Rao.
In the first week after the notes were outlawed, nearly 50 billion dollars were deposited in banks. Individuals have till the end of the year to turn in the old notes.