Shiv Sena-TMC join hands over currency ban

The Asian Age.  | Shruti Ganapatye

Metros, Mumbai

Justifying the party’s stand, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that this was not a political issue.

Uddhav Thackeray and Mamata Banerjee

Mumbai: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ally, the Shiv Sena has decided to join a delegation of opposition parties led by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) which will meet the President on Wednesday, demanding fair implementation of the Centre’s decision to abolish Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Even as opposition parties are drawing battle lines to attack the Narendra Modi-led government on the inconvenience caused to people after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray convened a meeting of all Sena MPs at Matoshree on Tuesday to discuss the party’s line before the beginning of winter session of the Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Thackeray had come down heavily on the BJP government for its “abrupt” and “messy implementation” of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 ban that has caused a lot of hardships to the common man, particularly the poor. In the closed door meeting, Mr Thackeray told his partymen to support the TMC delegation led by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. A source, who attended the closed-door meeting, said that a calm and composed Mr Thackeray was at his sarcastic best. “If Modi can go with Sharad Pawar then why can’t Shiv Sena go with TMC’s Mamata Banerjee? We are not against the Prime Minister but we are going with Ms Banerjee to meet the President in larger public interest,” Mr Thackeray said.

Two days ago, the Sena chief had even spoken to finance minister Arun Jaitley and expressed his reservations over the BJP’s “demonetisation masterstroke”. Sources in the know said that the Sena would be making few demands before the President — proper implementation of the demonetisation decision, allowing transactions in district banks and increasing withdrawal limits among others. Consequently, Sena’s 18 MP of Lok Sabha and two from Rajya Sabha would be part of the delegation tomorrow.  

Soon after the meeting, Sena MP Arvind Sawant announced that the party would join the delegation led by Ms Banerjee to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday. “People in rural areas are suffering the most as money is not deposited in rural banks,” said Mr Sawant.

Justifying the party’s stand, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that this was not a political issue.

“It is affecting 125-crore people of this country. Uddhavji has spoken to Mamata Banerjee over phone on the issue. The Sena cannot sit silent when the people are suffering,” he said.

It may be recalled that the Sena was very critical about a few clauses in the Goods and Services Tax bill, and had joined hands with the opposition against the BJP-led government.