After Initial Support, Chandrababu Naidu Now Sees Problems with Demonetisation

Chandrababu Naidu. Credit: PTI

Chandrababu Naidu. Credit: PTI

Vijayawada: BJP ally and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, who had initially supported demonetisation, made a U-turn on Tuesday, saying the decision was not as per “our wish” and that a “lot of problems” still remain without any solution in sight.

Naidu, who heads a 13-member committee appointed by the central government to look into demonetisation issues, warned that unless remedial measures are taken, people’s woes would continue in the long term. The panel he heads recently recommended that the RBI slash charges on card usage.

“Demonetisation was not our wish but it happened. More than 40 days after demonetisation, there are still a lot of problems but yet there appears to be no solution,” he said, addressing a workshop of MPs, MLCs, MLAs and other leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

“It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem,” said Naidu.

“I am spending two hours daily to ease the problems caused by demonetisation. I am breaking my head daily but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” the chief minister said.

“We could resolve the ‘August crisis’ (an internal party coup dating back to 1984) in 30 days but this (demonetisation) still persists,” he said.

He said banks were “not prepared” for a transition to digital economy. “They are unable to even register banking correspondents,” he added..

Naidu had initially been a strong proponent of the ban on high-denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. In fact, he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 12 reiterating his support.

On November 9, a day after the prime minister came out with the demonetisation announcement, the TDP had even claimed credit saying it was a “victory for Chandrababu” over his fight on corruption. “This is a moral victory for the TDP,” the party had said in posts on Facebook and Twitter.

“Prime Minister Modi may have taken the decision now but Chandrababu had these thoughts even when he was in the opposition (2004-14). He had been fighting for scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes since then,” the TDP said in a Facebook post.

According to the party, Naidu had first raised the demand in 2013.

But as peoples trouble in exchanging the scrapped notes as well as in withdrawing cash from their savings accounts did not seem to be ending, Naidu changed his tone and started making critical remarks about the Centre’s move, particularly the introduction of Rs 2,000 notes.