Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically told a delegation of Shiv Sena members of parliament (MPs) on Tuesday that “the Shiv Sena will have to support the government on demonetisation despite its reservations", according to two Sena MPs who were part of the delegation. Modi told the delegation that the demonetisation and government’s larger offensive on corruption will not be rolled back, said the MPs requesting anonymity.
A Sena MP, who was part of the delegation and who spoke on the condition that he is not identified, said Modi told them that “he had done a good job and he would give all answers to late Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray". “In fact, he told us that we were all accountable to Balasaheb and he will give his answers to Balasaheb when he leaves this world and joins Balasaheb. Modi told us that he had done a good job and asked as what answers we will give to Balasaheb about our performance," said this MP.
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In Mumbai, Shiv Sena’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray, who has been very critical of demonetisation and the inconvenience it has caused to people, told reporters after the Shiv Sena delegation’s meeting with Modi that he was happy that the prime minister had “a great deal of respect for Balasaheb". “If he indeed told our MPs that he is accountable to Balasaheb, then that tells us how much respect he has for Balasaheb and I am thankful to him for his sentiment. But Balasaheb would be more happy if Modiji reduces the pain ordinary people are feeling due to currency shortage," Thackeray said.
Another Shiv Sena MP who was part of the delegation said on condition of anonymity that Modi “sounded very confident yet conciliatory". “He did not snub us but was very assertive about demonetisation. He said this was good for the country and Balasaheb would have supported it wholeheartedly. He also acknowledged that people were facing difficulties and told us about the efforts government is doing to reduce the pain," said this MP.
Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and Lok Sabha MP Anand Adsul led the delegation, apart from 11 other Sena MPs. Raut later told reporters that the party had the issue of “inconvenience being caused to people by demonetisation". Asked specifically if the Shiv Sena would join the opposition parties in their joint strategy in the parliament against demonetisation, Raut said the party would take a decision later.
“We have met the president and the prime minister to convey our point of view. Now let’s see what happens. We are not in a hurry to decide," Raut told new channels.
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Anand Adsul said the delegation had also told the prime minister about the bar on district central co-operative banks from accepting demonetised notes. “We told the prime minister that this was causing great misery to people in rural parts and farmers because they are dependent on the co-operative banks," Adsul said.
Last week, Shiv Sena MPs had participated in a protest march called by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee against demonetisation. Shiv Sena’s support to the opposition party’s stand had irked BJP.