Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday claimed his party has not softened its stance on demonetisation, hinting it could step up opposition if people’s sufferings continue after 30 December, a deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set things right.
Taking a cue from Akhilesh Yadav dispensation in Uttar Pradesh, Thackeray, whose party is second largest constituent of the NDA government, also suggested giving compensation to kin of those who lost lives allegedly in the aftermath of demonetisation.
“(When demonetisation was announced) I had neither opposed nor welcomed the move. I had only maintained that the common people should not be inconvenienced. 30 (of the 50) days have gone, but there is no sign that the problems have decreased. Rather, problems are on the rise day-by-day,” Thackeray told reporters.
Asked his party’s move after remaining 20 of the 50 days Prime Minister had initially asked for, Thackeray said, “Let the period get over as ‘achhe din’ are in store.”
“Let’s wait for the 20 days, people will have something to say about it. We will talk about our stand after these 20 days,” he said.
To a question whether the Shiv Sena, which had joined a protest led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has softened its stand on demonetisation after a party delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, Thackeray replied in negative.
“We are not economists. But some experts like Manmohan Singh, Amartya Sen have opposed it. They too have opined it is a wrong decision,” he said.
Asked which side Sena will be on if discussions are held inside Lok Sabha under a rule which entails voting, Thackeray evaded a direct reply to the question, saying “the party will remain with people”.
Expressing concerns over the repeated disruptions in Parliament, Thackeray said it was unfortunate and suggested taking views expressed by BJP veteran LK Advani “seriously”.
Thackeray also hailed the Allahabad High Court for holding triple talaq as “cruel” and “most demeaning” practice which “impedes and drags India from becoming a nation”, saying it is an important observation for the country.
“…the case should not meet the fate of Shah Bano case,” he said.
In The Shah Bano decision, the Supreme Court had overruled a Muslim personal law and granted a Muslim woman alimony. In response, a legislation was proposed by Centre in 1986 to prevent such a court decision in the future.
Referring to claims that terror attacks have stopped post-demonetisation, Thackeray said it meant the Prime Minister has shown a path to the world on combating terrorism. However, other countries are not following that path, he quipped.
“I was happy to know that terror attacks have stopped post-demonetisation. If the attacks on the country have stopped, then (it meant) Modi has shown a path to the world. Why cannot other countries resort to demonetisation (then)? How simple way Modiji had shown. But other countries are not taking that path,” he said sarcastically.
On whether the Shiv Sena will join hands with BJP, with which it is sharing uneasy relationship after they parted ways ahead of 2014 Maharashtra assembly polls, for the forthcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, Thackeray said, “We still have time (to talk about it). Let the 20 days go, achhe din are on the anvil.”
The BMC elections are likely to be held in February next year.
Thackeray also stated that he will take up the issue of plight of farmers with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The Uttar Pradesh government had on Wednesday announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh to families of those who lost lives while queueing up outside banks and ATMs following demonetisation.
(With inputs from PTI)