Chandrababu Naidu's demonetisation flip-flop continues, says he still backs govt move

After coming out in support of demonetisation initially, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday did a volte-face saying that this is not what they wished for, only to issue a clarification later that media reports were "misleading the country."

It was earlier reported that Naidu had said that the solution to problems arising out of the note ban still remained elusive even 40 days after the step and it was not what he wished for. The U-turn was deemed significant as Naidu was one of the first non-BJP leaders to support the Narendra Modi government's move.

 Chandrababu Naidus demonetisation flip-flop continues, says he still backs govt move

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. AFP

"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," Naidu said addressing a workshop of Telugu Desam MPs, MLCs, MLAs and other leaders in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

However, according a report in News 18, he has now refuted such reports and clarified that his comments were misrepresented and he continues to believe that the note ban is a “good decision, although implementation challenges exist.”

“All that the chief minister had said was that post demonetisation, it was taking time for normalcy to return and that he is having to spend time resolving issues,” Naidu’s son and TDP youth wing leader Nara Lokesh told News18.

ANI also tweeted Naidu's clarification stating that he only "expressed concerns over suffering of people."

Naidu's comments had ruffled feathers in the ruling dispensation, especially because he's an NDA ally and heads the 13-member  committee appointed by centre to review demonetisation related issues, even as the BJP tried to play it down.

Earlier Naidu had voiced his concerns about the implementation lapses that were adding to the woes of the common man.

"It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem," Naidu had observed.

“The people who are supposed to manage the crisis are incapable of doing anything. The RBI has not been able to do anything about it. It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem," he has been quoted as saying in media reports.

"I am spending two hours daily to review the situation and ease the problems caused by demonetisation. I am breaking my head daily, but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” said Naidu, who heads the 13-member central committee to look into demonetisation issues.

Naidu had been a strong proponent of ban on high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. In fact, he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 October reiterating his demand.

On 9 November, hours after the Prime Minister came out with the demonetisation announcement, the Telugu Desam Party started claiming credit saying it was a "victory for Chandrababu" over his fight on corruption.

"This is a moral victory for the TDP," it said on 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.

The party media cell dug out newspaper clippings dated back to 2013 June when Chandrababu raised the demand for the first time.

But as people started facing trouble in exchanging the scrapped notes as well as in withdrawing cash from their savings accounts, Chandrababu seemed to change his tone and started making critical remarks about the Centre’s move, particularly the introduction of Rs 2,000 notes.

"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 CM said on Tuesday.

"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. Unless there were remedial measures, people's woes would continue in the long-term, Chandrababu warned.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Dec 21, 2016 21:20:04 IST