Demonetisation: Nitish Kumar says he has taken principled stand

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said he has taken a principled stand on demonetisation as he is convinced that the step will help fight black money and laughed off reports of his meeting with BJP President Amit Shah as background to his support.

“I support demonetisation as I’m convinced that it will help in the fight against black money,” Kumar said addressing a function to mark Prohibition Day here.

With political meaning being derived from his stand on demonetisation which is different from those of Congress, RJD and other non-BJP parties, Kumar said he has taken a principled stand as in his opinion scrapping of high value bank notes would help in diluting black money.

“Is this the first time that I have taken a principled stand which might be politically different from others on an issue on which I’m convinced?” Kumar, who had reminded the media yesterday that he had supported Pranab Mukherjee for presidentship despite being a member of NDA.

“Will those hoarding black money be able to deposit the entire volume in bank accounts? Reserve Bank could issue new notes against a quantity of black money which would not find way to banks during the current drive,” he said expressing views on demonetisation raging in national politics.

Kumar, who is also JD(U) National President, laughed at reports appearing in a section of media here which attributed his support to demonetisation to his secret meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah at a farmhouse recently.

“Had the reporter who gave this news taken me to the farmhouse where I met Amit Shah?” he said and lamented over such “baseless news which hitherto was prevalent only in social media platform”.

Kumar, who has described the Centre’s demonetisation decision as “sahshik” (courageous), said in addition to scrapping of higher denomination currencies, attack on benami properties and prohibition could lead to creation of “kala dhan mukt Bharat” (black money free India).

He said when he spoke of benami properties it includes real estate as well as stocking of gold and diamonds with the help of ill-gotten wealth.

“I will urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi that this is the right time to immediately hit at benami properties as well clamp liquor ban for better results against black money,” he said.

Kumar, who has taken prohibition in a mission mode in Bihar, said it is well known that people involved in liquor trade have amassed huge benami properties.