Demonetisation: Shiv Sena to join Mamata in Parliament

Mumbai: In an embarrassment for the ruling BJP, its oldest ally Shiv Sena today decided to side with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Parliament tomorrow to oppose the process in which the demonetisation move is being implemented by the Modi government.

South Mumbai Sena MP Arvind Sawant said Mamata today telephoned his party chief Uddhav Thackeray and sought Sena’s support in “voicing the concerns of the common man”.

“People are being harassed and the poor are being troubled by this move. Initially, the government said the trouble will be over in 2-3 days and now the PM asks cooperation for another 50 days,” Sawant told PTI.

Clarifying his party’s stand on the issue, Sawant said Sena was not against weeding out black money. “But the process in which it is being done is not right. They (government) should have been prepared for the chaos,” he added.

On Mamata’s telephone call, he said, “Mamataji said she is talking to more political parties to side up against the government. Whoever wants to join us will join us. Sena will voice the concerns of the common man and side with Mamataji in Parliament for common people.”

He said, “Sena will be a part of the parties that are against the process in which the (demonetisation) move is implemented. The government should have had a contingency plan (in place) before implementing the decision.”

Sawant said the sudden scrapping of high-value denominations of Rs 1,000 and 500 was a “sheer harassment for the common man.”

Mamata is trying to play a pivot against the Modi government and is tapping into public sentiment post withdrawal of the high value tenders announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8.

Accusing the Modi government of turning the people of the country into “beggars”, Mamata earlier in the day said in Kolkata that she would meet President Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow on the issue irrespective of whether other parties join her or not.

She has also flayed the decision to use indelible ink to mark customers who exchange defunct currency notes and said it showed that this government “distrusts” the common people.