Amid slugfest over notes ban, Congress sounds warning bell in Bihar

Patna, Nov 23 (IANS) Amid continuing slugfest over the Centre’s demonetisation move, the Bihar Congress on Wednesday said the party can walk out of the state’s ruling Grand Alliance if ordered by its high command.

“The Congress joined the Grand Alliance — comprising the Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress — on the directive of its high command and is ready to break free if the party top brass ordered,” Congress Bihar unit President Ashok Choudhary told the media here.

Choudhary, who is the Bihar Education Minister, was speaking during a protest against the November 8 decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The Congress leader’s remarks come amid reports that RJD chief Lalu Prasad is angry with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his vocal support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation decision.

The Grand Alliance came to power in Bihar a year ago after defeating the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the assembly polls.

“The demonitisation decision was taken in a hurry without preparation and it created problems for the people. The Congress will stand by the people, no matter which party supports us or not,” the Congress leader said.

While Nitish Kumar has supported demonetisation repeatedly in public, Lalu has been opposing it. The Bihar Chief Minister, who is also the JD-U President, even differed with his own senior party leader and former JD-U President Sharad Yadav over the issue.

Nitish Kumar again said on Wednesday that the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes will force out the black money from the economy.

However, he said, the Centre should take all steps to avoid inconvenience to the people.

On the other hand, Lalu Prasad, who is a former Chief Minister of Bihar, said people have solid reasons to doubt the decision to introduce Rs 2,000 will help wipe out corruption and black money.

Lalu Prasad’s younger son Tejaswi Yadav, who is Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, too attacked Modi and criticised the demonetisation move.