Will try for joint protest on cooperative bank issue: CPI-M

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 20 (IANS) Kerala’s ruling CPI-M on Sunday said it will strive for a joint agitation with other parties against the Narendra Modi government’s decision to “sideline cooperative banks” following the demonetisation move, otherwise it will protest alone.

A day before an all-party meeting called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss the way ahead, state Communist Party of India-Marxist Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the move by the Modi government was detrimental to the state as a whole and if all agreed to a joint protest, it will be launched.

“If there is going to be any difference of opinion in staging a joint protest, then the CPI-M will draw out its own plans and programmes to counter the move by the Centre to sideline the cooperative banks,” Balakrishnan told reporters after chairing a party meeting.

Fissures had developed within the Congress in the Kerala, after state party chief V.M. Sudheeran on Saturday — much against the wishes of the other leaders — categorically ruled out a joint protest along with the ruling CPI-M-led LDF.

The cooperative banks have been excluded from the Reserve Bank of India’s ongoing drive aimed at accepting or exchanging the spiked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

The cooperative banking sector in Kerala is a three-tier system, with about 1,600 primary cooperative banks attached to 14 district banks, which are further linked to the apex Kerala State Cooperative Bank (KSCB) — with the total deposits in these cooperative banks totalling in excess of Rs 1 lakh crore.

Following the RBI decision, a pall of gloom has descended on the state, especially in the rural areas, where the cooperative movement is strong and also because no depositor needs to disclose his/her PAN number.

Also no tax is deducted from the interest besides the principal amount earning a higher rate of interest as compared to commercial and scheduled banks.

On Thursday, both parties expressed their desire to work together with a special one-day assembly session called for Tuesday to discuss the issue. But with Sudheeran strongly opposing it, a final decision is only likely to emerge in the Congress-led United Democratic Front when it meets prior to the all-party meeting.

While the BJP is also an invitee to the all-party meeting, it remains to be seen what they are going to come out with as the BJP is against the cooperative banks, alleging that they have more than Rs 30,000 crore of unaccounted money of politicians from the two rival fronts.

–IANS

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