Vijayawada: BJP ally and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who had initially supported demonetisation, on Tuesday did a virtual volte face, saying the decision was not as per "our wish" and that a "lot of problems" still remain without any solution in sight.
Chandrababu, who significantly heads a 13-member committee appointed by the central government to look into demonetisation issues, warned that unless remedial measures are taken, people's woes would continue in the long-term.
"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," he said addressing a workshop of MPs, MLCs, MLAs and other leaders of his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) here.
"It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem," said Chandrababu, "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 chief minister said.
"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.
Chandrababu had initially been a strong proponent of ban on high denomination currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000. In fact, he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 12 reiterating his demand.
On November 9, a day after the prime minister came out with the demonetisation announcement, the TDP had even claimed credit saying it was a "victory for Chandrababu" over his fight on corruption. "This is a moral victory for the TDP," the party had said in 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 Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes since then," the TDP said in a Facebook post.
The party media cell dug out newspaper clippings dated back to June 2013 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 Rs2,000 notes.