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Kejriwal ups ante on currency ban, calls special assembly session

The Delhi government has called a special session of the Delhi assembly on Tuesday to discuss the fallout of the Centre’s decision to scrap ₹500 and ₹1000 notes even as chief minister Arvind Kejriwal reiterated his demand for the immediate withdrawal of the demonetisation scheme.

Delhiites struggled for the sixth day for cash as banks and ATMs remain closed on Monday on account of the public holiday for Guru Purab.

The chief minister chaired a hurriedly called cabinet meeting at his residence at which the state government decided to deploy about 5,000 civil defence volunteers to assist people standing in queues outside bank and ATMs with water and refreshment. The deployment will be done in a day or two, chief minister Kejriwal said.

“I have directed the divisional commissioners to explore possibilities of providing food to those in need and distress,” Kejriwal told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

Continuing his tirade against the Narendra Modi government, the CM referred to the announcement that cash was being dispatched to remote corners in IAF aircraft and said it showed how the Centre was now in a panic mode due to lack of proper planning.

Kejriwal, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of the scheme, said only “dalals” (touts) were making merry amid the nationwide crisis and honest people were queuing up outside banks for their own money.

“We demand an immediate withdrawal of the scheme. The government can bring it later with better planning,” Kejriwal said.

The AAP leader warned the Centre that the continuation of the scheme risks a law and order problem and the Union government needs to come out with a solution soon.

Read: Kejriwal, Sisodia rally behind traders, visit wholesale hubs

Running down the Prime Minister’s call seeking 50 days from the countrymen to cleanse the economy, Kejriwal said people were not ready to grant even 50 hours due to their sufferings.

He said the decision had hit all sectors, including business and agriculture besides daily livelihood. “I met several traders on Sunday who told me how difficult it has become for them to run their business with the withdrawal cap of R 24,000 per week. Farmers have been hit and there are uncertainties about how they would buy seeds, fertilizer etc. We don’t see any solution coming,” he said.

The BJP criticised the announcements by the Delhi government. Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said there is no logic to call an assembly session on the subject, which is not related to the Delhi government.

“It is a political drama. Kejriwal often calls assembly sessions on issues which has no connection with the Delhi government. It is established that Kejriwal is worst affected by the decision of demonetisation,” he said.