In quite a big relief to district central cooperative banks, the finance ministry has allowed it to deposit the banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes with the Reserve Bank by July 20. The ministry has allowed DCCBs to exchange any old junked notes with RBI in the next one month, which were collected between November 10 and November 14 last year.
The government has also allowed banks and post offices the same facility for junked notes collected by them till December 30 last year.
Now, what is strange in all of this is the timing of the notification. A Telegraph report notes that this sudden decision could be the government's way to impress political parties to support their chosen candidate for the President post, Ram Nath Kovind.
The Shiv Sena wanted the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to exchange old notes worth Rs 2,771.856 crore in central cooperative banks for new ones. They have been demanding this since the demonetisation move.
On Wednesday, just hours after this announcement by the finance ministry, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray announced that his party will support BJP's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
"We fully support Kovind. He has a nice personality. He has done a lot of good work," Thackeray said at a press conference. This was a total U-turn by the Shiv Sena. Just two days ago, Thackeray had criticized the BJP for choosing a Dalit candidate, accusing them of engaging in a petty vote-bank politics.
Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar's NCP is likely to make its stand clear on the President pick by tomorrow. And NCP has had the same demand like the Shiv Sena for a while-- Lifting of freeze on the cooperative bank cash stash.
Isn't this too much of a co-incidence? The finance ministry's announcement and the government trying to woo parties right before the Presidential election?
When former Finance Minister P Chidambaram tweeted about the "perfectly timed" notification, it led to a backlash from BJP supporters who blasted "the Gandhi family chamcha" for smelling a conspiracy.
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