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BJP men exchange notes for ‘water’

Statesman News Service | Ahmedabad |

Nearly a week after the sudden demonetisation drive announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people in his home state are still coming out with new ideas to recycle their money that has become illegal. 
Meanwhile, even before most Indians have not been able to lay their hands on the newly printed Rs.2,000/- notes, in Gujarat it has already been used to pay bribes to two Kandla Port Trust (KPT) officials. 
The two officials were caught red-handed while taking a bribe of Rs.2.90 lakh, all in brand new Rs.2,000/- notes much of which are still in transit from the RBI mints to different banks all over the country. 
Neighbourhood utility shops like beauty parlours, gyms and restaurants and others have hired young sales boys and girls for door-to-door sale of their discount coupons offering concessional rates throughout the year. Their specific announcement is that Rs.500/- and Rs.1,000/- notes are welcome. 
Due to public outcry, payments of utility services like electricity, cooking gas and municipal taxes have been allowed to be made in the recently demonetised Rs.500/ and Rs.1,000/- notes. With this facility, the collection of the Municipal Taxes in Gujarat has gone up at least six times, as arrears of several years have suddenly being paid, albeit in the demonetised currency. 
Taking advantage of relaxation in power bills payments, many people have volunteered to make payments on behalf of neighbours, friends and relatives with their high denomination notes. But they were disappointed as they were told that each bill to be paid thus should be accompanied by identity proof of the house owner. 
For first two or three days of banking operations after demonetisation, local newspapers carried several instances of BJP workers playing good Samaritans by serving drinking water to people waiting in queue outside banks and ATMs, but the game plan was exposed at Vadodara on Tuesday. 
After handing over 200 ml water pouches to the people in queue, the BJP workers said that the bank staff also deserve the service and went in to serve them water. But people at the front end of the queue could see that they were exchanging their Rs.500/- and Rs.1,000/- notes. The crowd outside raised a hue and cry and sent the BJP workers out of the bank. 
As the entire Opposition in Parliament is only guessing about how the ruling BJP and its leaders had turned their money into white, suspicion among the people here is growing that the party has used the network of co-operative banks whose control had been seized by the saffron party leaders over last many years. 
The co-operative banks, run ostensibly for benefits and facilities to farmers who deal with only cash, have mainly politicians as their chairman and directors. These are very lenient about cash transaction limits and advancing loans without much collateral securities, and thus, often come in handy for political parties’ sudden needs.
— By Rathin Das