Mumbai - Firebrand student activist Kanhaiya Kumar has questioned the government's decision to demonetise certain currency notes, saying the thought process behind it was flawed to begin with.
In a freewheeling chat with the editorial team at the Mumbai Live office on Saturday, Kumar said the decision would have been laudable if it had been meant to prod the nation towards a cashless economy. The prime minister's changing stance on the aim of demonetisation - from curbing black money to fighting corruption and then a cashless system has made us a laughing stock in the eyes of the world, he alleged. "Economic policies and decisions have to be taken keeping the economy in mind, not votes and politics," he quipped.
"If 90 per cent of the junked notes have found their way back to the banks, where is the black money?" he queried, in response to a question. Kumar, who has visited the city twice before this, said that he has met with people from different backgrounds on each visit, and each trip has been a revelation. "I would have loved to travel in Mumbai's local trains, but cannot due to security reasons," he shared. The affable student leader, who fired up the nation's youth with his vitriolic speeches and songs last year on Delhi campuses, said he had tried the Mumbai vada pav as well. "It looks good but doesn't fill you up enough," he grinned.
On a more serious note, Kumar averred that students' elections are necessary for them to understand the democratic proccesses and to strengthen democracy. "But it is sad that the Lyngdoh committee report which said that all universities should hold elections and that money and muscle power should not be used in these, is not being followed in spirit," he said. "It is important to stop malpractices and violence in these elections but not the elections themselves," he remarked.
Kumar said he wasn't keen on being projected as a hero anymore, but the firebrand youth leader shows all signs of being a potential captain to the nation's youth. "Where is the discussion about corruption and the black money the demoetisation process was supposed to target?" he questioned in reply to a query.
Kumar certainly has a lot of questions for the system. Here's hoping the movement he has helped spark will be able to provide some of the answers.