Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bete noire in politics and a possible opposition candidate for prime minister's post in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is all support for the centre's move to demonetise high-value notes in its fight against corruption and black money.
Terming the centre's move to demonetise high-value currency notes as a drastic step against the evils of corruption and black money, Kumar on Saturday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to target benami transactions now.
Expressing confidence that the centre's decision to demonetise Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes will help the economy in the long run Kumar said, ''Demonetisation is a positive step and will lead to benefits.''
"Notes ban is a good step, now PM Modi should also hit at the benami transactions and bring back black money stashed in foreign countries," the Bihar CM said.
Kumar described the centre's demonetisation decision as a courageous (sahsik), move in the fight against black money.
Kumar also played down plans for a grand alliance of the opposition parties at the national to win the next Lok Sabha elections, saying no serious attempt is currently being made to bring together non-BJP parties.
At the same time he dismissed rumours of discord within the ruling grand alliance in Bihar and his growing proximity with BJP, saying he would not offer denial on such reports as that would be seen as 50 per cent confirmation.
It may be noted that Nitish Kumar and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik were the only opposition leaders to back the Modi government's demonetisation drive against black money. All other opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party, have been vicious opponents of the centre over the move.
Earlier, the Janata Dal (United) leader had called for action on the 'benami' properties and urged the centre to crack the whip on the menace.
Kumar had first favoured the centre's demonetisation decision, while addressing a 'Chetna sabha' at the start of his second leg of 'Nishchay yatra' in Madhubani on 16 November.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the dremonetisation move on the night of 8 November 2016 saying, ''To break the grip of corruption and black money, we have decided that the five hundred rupee and thousand rupee currency notes presently in use will no longer be legal tender from 8th November 2016 midnight.