Thanks Nitish Kumar For Notes Ban Support: Amit Shah Leads BJP Chorus

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Patna: In face of vociferous protests against currency ban by an united opposition, BJP leaders and allies are practically queueing up to thank Nitish Kumar, the arch-critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, for once, has sided with him.

The Bihar Chief Minister -- whose party, the JD(U), had been a BJP ally till June 2013 -- has refused to join forces with the opposition parties that have planned a nationwide protest on Monday. He said he supported the currency ban as he is "convinced" that it would help in the fight against black money.

The first to express his gratitude was BJP president Amit Shah, who tweeted this afternoon to say he wished to thank Mr Kumar for his support - giving mileage to reports that the two had met before the Chief Minister came out in support of the BJP. Mr Kumar has already scoffed at the reports.

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan who was in Patna - a rival of Mr Kumar - also praised him, saying it was a welcome step that he has supported this drive against black money launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

State BJP leader and Mr Kumar's former deputy Sushil Modi went a step further. Mr Kumar, he said, should convince ally Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress to support the Modi government on the currency ban issue.

Earlier today, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi called RJD chief Lalu Prasad to discuss the fallout of the currency ban and the way to take the campaign forward. Mr Kumar's abstention from Monday's protests also came up during the discussion, sources said.

Last week, the opposition had launched a scathing attack on the government in parliament, demanding that the Prime Minister respond to the debate on notes ban and apologise for the decision that has put the common man in trouble.

After the government refused both demands, senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury had accused PM Modi of contempt of parliament. Later, a breach of privilege motion was filed in parliament by the Congress.

On Monday, the Left has called for a nationwide strike - a move that has failed to get the support of the other opposition parties. The Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party said they do not want a strike but will hold protests across the country.

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