The Election Commission of India on Friday wrote to the Finance Ministry and expressed its objection to the use of indelible ink on people who exchange money in banks in election-bound areas. Earlier on Wednesday , Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das had announced the use of indelible ink on those exchanging the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in banks. Speaking to the media, he had said that the ministry had received reports that “unscrupulous” elements of the society, who were trying to convert black money into white had organised groups of innocent people to send them from one branch to another in order to exchange and get Rs 4,500 each. He said that as a result of this, the benefit of withdrawing cash only went to a few people.
Although, the move has been widely criticised in some circles. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday went on social networking site Twitter and condemned the move. She said that this was a desperate move by the government to start a “black mechanism” and it showed that the government did not trust its own people. Use of indelible ink on people had also been condemned by the opposition as it “violated” certain rights. Twitteratis though seemed to have a mixed reaction to the whole scenario.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee had also warned the government about the opinion of the election commission on the use of indelible ink on prospective voters, when the by-elections were to begin on November 19. States like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc would be going through the process of by-elections on November 19. The use of indelible ink was ordered by the government after allegations of malpractice by various consumers at banks while exchanging the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.