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Demonetisation will help hold free, fair polls: Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes will ensure the upcoming elections to some state assemblies are more free and fair, besides neutralising terror funding.

“A lot of politicians are already worrying,” Parrikar said, apparently referring to opposition’s criticism of the government’s action.

He also said he came to know about the move to do away with the higher denomination notes only at the Cabinet meeting when the Prime Minister’s speech was aired.

Parrikar said the next morning he realised he was the richest in the defence ministry as he had Rs 220 (in smaller change) in his pocket. The Rs 7,000 he also had did not matter then.

“This is an excellent step by the Prime Minister. Black money was used in elections. That black money has become null and void. So obviously, it will ensure more free and fair election,” he said speaking at the launch of the book “The New Arthashastra – A Security Strategy of India,” edited by Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd).

He said there are “substantial counterfeit notes” which India’s enemies are using for terror funding. “As a Defence Minister I am very happy. In one strike it has all vanished,” he said.