BJP looks to stem backlash from traders

Plans to leverage Modi’s anti–black money image to seek votes in UP, believes demonetisation will hit other parties’ campaign funding

Published: 11th November 2016 04:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th November 2016 04:30 AM   |  A+A-

RBI02

People queue up outside the Reserve Bank of India to deposit and exchange I500 and I1000 notes in New Delhi on Thursday | Shekhar Yadav

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Even as it’s creating euphoria around Narendra Modi’s “surgical strikes against black money”, the BJP is counting on the Prime Minister’s anti-corruption image to counter any backlash the move to scrap Rs  500 and Rs 1,000 notes could have from traders in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections.
“That the BJP’s core voter base is feeling the pain over the decision of the Central government to demonetise the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currencies is true. The party may face a backlash in the upcoming elections. But this decisive step against corruption and black money has also endeared the Prime Minister to the hearts of the poor,” said a senior BJP leader.
The party will soon launch a massive blitzkrieg showcasing the gains that people will have from the government decision.

“Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had become the messiah of the poor by nationalising banks in one stroke. The Congress electorally exploited it for many years. Modi will excel Gandhi’s deeds when the poor are explained the benefits that would come their way in the years to come,” added the BJP leader.
The saffron party is also drawing comfort from the belief that its political rivals would be financially decimated thanks to the crackdown on black money. “The political rivals will be financially paralysed for at least six months. This gives the BJP an edge over the rivals in the crucial elections in five states,” said a senior party functionary.
The party will explain to people that those depositing Rs 2.5 lakh in their bank accounts won’t be touched by income tax sleuths.

“The poor and the people in the rural areas who have currencies of lower denominations and are out of the tax net are already hailing the government move and expressing joy that the Modi government has hit the rich and the affluent class. The Congress’ attempts in the past to label Modi as pro-corporate have come to naught with the singular action by the government against black money hoarders,” he added.
The BJP appears all set to make the surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the currency demonetisation its top election campaign agendas.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the BJP and its “friends” were informed about the demonetisation plan a week before, especially keeping the upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls in mind. He took potshots at Modi for being featured in a newspaper ad for Paytm, saying the e-wallet company was the biggest beneficiary of the move.
“Common men are the only ones suffering. I spoke to many people, they told me that black money holders have done settings already. Money will be delivered to their homes in lieu of 15 to 20 per cent commission,” Kejriwal said.

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