NEW DELHI: Alarm bells have begun ringing in the BJP camp. With Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections around the corner, party leaders have started expressing concerns about the impact of ‘severe’ cash crunch on its prospects. Party MPs, representing various constituencies in the State, have reached out to the top brass and conveyed the struggle that people continue to face. Bhartiya Laghu Udhyog, an RSS affiliate body, has stated that farmers, labourers and workers in small sector units are facing hardships.
BJP chief Amit Shah also held a meeting of office-bearers on Thursday during which he reportedly sought the feedback on the impact of demonetisation in various states. Within the government, senior ministers have been briefed about “acute distress” of farmers and people in the rural areas on account of demonetisation.
“The farmers have completely lost on vegetables, as they could not even recover the labour cost of harvesting. Senior ministers in the Modi government at the Centre have been briefed about the prevailing situations in the states, including UP where people are apparently losing their patience,” said a senior official of the NITI Aayog. The BJP chief is also learnt to have sought the feedback from the party MPs hailing from UP. “All MPs feel the idea is good, but ATMs are still dry,” says a senior BJP leader.
BJP chief Amit Shah is also learnt to have sought feedbacks from party MPs from UP on the ground situation.“All the MPs maintain that the idea behind the decision on demonetisation is good, but there are concerns that the bank ATMs are still dry even after 40 days. Since the farmers have harvested their Kharif crops recently, which also coincided with the marriage season, the anger among the people is now getting reflected on the streets,” a senior BJP leader said, adding that if the situations don’t improve within a fortnight, the party prospects in UP would take a severe dent.
RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Laghu Udyog Sangh chief Om Prakash Mittal said the farmers, labourers, and workers in the unorganised sector are insisting on payments only in cash. “If things don’t improve in 10-15 days, then we will be in serious trouble, as farmers are not accepting cheques for payments for their Kharif produces. Cash is needed to pay wages to labourers and workers, besides running small businesses. The government must urgently ensure cash availability for industrial activities in the small-scale sectors,” Mittal said, adding that “the job loss could aggravate if the if the cash availability isn’t drastically improved in the immediate future.” The BJP leaders maintained that the government push for digital transactions has no takers in the rural areas of the poll-bound state.
“There is an apparent anger among people on account of the regular news of income tax raids yielding crores of rupees from unscrupulous elements. At the same time, people have to stand for hours before banks and returning empty handed,” said a BJP MP from UP.
The BJP MPs are also wary of the fact that the government has not been able to counter the claims of the Opposition, which attracted most of the media attention by raising the “faulty” implementation of demonetisation.
“In place of improving the availability of cash, we are talking about future gains. The Opposition is getting more attention than us, which doesn’t suit a party seeking to wrest power in UP from formidable opponents,” said another BJP MP.