The regional parties continue to show controlled aggression in their attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move ahead of the civic body polls. Shiv Sena, NCP, Samajwadi Party and MIM, which are regional players in Maharashtra, reckon that when it comes to taking categorical position on the floor of the House in Parliament, they cannot be seen opposing the campaign against corruption.
The core team of NCP leaders has exercised caution to weigh the pros and cons as any aggressive street fight against demonetisation will not help them to refurbish the party’s image.
“In 2014, NCP faced the electoral debacle because of the perception in public that we have supported corruption. The irrigation scam provided the handy tool to the BJP to sully our leaders and party’s image in state and Centre,” said a former senior cabinet minister who did not wish to be named. He added, “When Modi is going against black money, we will have to confine our protest upto a point of public unrest. But outright opposing the demonetisation may boomerang.”
Not surprisingly, NCP president Sharad Pawar described the developments as economic emergency. He however refrained from commenting on the issue of black money.
The regional parties across state and country are facing the identical dilemma in varying degrees and issues.
A case in point is Shiv Sena, whose flip-flop on the demonetisation has seen them changing position almost every 12 hours.
According to Sena (MP) Arvind Sawant, “The party is not against the policies to curb corruption. We have welcomed the demonetisation. But the failure in enforcement resulting in public inconvenience is being highlighted by us.”
The Sena’s flip-flop on demonetisation has set the BJP to dismiss them as practising politics of opportunism.
Knowing the Sena’s decision to grab the centrestage to hit out against the Modi government, the state BJP has decided not to join the war of words.
According to BJP general secretary, “Our PM has already given Sena a befitting reply and send them in silent mode.” What face will you show Balasaheb Thackeray? Modi had asked to the Sena delegation, adding, when I meet Balasaheb I will be able to face him.
One of the Sena members said, “If overall public hails Modi post economic reforms, we will have to reply uncomfortable questions related to our street protest along with regional parties in Delhi.”
The Sena rural leaders believe if they have to consolidate their electoral stand, they will have to repeatedly talk about corruption of Congress-NCP in Maharashtra.
Interestingly, MNS appears to have adopted the wait and watch. Insiders in the MNS said, “If any policy reforms undertaken cannot be implemented well, it is the government’s failure. But we will still have to see who public perceives the decision. We are giving another two weeks to evolve our own stand on the issue.”