THE BJP is treading cautiously on its strategy ahead of the key elections in Uttar Pradesh as the party is uncertain about the impact of demonetisation in rural areas amid growing nervousness among lawmakers. Sources said that the state’s party leaders were expressing apprehensions and the leadership has decided to wait for some more time to finalise the strategy.
Some functionaries have asked the government to be careful and sought immediate action to avoid public anger over the cash crunch in meetings of senior ministers with members of Parliament. Some have warned the government of negative impact of demonetisation on the economy. Sources said that the government has to take some serious steps to retain voters’ confidence.
The party leadership has been maintaining a wait and watch policy. It has urged the state leaders and parliamentarians to work on the promotion of digital banking and cashless transactions. They have been asked to organise training camps for small traders and farmers on digital transactions.
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The campaign material released so far does not mention the demonetisation. The focus is on “parivartan (change)” in Uttar Pradesh and the campaign songs deal with issues of law and order (goonda raj), closure of small industries, security for women and land grabbing. Bahujan Samaj Party Chief Mayawati has made demonetisation an election issue while ruling Samajwadi Party has been trying to take political mileage out of its adverse impact.
The parliamentarians from Uttar Pradesh have expressed concern over ground reports that suggest labourers, weavers, vegetable vendors, small shopkeepers and small scale industries were facing troubles due to cash crunch. Many are facing joblessness in other sectors too. The lawmakers have warned the party that it would take no time for people, who have so far been cooperating with the hopes for a better times, to change their attitude.
A party leader from Uttar Pradesh said that the BJP is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s credibility and people’s faith in him. “People have not lost faith in him. Its not the BJP organisation they are trusting, they believe Modi means good for the country,” said the leader. “The faith in Modi as a good leader should help the party and the central government to overcome the apprehensions.’’
The party hopes that Modi, who would address rallies in Bahraich on Sunday and Kanpur (December 18), will be able to maintain the momentum for the party. The BJP believes that the election could turn into BJP versus other parties and the division in the anti-BJP votes, especially those of Muslims, could be an advantage. Many party leaders have warned that the public could react negatively unless they experience big changes post-demonetisation in a few months. The state party leaders have told the leadership that the party could take advantage of the move if voting takes place soon.