Post demonetisation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) trade wing, that started out with 450 members in 2013, is eyeing a surge in its membership. Senior party leaders said that demonetisation has helped draw in disgruntled traders who are “slowly shifting loyalties to the party”. A membership drive, launched on Friday, has a target of enrolling at least 10,000 traders into the party’s trade wing over the next one month. Alarmed, the Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari called a meeting with traders’ organisations to hear their take on the new policy in place.
“Traders are traditionally BJP voters but since the excise duty imposed on gold earlier this year by the centre, traders have been upset with the BJP government. Also they have seen our governance in Delhi and do realise that we stand by them. Since demonetisation, we identified 23 assembly constituencies that are dominated by the business community and sent out our legislators to speak to them and address their issues,” Dilip Pandey, AAP Delhi unit convenor, told The Indian Express.
AAP trade wing convenor Brijesh Goyal, also a wholesale spare parts dealer, added, “Just because I am associated with the party does not mean I have supported every move of the AAP government. Earlier this year, we did protest against the Delhi government’s decision to impose VAT on footwear below Rs 500 or on garments and the government did rollback the decision. We had also protested against the revision in minimum wages. Traders are realising that AAP is ready to listen to them… After demonetisation, Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia reached out to the traders suffering huge losses. Today we have around 8000 members and hope to bring this up to 18,000 by early next month. BJP has failed the traders badly.”
Meanwhile, at the traders meet conducted by the BJP, traders shared “sweet and sour” experiences they had due to demonetisation. “Traders are supporting demonetisation. They expressed their happiness on the meeting called by the BJP leaders to discuss the various problems of the traders and said that if the government departments and the banks remain free from corruption, then the traders will adopt e-commerce,” the statement reads.