TRADERS AND daily wagers, who form a major votebank in the city, feel that the “unending” troubles they are facing after demonetisation may have some bearing on the Municipal Corporation elections this time. Even as BJP’s star campaigners who are in city for campaigning have been talking only on the “benefits” of demonetisation, the shopkeepers feel that people are “frustrated due to non-availability of their own cash.”
Hari Krishan Mahajan, who owns a confectionery shop in Sector 23, said the impact of demonetisation would reflect in the results of the civic body polls. “ We don’t have sales at all. People have been asking for credit from us. When there is no cash, we are unable able to pay the fees of our children’s education. I can’t even buy new stock for my shop. Everybody is frustrated and that frustration will reflect in the polls,” Mahajan said.
Another wholesale trader, who did not wish to be named, said, “Sab ro rahe hai par koi keh nahi raha…(Everybody is crying but they are not speaking about it). Had the situation been controlled, it wouldn’t have any impact on the coming polls. The situation has worsened.”
Some traders felt that demonetisation was affecting everybody, especially the working class and shopkeepers, the opposition has not been able to make it an issue properly here in Chandigarh.
One of the officebearers of the Beopar mandal, who did not wish to be named, said, “Mushkilen bohat ho rahi hain lekin Chandigarh Congress ne usko ache se mudda nahi banaya ( People are facing problems but the Chandigarh Congress has not been able to make it a poll issue properly).”
Sanjiv Chadha, president of Sector 17 market association, said demonetisation has had more impact on those who stay in the colonies and their votes would be the deciding factor. “I feel, this is still the trial period going on. Of course, when it a season of good sales usually and you are not getting the usual revenue, it does pain but for some people, candidate’s personal rapport with people of his ward will matter a lot,” Chadha said.
According to the workers and daily wagers, the move was initiated with a good intention but the non-availability of cash even to meet their day to day expenses has created ‘frustration’ among the masses.
Vinod, who works at a clothing store, said, “My entire day is gone when I stand in the queue just to take my own salary because I have to pay for the ration of my house. Here, we don’t have cash and there you see in the news how crores of money is being found in new currency. Where is the new currency coming from? So these things hit your belief when you were happy initially about the move.”
Knowing that demonetisation is expected to impact the polls which is crucial for the party ahead of Punjab elections, every senior leader or star campaigner of BJP who came to Chandigarh for campaigning has been talking only of demonetization wherever they go.
MP from Uttarakhand, Satpal Maharaj who campaigned at various places compared this period post demonetisation with the labour pain. “Demonetisation is indeed a hard time for the nation. But I must say that this phase is like labour pain that each woman undergoes while giving birth to her child. I would seek your support in this phase to bear this pain which is important to give birth to a new India – a country that is free from corruption and black money and continues to progress on the path of development to become a world leader,” he said.
He urged people to be “strong in this time of transition.”
Poll panel reaches out to voters
To encourage voters’ turnout in the coming polls, the UT Election Commission has been reaching out people through different ways. They have hired a media company that has got musical raps prepared that are being played on the radio channels. The rap ‘voter ka swaag ni’ talks about how a vote is important to keep Chandigarh clean and green. Apart from this, strips are being run on online shopping sites and LED screens in Chandigarh to ask people to vote. In 2011, the voter turnout was just 59 per cent.