Taking on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for saying that the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh would be a referendum on demonetisation, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday said in the recently-concluded by-polls, which were held after demonetisation, people voted the BJP to victory and expressed confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“There is no question of a referendum. Many states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra have given a referendum, and wherever there were elections after demonetisation, people voted for the BJP and expressed their confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If you call this referendum, then people voted the BJP to victory in these elections,” Chouhan, who recently completed 11 years in office, said according to the news agency ANI.
When asked whether demonetisation has had a negative impact on his state’s economy, given that 60-70 per cent of it is agrarian and rural, the three-time BJP Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, said, “As far as demonetisation is concerned, the entire nation has supported the decision taken by the Prime Minister with open hearts and the people believe, and Modiji has also said, that this step was taken to break the backbone of terrorists and black money hoarders and to eradicate corruption from our society. And therefore, the people of both urban and rural areas are supporting this step wholeheartedly and backing the Prime Minister blindly. We also raised the issue of demonetisation during our Narmada Seva Yatra, which people support.”
Parrying speculation that the impact of demonetisation would be far-reaching in the BIMARU states — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — , Chouhan said, “There is no problem at all. There were some inconveniences initially as new currencies were introduced, it took some time, but the situation turned normal shortly.
“I believe in Madhya Pradesh you will not find serpentine queues or dissatisfaction, and, we are also gradually moving in the direction of cashless transaction. We have largely promoted cashless transactions in the government setup, and we are gradually making effort and developing means to take rest of the population in the direction of cashless transactions,” he said.
When asked if an agrarian economy can be cashless, the Chief Minister said, “Of course, it can be.”
“When the mobile phone was introduced, nobody would have ever thought that even vegetable vendors would use it. But today, they do. Today, even labourers take selfies. So, cashless economy may seem to be a difficult option today, it will be very handy in times to come. There is no problem, people are happy and with the Prime Minister,” he added.