Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes seems to have helped BJP win the confidence of people in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as the party is heading towards a landslide victory in both the states. The saffron party is likely to get clear majority in both the states, according to initial trends. Highly condemned as anti-poor by the opposition parties, demonetisation was smartly sold by Modi and Amit Shah during the poll campaign as step to curb corruption and end the gap between rich and the poor. With the rich standing in queue outside bank after demonetisation, the poor seem to have seen it as a move favouring them and that seems to have converted into the votes for the BJP this elections.
If Muzzafarnagr riots in 2013, polarised the Hindu votes in favour of BJP, demonetisation only helped it pull ahead of its rivals much more. Farmers and small scale traders constitute a big vote bank in UP. And they believed that demonetisation was a positive step towards fair-trade practice and it will streamline agricultural trade. Despite the hardship faced by them after the note ban, they had their trust reposed in Modi. Also the daily wagers were optimistic about the note ban as they believed it will link them with the banking system. According to the heads of various trade associations, the family of daily wagers too were content with the note ban as taking payments through cheque cut the scope for wasteful expenditure.
The BJP leaders had always maintained that demonetisation was a weapon against corruption and black money. And in both Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, many ministers and leaders of the ruling parties were facing graft charges. In such circumstances, Modi’s demonetisation card proved decisive for the BJP. Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati always mentioned the suffering of poor due to demonetisation in their rally speeches. But it seems two months of hardships were not as grave as the poor governance of both leaders in the past.
However, the high anti-incumbency factor proved to be too big a gap for demonetisation to breach in Punjab for the SAD-BJP alliance. The Congress is clearly returing to power after ten years. Corruption charges against its minister, drug, gang wars, unemployment and poor state of farmers dissuaded the people of Punjab from voting for the SAD-BJP alliance.