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Regional Parties Worried Over Impact of Demonetisation on Election Economy?

The demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes comes months before elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Sumit Pande | CNN-News18

Updated:November 10, 2016, 11:50 PM IST
Regional Parties Worried Over Impact of Demonetisation on Election Economy?
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has asked for relaxation on women making large cash deposits in banks. (File photo)

New Delhi: Last week, a BSP leader watched with bemused interest TV channels splashing Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s foray into OROP politics.
"He raises some very pertinent issues. But the articulation is not what it probably should have been,” he said.

Rahul was, in fact, one of the first few politicians to take a clear and categorical stand on demobilisation of the high-value currency notes. In a serious of tweets, he accused PM Modi of not caring a bit "abt ordinary ppl of this country-farmers,small shopkeepers,housewives-all thrown into utter chaos(sic)”.

ALSO READ: In One Stroke, PM Modi Hits at the Root of India's 'Election Economy'

The political articulation of the line — robust and in Hindi — came 24 hours later from the leaders who have cut their teeth in the rough and tumble of poll-bound UP.

On Thursday morning, both Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati in their respective press conferences were scathing and direct in their attack on the Prime Minister.

BSP leader was first off the block. Mark the use of word "undeclared economic emergency" for the midnight ban on high-value currency announced by the PM.

Emergency and any analogy with the E-word in political lexicon has a larger connotation in the Indian psyche. In her press conference, Mayawati mentioned repeatedly about the feedback she has got from the ground. The choice of words was thus interesting.

Further, her attack on Modi also had larger political overtones and a whiff of concern over the impact of demobilisation on the ‘election economy’.

By dubbing the PM as "an upper caste who notified his caste as backward for political gains", Mayawati is not only challenging PM's “pichchda” narrative but is attempting to draw a distinction between the backwards and the business/trading community in general. The two overlap in many states.

And then, the BSP leader sums it all up by alleging that "people on the streets say BJP in the last two and a half years has made enough money to finance its politics for the next 100 years".

A Centre for Media Studies report shows Rs 30,000 crore was spent during 2014 Lok Sabha polls, only a quarter was accounted for.

These days election expenditures even for assembly segment run into several crores. The statement by the BSP leader is as much an accusation as it reflects her concern in the election year.

On the other hand, Mulayam waited for full 36 hours to give his first reaction. But finally when he did, he was socialist personified. He played on the concerns of housewives who prefer to lodge their small savings in rice drums and atta bags.

Exempt women and allow them to make deposits upto Rs 5 lakh, demanded Mulayam. “Farmers have just reaped their harvest. This is also the wedding season. Show some mercy or we will take this fight to the streets,” the Samajwadi Party chief warned.

It seems both Mayawati and Mulayam can sense an eddy rising out of the demonetisation. It is election time in UP.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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