One of the biggest moves by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 was demonetisation — rendering old Rs 1,000, Rs 500 as illegal tender — effects of which are still being felt in 2017. Demonetisation has emerged as the single-most biggest issue in all the five poll-bound states. The BJP is doing everything in its ability to put a positive spin on demonetisation. In Uttarakhand, the story isn't very different.
Not just demonetisation, the surgical strikes along the Line of Control will also be a major plank for the BJP in the Assembly polls in five states. At the BJP's national executive meeting in early January, party president Amit Shah spoke at length on the twin issues and told leaders to harp on the benefits of both demonetisation and the surgical strikes. Hailing Modi for the army's attack on militant camps across the LoC, Shah said the government may repeat such an action in its war against terror.
He said the 29 September strike reflected New Delhi's "zero tolerance" for terror and warned of further "out of the box" action if Islamabad persisted with its policy of sending terrorists to India. Shah said the surgical strike and the 8 November demonetisation of high-value currency had left the Opposition with no campaign issues. He said the note ban had adversely affected corruption, terror funding and fake currency smuggling.
In rallies across the hill-state, Shah said: "Those who don't have any black money in their homes, do they have any reason to worry? Do you see any worries on the faces of our leaders? Now have a look at the face of Rahul baba (Gandhi) and see if you can notice discomfort or not... On 7 November, they said, Modi ji what did you do on the issue of black money. Now they say, Modi ji why did you do it. The 'what' has turned into 'why'. Those people are concerned who have millions and billions stashed in their bungalows." According to an India Today survey conducted between 12 and 22 December, 2016, a majority of respondents (79 percent) viewed the note ban as good.
The Opposition, however, is clear about making demonetisation a poll issue. State Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay lashed out at the central government and said that the Centre acted against the federal scheme of the Indian Constitution and that he should have consulted the state governments before taking such a major decision which is causing severe inconvenience to the general public across the country. "We are going to raise this issue during our yatra and poll campaign," he said.
A Hindustan Times report claims that the poll-bound state is more concerned with the politics of personalities and cults rather than issues, but considering that the Congress government is facing alleged corruption charges, the Modi led NDA narrative of anti-corruption works really well and in fact steers the conversation towards issues like corruption. With the note ban, Modi added a moral dimension to the issue of corruption.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Feb 13, 2017 19:21:02 IST