BJP MPs voice concern over note ban to leadership

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) With no end to the queues in sight at banks and ATMs, BJP MPs and office bearers have warned the party leadership that the unending cash crunch may prove politically disastrous.

The leaders conveyed their apprehensions to Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah over dinner meetings over the last two days, insiders told IANS.

The MPs and others from election-bound Uttar Pradesh in particular told Shah that if the situation does not improve soon, the party may face electoral setbacks, informed sources said.

The meetings were attended by several MPs from Uttar Pradesh, which will elect a new assembly early next year.

“The 50-day deadline given by the Prime Minister is about to end soon but the situation outside banks and ATMs is not improving. What will we say to voters after 50 days? It is a matter of worry,” an Uttar Pradesh MP told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Another MP, who too attended the dinner, said Uttar Pradesh workers were returning home from Gujarat, Punjab and Delhi after losing their jobs due to the November 8 demonetisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned on November 8 Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, calling it a campaign against corruption, black money and terrorist funding.

Despite repeated appeals from Modi and Shah to go to the people and publicise the good the decision has done, many MPs and local leaders are reluctant to face a people angry over unending cash shortages.

“I don’t want to be beaten up,” one party MP admitted candidly. “Even when we go back to our constituencies, we avoid going out… In fact I know a few MPs who never left Delhi during weekends during the Parliament session (that ended on Friday).”

Shah was told by the BJP farmers’ front that the farming community had suffered huge losses due to the currency spike and the lack of ready cash had seriously affected sowing and essential purchases.

The youth wing felt that while the situation in towns was manageable, the rural areas were in distress.

One BJP leader said: “Yes, people are not openly opposing demonetisation even now. But we don’t know when this sullen atmosphere will turn into an outburst.”

Party MPs who attended the dinner with Shah told IANS that they were not happy that their views were being sought only after the damage had been done.

“This happened earlier too when the government brought a land acquisition bill. When there was an avalanche of criticism, our views were sought… Finally, the government had to take it back,” one MP said.

Another area of concern for the MPs and party leaders who face the electorate are the numerous changes in rules which followed the note ban, leading to confusion and anger among the people.

On Friday, Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu referred to possible shortcomings in the implementation of the note ban — which the government and the BJP were reluctant to admit earlier.

BJP President Shah was, however, clear that there will be no going back on the November 8 move and that MPs, MLAs and others must aggressively propagate it among the public.

Shah also refused to accept any criticism of Modi.

“After the government carried out surgical strike in Pakistan, the public mood was in BJP’s favour,” another MP told IANS.

“Even a week after demonetisation, the public mood was in our favour. But now people are losing their patience as they are not able to withdraw their own money from banks,” he added.

–IANS

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