Politics has become the task of doing the unexpected these days. Consider these: a) Arvind Kejriwal-led AAM Admi Party, which came to power promising action against the corrupt including former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, is now opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise demonetisation scheme that has been hailed by many as the biggest strike against black economy in the country.
b) The Congress, now apparently led by Rahul Gandhi, presided over scams worth thousands of crores of rupees during the previous UPA regime under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is the same party that has mocked the sentiments of the poor with its slogans like ‘garibi hatao’ and ‘Congress ka haath, garibo ke saath’ for decades.
The Congress is now suddenly concerned as to how demonetisation has severely affected the poor of the country. Rahul even made a joke of himself when he lined outside an ATM to exchange his old currency notes worth Rs 4000 recently.
c) In the name of the poor, the BJP has apparently hit its traditional vote bank that consists of people running small businesses. The party is apparently banking on the individual charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pull off such a gigantic move.
d) Among the others suddenly concerned about the poor, daily wagers and farmers is Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh. His son and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav today said that demonetisation has badly affected farmers in the state. He also claimed his government couldn’t get adequate assistance from the Centre to help farmers hit by the hailstorm. Allegations aside, one just wonders how honestly Mulayam has been able to raise an army of over 30 elected representatives from his own extended family. Certainly, all of them toiled hard to become such honest politicians!
Apart from SP, there are leaders from the Left like Sitaram Yechury and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who are suddenly concerned about the poor and they demand the rollback of the demonetisation order. For over 25 years of its rule in West Bengal, the Left failed to end widespread poverty in the state and members of Banerjee’s party have been found neck-in-deep in the chit-fund scam worth thousands of crores of rupees. But these are non-issues in today’s pro-poor politics!
The opposition claim that demonetisation is essentially anti-poor. Should the poor buy such argument or believe in Modi? The PM has said he would never betray the poor. Modi has also claimed he left family and other comforts for the sake of the country. Should Modi get a chance to execute his plan? The decision obviously lies with the poor.
Unlike the common perception that poor in the country are voiceless and someone should play a guardian angel for them, the poor are wise and they always know what is best for them. For proof, one can go to banks in rural areas where a number of rural people are peacefully lining up at banks to exchange their old notes, despite the sufferings. The poor have not revolted, even after 10 days of cash crunch. The politicians have.
Apart from politicians, there is also a group of pseudo liberals on social media who are suddenly concerned about the poor. The irony is that the rarest few of them would lend a single rupee to a poor during a crisis, forget any genuine help.
But then one can take solace from the fact that everyone is talking about the poor. Hope “achche din” for the poor would arrive soon.