Demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes has once again highlighted the ugly side of politics as country’s politicos are locked in battles over the issue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has so far justified the much-debated move and raised the rhetoric against corruption and black money even as political heavyweights from across the country have vehemently opposed the economic reform. With hapless people facing an acute cash crunch, a teary-eyed Modi took on rivals by mounting a counteroffensive against the parties. Stepping up its efforts to augment currency notes supplies to bring relief to cash-starved citizens of the country, PM Narendra Modi government has decided to activate all channels for dispensing cash. But opposition parties remained stubborn in their approach. Opposition leaders met in New Delhi on Monday evening to draw up a common strategy to take on the government over the issue. The development indicated a stormy start to the month-long winter session of Parliament, which will begin on Wednesday. It is likely that the session will see lengthy protests like earlier when issues like GST, Land Bill and defence scams were raised in Parliament. PM Modi, however, reiterated the government’s stand on the issue by sending out a clear message to BJP leaders that there will be no roll back.
But the very issue which brought them together also revealed divisions in the Opposition ranks. What did, however, become clear that the Opposition parties — Congress, JD(U), Trinamool Congress, CPM, CPI, RJD, JMM and the YSR Congress, which are likely to be joined by BSP, DMK and possibly SP for another meeting Tuesday — will not let Parliament function and try to put the BJP-led government on the mat over the demonetisation issue.
However, There was no unanimity on proposals like marching to Rashtrapati Bhavan to jointly petition President Pranab Mukherjee on November 16 — this was suggested by Trinamool leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The Congress tossed the idea of seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the demonetisation decision but did not find many takers. While the Trinamool wants the decision rolled back, the Congress and other parties are not on board, a report said.
These developments come close on the heels of crucial Punjab and Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections that are slated to take place in February after the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1, 2017.
The move to demonetise high denomination currency notes may well be a successful step in digging out huge amounts of dirty money, but, it is also possible that the timing of the move may come back to haunt the BJP in the elections. The PM on Monday clearly said that this crunch will remain for at least the next 50 days. Till those crucial months, people may lose a lot of patience and the BJP may lose a sizeable amount of its vote base, the report said.