A silent disquiet is reportedly brewing among Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) members as they are worried about the reports of “distress” and “increasing public impatience” over Modi government’s shifting narrative on demonetisation.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to demonetise old Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes on November 8, he claimed the move aimed to target black money and corruption. However, as cash crisis spread across the country, the government shifted the narrative towards cashless economy while raids on black money hoarders continued across the country. Surprisingly, new currency notes worth over Rs 100 crore have been recovered by Income Tax officials from the possession of several people.
However, according to a report in the Indian Express, several BJP MPs believe “there has been a tangible fall in the initial excitement” over demonetisation. The daily spoke to five BJP MPs who admitted this on the condition of anonymity.
The MPs told IE that public mood is “slowly giving way to distress due to the shortage of currency, fruitless lines at ATMs, increasing distrust of banks and the adverse impact on the local economy.”
The BJP is concerned over reports of trouble being faced by poor people due to cash crisis and the apprehensions of job losses. Several BJP leaders, especially in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, have now started sharing their apprehension on demonetisation process in internal meetings. For this reason, the party leadership has also delayed their final election strategy.
One of the MPs IE talked to said, “The latest argument — that demonetisation paves the way towards a digital economy — is hard to sell (to the electorate).”
Another MP said, “There are still issues with electricity and mobile connectivity. How can we ask shopkeepers or small businessmen to go digital?”
However, most of the BJP leaders are still optimistic and banking on PM Modi’s credibility. A BJP leader in UP shared this by saying that people believe in Modi, not the BJP, and people have not lost faith in the PM.
A BJP MP from Bihar told IE that there is a feeling in the party that demonetisation is not “getting its expected outcome” and they have informed the party leadership about their fears. Another MP even said, that “only Modiji knows” about the impact of demonetisation.