BJP may find it Tough going as euphoria ends, reality dawns: UP Polls 2017, Economic Times

Written by Sabrangindia Staff | Published on: December 11, 2016
 
The Economic Times reports, that with just 19,143 ATMs, only double of those in Delhi but catering to almost 20 times more population than the national capital, Uttar Pradesh seems worst affected by the demonetisation crisis. Its political fallout now threatens to derail BJP’s chances in the big battle of 2017 if the situation persists into the new year. In prime minister Modi’s own constituency, cash distress continues causing rising anger among the populace.

Dates of the state polls remain uncertain as of now. Last week, the state government announced dates for the Std. X and XII examinations from February 10-March 15, 2017, a decision for which the state education secretary was reportedly summoned by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), New Delhi on Saturday (December 10). It is uncertain now what the outcome of the meeting has been. Technically, since the first session of the newly elected Akhilesh Yadav government in 2012 had only met in the first week of May 2012, there is time till mid April 2017 for the polls, before the five year statutory time expires.

The ET reports that it spoke to senior leaders of all major parties, top bureaucrats and police officers — many spoke on the condition of anonymity — to piece together the big picture where initial euphoria is slowly metamorphising into anger and frustration as the queues are not shortening. “Lucknow ka aadmi mauj aur aaram mein rehta hai...usse line mein khada hona pasand nahi hai. Woh ghar baith jayega par ab BJP ko vote nahi dalega, if this situation persists for two more weeks or so. (People in Lucknow are somewhat laidback and live a slow life. They don’t like to stand in queues. They will sit at home but not go and vote for BJP),” a senior political leader told ET. He said there were intelligence reports with the government of RSS workers also standing in queues and motivating people to not be restive or criticise the move - but the patience seems to be running out.

“Mohbhang ho raha hai (the euphoria is now fizzling out),” he said. The banking penetration is poor, compounding the problems. UP has just 18,000-odd bank branches and 19,143 ATMs to cater to over 20 cr people. Delhi with 1.2 cr people has 9,070 ATMs while Maharashtra with 11 cr population has nearly 25,000 ATMs.

Thinning crowds at the BJP's parivartan yatras have also been coming in. Fearing they may not get sizeable crowd for the mega rally to be addressed by Narendra Modi at Lucknow on December 24, Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to call it off. The mega rally was planned to mark the culmination of four parivartan yatras that began in the first week of November.

Sabrangindia has been reporting on the huge rural distress due to the ill-planned de-monetization decision of the Modi government. On November 22, the tragic incident of the death of a 65-year-old man was trampled to death outside a bank while standing in a queue to withdraw cash is sympomatic.Ramnath Kushwaha, a resident of Gulriha village, was caught in a stampede outside the State Bank of India branch on Monday. He was trampled by a crowd who had gathered to withdraw cash, SP Mohd Imran said. He had gone to withdraw money to make payments to a hospital where his pregnant daughter-in-law has been admitted, the officer said.

“..The real problem is banks have no cash. We have reports of queues of 400 people or more in towns and villages and the sudden announcement of cash finishing leading to people becoming aggressive. The problem is more acute in Eastern UP,” says UP Additional DG (Law & Order) Daljit Singh Chawdhary, the nodal officer to handle demonetisation law and order issues. Each day, he gets SOS calls from 2-3 bank bosses. “Nearly 40,000 policemen - that is 25% of the state police strength - are posted at banks. “But for the police, many banks would have been vandalised by now. UP DGP Javeed Ahmad has told policemen to exercise restraint and not do a lathicharge,” a state bureaucrat said.

On Sunday, December 11, prime minister Narendram Modi on Sunday told a BJP Parivartan Rally in Uttar Pradesh's Bahraich that 'gunda raj' will end in the state if his party is voted to power.The PM wasn't actually at the rally. His helicopter couldn't land in Bahraich due to low visibility caused by foggy weather.