Analysis: What the Congress wants and the BJP doesn’t — a focus on demonetisation

Old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. File

Old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. File  

Unlike surgical strikes and raids in Pakistan, the proof of the impact of demonetisation is evident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi often speaks of his ‘bold decisions’ but he rarely publicises the boldest of all his decisions in this entire career — demonetisation. The abrupt announcement on November 8, 2016 to invalidate currency notes of ₹500 and ₹1000 was indeed decisive. But during this campaign, that is unlikely to be the theme of a jingle or a poster or proof of his capacity to be bold in his own speeches. Demonetisation is the Achilles Heel of Mr. Modi’s campaign.

If Mr. Modi and the BJP do not want any discussion on demonetisation, the Congress will for sure try and keep the focus on that dramatic move. Today’s revelations by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh that the RBI board tried to stop the move is a step in that direction. There will be more to follow. For one, unlike surgical strikes and raids in Pakistan, the proof of the impact of demonetisation is evident. Two years after demonetisation, the benefits that the government claimed it would bring are far from being a reality. People who were initially sold on the idea that many would lose ill-gotten money have come around to note that reality has been different. The negative impacts on their livelihoods have lingered on meanwhile.

There is yet another reason that demonetisation will be the favourite topic for the Congress and nuisance for the BJP. One of the supposed benefits of the move was that it would end terror financing. With the Pulwama strike, carried out by an Indian citizen who turned a suicide bomber, that claim has been proven hollow. While it troubled commoners and the poor, demonetisation has done nothing to cross-border terrorism. While Mr. Modi wants to keep the focus on national security and his bold decision to strike Pakistan, he would want no mention of this particular bold decision. Congress would try to inverse it — by trying to overlook his boldness vis-à-vis Pakistan, and to rake up demonetisation at every opportunity.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 6:23:07 AM |

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