One Month After Demonetization, With Multiple Rules Imposed….Are People Still Supporting PM Modi??

Amid frequent changes in the rules for depositing and withdrawing money by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) after demonetization was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, the faith of people in the Prime Minister across the country remains intact with a few aberrations. Though the opposition political parties are promising all support for fight against black money but they are criticizing the government if it tries to address concerns of the people by saying the government having no planning and if the government acts tough by not relaxing things on its feedback they call the government insensitive in the same breath.

There is no denying the fact that it is a difficult time and some error in the execution was committed by authorities. However, the government is being adjudged for this decision on many counts 1) How far the government has been able to deal with the concerns of people? 2) How has it impacted common man? 3) How would it impact forthcoming Assembly election in 4-5 states? 4) What is the role of media in the entire matter? As the mainstream media have been stating that with initial euphoria people would start criticizing the government decisions after facing hardship of cash crunch.

Media was relentlessly reporting that there was unending queue for depositing and withdrawing money however the fact remained that some of the ATMs in Delhi drew crowd even during normal days but that media did not bother to tell the truth. Media also did not bother to tell that there were certain banks and ATMs that were giving money without fail rather media had caused panic in certain areas and among certain sections. The best example being banks and ATMs at Shashtri Bhawan in New Delhi where cash supply was never disrupted. But media reported from the minority concentrated areas that  people were criticizing the government despite getting money. The media also did not tell people that misuse of exchange policy was stopped by the government after it got feedback and that had helped reducing queue in the banks substantially. Actually attempt were being made by the opposition to take advantage of the situation to turn the tide against the Modi government which succeeded wining Assembly and Lok Sabha by-elections in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and other parts of the country.

Several bank officials are of the opinion that the situation is being handled in a best possible way even banks involved in malpractices are investigated and raided upon. Huge cache of money was recovered from different parts of the country by Income Tax sleuths. With almost 6 lakh crore new currencies in the market, Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Central Uttar Pradesh and southern states, things are more or less on track except some here and there incidents. ATMs in Delhi are still crowded but banks are eased out where if anyone is not getting Rs 24 thousand at a time, they are certainly getting over Rs 10,000. But opposition is looking at this move as an opportunity to pack up Modi but Chandigarh municipal elections once again gave them a big jolt. Maharashtra is also showing some good vibes.

Opposition political parties and a section of media are giving arguments that it is causing joblessness but is not it too early to say this without waiting for the things to get settled down. On the contrary more jobs could be created. Everyday fear is generated by the media that this decision would ruin the economy and the country in the bargain. It is also argued that this will slow down the economy but these are all presumptions which have every possibility to go wrong. Despite all these negativity being spread by the media, confidence of people it its PM remains intact including in election-bound states. How far it impacted people and their response will be clear only after elections but people are still supportive to the government.

To understand this phenomenon, there is one layman’s logic and one by political analysts. Common people’s understanding about this move is that it is a good and honest decision. Had it been political decision, the BJP government would not have annoyed its core vote bank that is business class and upper middle class who is worst affected. Political analyst were saying the same thing but in a different way, who believe that by this decision actually Modi struck a rapport with poor who were never with the BJP. So Modi has successfully won over hearts of a big chunk at the cost of a small chunk. This is the real worry for elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa. Actually poor people are also happy with the fact that Modi is the only prime minister who could take on rich and mighty. This has emboldened their confidence in him at least as of now.

Protest erupted in Venezuela just after the announcement of demonetization and the government withdrew it immediately while things are more or less normal in India even after 43 days which is really commendable. This clearly reflects that people are getting not only supplies of currencies but also of commodities. Rumors spread that truck operators might go on strike, exodus of daily wage earners is taking place, artificial shortage of salt was spread and supply of wheat and other essential commodities could be impacted but nothing had happened so far. The good thing about this move is that people are supportive and gradually shifting to e-transactions but of course we will have to keep our figures crossed once the 50-days deadline is over to see how things unfold further.

V Shukla