New Delhi

Arch rivals BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav have found a common issue in to attack the Modi government. Coming on one page, the two stalwarts of politics in the poll bound state of Uttar Pradesh slammed the Modi government for taking an “anarchist” decision, and plunging the country into “financial emergency”, and demanded an immediate roll back.

Hinting that BJP stand to gain as demonetization is politically motivated, Mulayam said the decision has been taken at this point in time with elections in mind. Mayawati also lashed out at PM Modi for making life of the poor, small businessmen and farmers difficult.

Poll analysts also expect demonetization of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 currency notes to reflect in the approaching assembly elections of five states, making them a low key affair. Poll watchdog, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Coordinator for Uttar Pradesh, Dr Lenin, says that the step could suck out a major chunk of Rs. 1000crore of black money from Uttar Pradesh alone, which is usually spent by political parties giving freebies to voters in terms of cash, liquor and other incentives.

“The actual impact, however, would be visible when the elections are announced, and close to the voting day,” says Lenin.

Cumulative impact of demonetization in all five poll bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur could be much more, claim officials in the Election Commission.

Former Chief Election Commissioner, HS Brahma, however, is sceptical. He says the step will provide temporary relief in next year’s elections by tightening the grip on money availability but eventually, the answer lies in making political parties fully accountable. “Political parties would again be in position to generate black money in 2018 elections. What we need is to have restrictions on the expenditure of political parties like we have for candidates. If only a candidate is accountable and the party is not, it allows unbridled use of money power in elections. But whenever this issue was broached, all political parties came together to oppose it,” says Brahma.

But according to Social Scientist Abhay Kumar Dubey of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), the move has no relevance in elections as black money is not stashed away in trunks like in earlier times but lies scattered in hundreds of fictitious bank accounts managed by political parties, and also in the form of property and gold, and is pulled out during elections.

“Right now, if Modi government fails to rein in the chaos that this scheme has generated, and bring succour to the people, it may make BJP unpopular. The problem with this move is that it has hit the poor man’s white money. If the government does not settle it in a week or so, it may backfire in the elections,” adds Dubey.

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