With the current cash crunch faced by bank branches and ATMs likely to get compounded after pay day, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has drawn up an extensive plan to try and channelise the anger against the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation drive in its favour.
The AAP is not contesting the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections but its national convenor Arvind Kejriwal will hold three rallies in the state in the first two weeks of December. On December 7, Kejriwal will hit the streets in Modi’s constituency Varanasi after holding the first rally in Meerut.
AAP leaders contend that demonetisation is a move to get the common man to deposit money in banks to help them tide over the non-performing assets’ crisis. By trying to scuttle the Bharatiya Janata Party’s plans in UP, AAP leaders feel they will be able to take on the party in its bastions.
“We are not contesting the UP elections but the state is the BJP’s next battleground. We want to tell the people of UP the government’s true design in bringing demonetisation and painting it as an exercise against black money,” a senior party leader said.
Most public sector and private sector employees get their salaries between the last day of the month and the next seven days and AAP expects more chaos to kick in on pay day with banks already short on cash.
“Can the Prime Minister tell the people after which date can people withdraw their own money from the bank to the extent they want to?” Kejriwal asked, questioning the government’s management of the post-demonetisation chaos.
After three rallies in UP – the last one in the state capital Lucknow – the AAP will move its campaign to the state capitals of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan – both BJP ruled states where assembly election will be held in 2018. It will also hold a rally in Jharkhand state capital Ranchi on December 22.
- Dec 1 – Meerut
- Dec 7 – Varanasi
- Dec 14 – Lucknow
- Dec 20 – Bhopal
- Dec 22 – Ranchi
- Dec 23 – Jaipur
After contesting the assembly elections in Punjab, Goa, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in 2017, AAP will focus on the three BJP-ruled states and Odisha. The party has strategically left out Odisha from its campaign because it is ruled by the Biju Janata Dal.
The demonetisation protests have also brought the AAP and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress closer. Kejriwal said on Monday he had invited Banerjee to join the rallies wherever she can. “I will speak with her again,” he added.
Former Congress leader Jagmeet Brar recently joined the TMC in Punjab and is likely to contest the upcoming state assembly election in alliance with the AAP there.
The AAP has been protesting against the Centre’s demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 banknotes and joined other opposition parties in a ‘Bharat bandh’ on Monday to protest the November 8 announcement.