The Centre’s move to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes is bound to affect electioneering in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
Political commentators say the move will adversely affect the distribution of cash among voters -- a time-tested way of cornering votes. Campaigning by political parties may also take a hit as many depend on unaccounted cash for the same.
“Money power plays a big role in the elections here. Studies have shown distribution of ‘cash for votes’ among the people to influence voting pattern is very common in rural areas. Political parties use black money -- big currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination for the purpose. This would be adversely affected till new currency notes are there in circulation,” said SK Dwivedi, a former professor of political science at Lucknow University.
Those selling campaign material also feel that the move would have an adverse impact on their business. “This move will put a break on our business. We usually get big currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination when the leaders order banners, posters and flags etc. for campaign in their respective constituencies,” Rakesh Pandey, who has a shop selling campaign material in Lucknow, said.
Ashok Singh, who is also in the same business, said the adverse impact would be only for a limited period: “Digital campaigning has already affected our trade of selling flags, posters and banners etc. But once new currency notes are in circulation, the leaders would find ways to get sufficient funds to buy the campaign material,” he said.
Asked to comment, state BSP president Ramachal Rajbhar said the party’s campaign was going on in all the 403 assembly constituencies. “Union government’s move to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes will not affect us as majority of our workers are poor. We run the campaign with small donations from our workers,” he said.
“BSP chief Mayawati has convened a meeting of senior party leaders to review the preparations for 2017 assembly elections. The union government should ensure that common man, labourers, farmers and traders do not face any problem following the decision,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) vice-chairman Veerendra Madan said the decision would not make any impact the party’s campaign. The Congress candidates have never used black money for campaigning and their expenditure always remained within limits prescribed by the Election Commission, he said. “This may however affect the candidates and parties using black money,” he said.
A leader of another political party on condition of anonymity said the move may lead to undervaluing of expenditure by the candidates. “Candidates spending large sums on distributing poll material or setting up of dais etc. will be more cautious and may declare a lesser expenditure,” he said.