PM Modi might skip Global Citizen event amid uproar over demonetisation
Until Friday morning, there had been no communication from the prime minister’s office on Modi participating in the event. The event organisers as well as the chief minister’s office have so far got no confirmation about the PM’s visit.india Updated: Nov 18, 2016 16:42 IST
With the demonetisation decision playing out as a political war in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was widely expected to attend the Global Citizen’s India event in Mumbai on Saturday, is now likely to give it a miss.
Until Friday morning, there had been no communication from the prime minister’s office on Modi participating in the event. The event organisers as well as the chief minister’s office have so far got no confirmation about the PM’s visit.
The event is being partnered by the state government and it was expected that the PM, who was present for the Global Citizen festival in New York in 2014, would lend his brand to this social platform, which amplifies some of his favourite causes — such as sanitation. Riding on this, the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had also planned to get the PM to lay the foundation stones for two of the proposed metro corridors in the city and, thus, informally launch the poll campaign for the BMC elections due next year.
“With the political slug fest over the demonetisation drive, PM may not want to be seen at the festival that is being headlined by an international pop-rock band and has a host of Bollywood celebrities in attendance even though the event is meant to garner support and funds for social causes,” said a senior BJP leader. “It will only give the Opposition (reason) to criticise the PM as being elitist when many common citizens are still in queue to withdraw cash.”
Last week, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) officials were preparing for ‘bhoomi pujan’ for the metro lines, while the party unit was looking at holding a public meeting at Somaiya ground in Ghatkopar. However, on Friday, the MMRDA said the planned event was not taking place on Saturday.
The Global Citizen India event ran into controversy over the issue of the state government waiving entertainment tax for the Cold Play concert here on Saturday. Social activists Anjali Damania and Hemant Gawande moved court through a Public Interest Litigation. The court, however, refused to stay the event.
The scrapping of Rs 1,000 and 500 notes ahead of the local self government polls in the state is likely to impact the elections, with the unorganised and agrarian sector being hit by the move. The BJP, however, is hoping the drive that is increasingly being seen through a rich-versus-poor prism will end up giving the party dividends in the local elections even if it is at the cost of losing the party’s core trader base.
The Prime Minister is expected to sound the bugle for the high decibel Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls later this month or early in December.