Political analysts view demonetisation as a political move by PM Narendra Modi to pull the rug from under the BJP’s rivals in Uttar Pradesh on the eve of the state elections. However, the sudden withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has resulted in the Yadav family feud being put on the back burner. For the first time in several months, each member is speaking in one voice – bitterly criticising demonetisation.Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav recently helped West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to organise a massive public rally in Lucknow against demonetisation. Several Samajwadi Party ministers participated. A message from Akhilesh was read out, indicating a possible larger alliance in days to come.With its archrival Samajwadi Party taking the cash cleanup issue to the streets, BSP supremo Mayawati too has had to step out. She has held marathon meetings with top leaders and party coordinators to fine-tune a plan to launch a mass movement against demonetisation.The BSP will hold district-level meetings across the state on December 6, the death anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. Attempting to turn the repressed anger of the common man into electoral gains, the party is trying to explain how demonetisation has caused hardship to daily wagers, marginal farmers, students and others while those with ill-gotten money have been given a window.Meanwhile, long queues outside banks and ATMs refuse to end. At least 100 persons are reported to have died while standing in queues across the country. Strangely, at a public function in Lucknow, Union Home Minister and local MP Rajnath Singh asked the people not to highlight news of such deaths as “demonetisation is a war against black money, fake currency and corruption.”
Birth at bank branch!
A young widow from Sardarpurwa village, who had been visiting the Punjab National Bank’s Jhinjhak branch in Kanpur Dehat for three consecutive days, delivered at the branch on December 2. She had been standing in the line for hours despite her advanced state of pregnancy to withdraw her instalment for the subsidised Lohia Awas. As she went into labour, women inside the bank arranged for a dhoti and helped her deliver. The woman’s husband had died in September and the state government had allotted her a house on compassionate grounds. She and the newborn were taken home in a jeep later.
On December 28, morning walkers in Lucknow were surprised to see farmers distributing 5,000 kg potatoes and 9,000 kg paddy for free. Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesman Alok Kumar Verma said it was a symbolic protest to draw the government’s attention to the hardship being faced by farmers owing to severe cash crunch following demonetisation.“The farmers are not getting buyers for their produce as traders are short changing them and they do not have the cash to travel to far off mandis. Instead of dumping the produce on roads or in the fields, we thought of distributing it free of cost”, the BKU spokesperson said.
Keen to claim credit, the inauguration of two dream projects of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav saw the feuding Yadav family come together. Father Mulayam Singh Yadav and uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav attended the trail run of the first leg of the Lucknow Metro, completed in a record 26 months.Kannuaj MP Dimple Yadav handed over the keys of the swanky Metro to women pilots Pratibha and Prachi for the trial run. Of the 97 pilots recruited by the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC), 19 are women. The LMRC has appointed 26 women as customer relations assistant to welcome the passengers, help them buy tickets and find their train. The other feather in the Akhilesh government’s cap was the inauguration of the six-lane Agra-Lucknow expressway. The 302-km-long project was completed on November 21 in 23 months.