West UP Voters Critical of Note Ban
Several farmers say they faced difficulties in sowing rabi crop
Meerut |Baghpat| Saharanpur: Demonetisation has led to a lot of resentment among farmers, traders, shopkeepers and the lower middle class people in western Uttar Pradesh, who openly vent their anger against the move and blame the BJP for the economic hardships they have faced since November 8 last year.
In this sugarcane belt, farmers said they have suffered due to demonetisation and have doubts about how effective the government’s move to withdraw old ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 notes as legal tender will be in eradicating graft and black money. “Earlier also we had difficulties in getting the money for our crop. Now a new excuse is demonetisation,” said Karampal, a Jat farmer in Baghpat. While two sugar mills in the area were more punctual in payments to sugarcane farmers,theprivatemillinthedistrict has further delayed the clearance of dues.
Dharampal Singh, another local farmer, said, “We usually get the arrears of the last sugarcane cropbyNovember.Thistimeone does not know how much delay there will be.” The harvest season for the sugarcane crop is on.
All major political parties contesting the upcoming sevenphase assembly election, which kicks off on February 11, have soughttomakedemonetisationa poll issue. While PM Narendra Modi has said in his rallies that demonetisation has hit the black moneyhoardersandthecorrupt, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati have attacked BJP on the issue in every public meeting. Every time Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav have slammed demonetisation, the crowd at their public meetings have applauded them.
Several farmers said they faced severedifficultiesinsowingtheir rabi crop due to demonetisation. Ajit and Vinod, both aged above 50, said the cash crunch induced by demonetisation caused enormous difficulties during weddings. “The cooks we hired for a marriage do not have a bank account. One could only withdraw ₹ 24,000 at a time from a bank. How can one hold a marriage with this small amount?” Vinod said.Theysaidinvillagesonehas to keep cash handy in case there is a medical emergency. “What if somebody in the family falls ill andhastobeimmediatelyshifted toahospital?”Ajitasked.Belying the BJP’s hopes of an electoral dividend from demonetisation, Ankur Pradhan, a contractor in Meerut said, “Modi is so powerful. Why does his mother have to stand in a queue? We have not seen any rich person stand in a queue outside a bank since demonetisation was announced.”