Letters from Modi: BJP Seeks to Drive Home Benefits of Note Ban to UP Voters
About 1,650 bikers delivering message from PM that explains reasons behind move, thanks public
Lucknow: A letter from NaMo to UP voters on DeMo.
The BJP is literally driving home the larger benefits of the Centre’s move to withdraw old high-value currency notes.
About 1,650 bikers are fanning out across rural Uttar Pradesh and covering a staggering 2.75 lakh households every day to deliver a personalised letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that says demonetisation was necessary to weed out corruption and terrorism from the country.
This is part of ‘Saath aayein, parivartan laayein’ (Let’s come together, bring about change)’ campaign by BJP president Amit Shah for the ongoing assembly polls.
The objective, BJP members said, is to counter rivals Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance and Bahujan Samaj Party that have sought to highlight hardships caused by the temporary cash crunch induced by the Centre’s move to withdraw old .₹ 500 and .₹ 1,000 notes as legal tender.
The letter, which says the PM is “not only thankful to the people for their support but is also hopeful of a bright future for the country after the (demonetisation) drive”, is read out by a BJP volunteer holding a microphone to small groups of people in street corners across the state. Copies of the letter are then distributed in various households along with a two-page BJP manifesto. “You showed faith in me and gave me a huge responsibility in May 2014. I am happy that now not only is our government progressing fast but also weeding out corruption, terrorism and counterfeit currency,” the PM’s letter says.
Party leaders said this will help build and consolidate a pro-BJP sentiment among rural poor and counter the shrill campaign against demonetisation.
“Demonetisation might have created some problems for the people in the beginning but the long-term benefits of the move are huge,” said a BJP leader, who is part of the campaign.
“The point is to tell the voters how the rich have suffered through this programme and how their black money is being brought out,” said the leader, who did not wish to be identified.
The PM’s letter says, “while the previous governments have only given you 2G, Agusta and coal scams, this government is unearthing all hidden black money and punishing the defaulters. The money they usurped was all yours. We are bringing that out.”
The bikers, all BJP workers, who are carrying this message to people, have pictures of the PM, BJP president, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Uma Bharati, and party’s UP state president Keshav Prasad Maurya.
INFLUENCERS AT VILLAGES
As part of this campaign, the bikers are also identifying key influencers in every village during their journeys.
“These people have the ability to influence votes. Often they are made to talk to Amit Shah on pho- ne or listen to a recorded message personalised for them from the BJP president. This way they feel connected and respected,” the BJP leader cited earlier said.
The PM’s letter thanks the recipients for “supporting the Centre in its fight against black money and corruption”.
“I know that you people had to face many problems but you have embraced this decision wholeheartedly. It is your support that makes me believe the nation is on the right path to progress,” it says. The message seeks to counter UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who has said the “ill-planned” demonetisation might adversely impact the economy, and BSP chief Mayawati, who has said note ban was a painful decision for 90% farmers, workers and the poor, and that the BJP will have to bear the consequences of the move.
Among the achievements being highlighted by the BJP are how the LPG scheme, loan waiver for farmers, 3,500 km of railway track laid out in UP by the Modi government, more than Rs 2.25 lakh crore spent on various welfare schemes and electrification in four lakh houses have changed lives of people in the state.
The bikers are also publicising constitution of a special investigation team for tracing black money, checks on offshore investments, honest coal and spectrum allocations by the Modi government, and efforts made by the Centre to safeguard national security and improve lives of soldiers fighting in border areas.
After the first phase of polling for 73 constituencies on Saturday, which saw 64.22% voter turnout, voting will now be held in 67 constituencies spread over 11 districts on February 15. Polling in the next five phases will be held on February 19, 23 and 27, and on March 4 and 8. Votes will be counted on March 11.