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

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Va­sudha.Venu­gopal @times­group.com

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.

UP ACHIEVE­MENTS

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.

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