It is not the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but the banks that have caused problems to the people in the wake of demonetisation. This is the line of argument that Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and other saffron groups are using to whip up support for the BJP in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh election.
As reported in the Times of India, Bajrang Dal is forming 15-member teams whose job it is to knock on people’s doors and defend the scrapping of old high-value denomination notes, as well as pitch for votes in the name of Ram Temple, the fight against terrorism and the uniform civil code.
On defending demonetisation, the report quotes Rajveer Singh, Bareilly district convenor of the Bajrang Dal, as saying,
We point out to the people that the main reason behind non-availability of cash in the past few months was mismanagement by banks. Senior leaders of the BJP can’t be blamed for this.
In some cases, a mix of demonetisation and national security is being offered as a combined pitch. The argument here is that demonetisation has stalled terror activity in the country.
While the report itself is no guarantee of the efficacy and scale of Bajrang Dal's efforts, what it does indicate is that as the election in western Uttar Pradesh draws closer, parties are leaving no stone unturned in mobilising voters.
Bajrang Dal's campaign must also be seen in the context of a supposed consolidation of Muslim votes behind the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance in western Uttar Pradesh and Mayawati's pro-active outreach for minority votes in the region.
What can be deduced with certainty, however, is that out of the seven stages of polling in Uttar Pradesh, the first two in the western part of the state might be the most fiercely contested.
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