Rediff.com  » News » Without DeMo, Congress would have lost

Without DeMo, Congress would have lost

December 13, 2018 09:16 IST

'It is almost certain that in the absence of note-bandi, the party would have lost in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,' points out Amulya Ganguli.

Congress workers celebrate the assembly results at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

IMAGE: Congress workers celebrate the assembly results at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

In retrospect, the secular camp must thank Narendra Damodardas Modi for having carried out his surgical strike on farmers and small businesses via demonetisation.

But for this highly disruptive intrusion into their lives, the BJP is unlikely to have lost the three heartland states to the Congress.

The disastrous impact of demonetisation on the farmers was noted by the Union agriculture ministry.

It first said that millions of farmers were unable to buy seeds and fertilisers because all the cash in their hands suddenly became useless.

A week later, however, the ministry did a u-turn by saying that DeMo actually helped farmers to buy seeds and fertilisers and increased the area under cultivation.

This Orwellian about turn was evidently orchestrated by Big Brother who may have also played a part in the recent downsizing of the growth figure by the Niti Aayog.

However, if the claims on paper do not match the ground realities, those behind the assertions can get into trouble.

This is exactly what has happened to the BJP.

Having opted for DeMo and seen how the ordinary people quietly accepted their discomfiture even as the long queues before banks claimed a hundred lives, there was no way that the government could have admitted that demonetisation was a mistake.

It is unlikely that even the electoral defeats will make the government do so.

 

For the Congress, however, it is a scary lesson.

It is almost certain that in the absence of note-bandi, the party would have lost in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where the incumbent chief ministers put up a stiff fight.

As a result, the differences in the voting percentages between the Congress and the BJP in the two states are minuscule.

In Rajasthan, it is less than 1% since the Congress's vote share is 39.3% and the BJP's 38.8%.

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP actually got a higher percentage of votes than the Congress, securing 41% against the Congress's 40.9%.

Only in Chhattisgarh has the Congress scored a runaway victory with a vote share of 43.1% against the BJP's 33%.

But it is clear that the party is treading on thin ice in the two other states.

It is also clear that the Congress cannot bank on another big mistake by the BJP to win an election.

What is more, Modi appears to have learnt a lesson from the defeat, for he has used the word, humility, while tweeting his acceptance of the popular verdict.

The 'H' word is a rarity from a person whose entire demeanour is that of a smug, self-satisfied boss,who couldn't conceive of apologizing for the Gujarat riots.

His foot soldiers, however, are not so humble.

While Ajay Singh Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath has ascribed the Congress's success to its 'false promises', several other saffronites have called the victories 'accidental'.

DeMo in that sense was an accident.

It was not a step which a 'normal' government would have taken.

The Congress, however, would have to act on the assumption of the government's normality and follow the routine administrative path of addressing the people's grievances and meeting their aspirations, leaving 'accidents' to the realm of the gods.

Amulya Ganguli is a writer on current affairs.

Amulya Ganguli
SHARE THIS STORY