Kommineni Srinivasa Rao
It has been one year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetised higher denomination notes of the face value of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. His statement announcing demonetisation on the night of November 8 has caused tremors not just in India, but even across the globe. Initially, political parties did not know how to react. They were afraid that they could be branded corrupt if they opposed the note ban. Some had even taken credit for having suggested demonetisation much before Modi could even think of it.
The commoners had expected a root-branch reform and a major transformation. They hoped that black money would be gone in a jiffy and that they would get their share of national wealth. They also felt, it would pinch the rich and spare the poor. The Prime Minister too, in his inimitable style, claimed that demonetisation was a war against black money and wanted the people to back him.
Soon after he went on his Japan tour. Once back from Japan, he said at Goa that he could be killed for his fight against the big sharks. He also challenged that the people can question him if something goes wrong after December 31, the deadline for surrendering the demonetised notes.
But, did things go as Modi planned or hoped? Who gained and who lost? Even the Government is at sea answering this query. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said there would be benefits in the long run. Both Modi and finmin Jaitley scoffed at the comments that hinted at either problems or losses.
What came handy for the BJp was the stupendous victory in UP assembly elections. This massive and unprecedented victory has made criticism of demonitation very difficult. But, in Punjab, the Congress had won the elections. In Goa and Manipur, though the Congress was the largest party, it was the BJP that finally managed to form the Government. In our system of 'winner takes it all,' election results are the only yardstick to measure the success or otherwise of a Government decision. Hence both Narendra Modi and BJP national chief Amit Shah are giving themselves high fives.