If we go by the results of the bye-elections announced yesterday, we get it straight – that demonetization is just a political issue which has not those social contours as is being projected by its opponents.
Bye-elections were held in four parliamentary constituencies and ten assembly constituencies spread across six states – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Tripura – and in the union territory Puducherry.
Going by the charges that the political opposition is levelling against the NDA government led by prime minister Narendra Modi, there could have been just one possible outcome of these bye-elections – the BJP facing a humiliating electoral loss.
But that didn’t happen.
The results announced show the public has gone ahead with the status quo prevailing – and going by the geographical spread – Assam (Northeast), Arunachal Pradesh (Northeast), Madhya Pradesh (Central), West Bengal (East), Tamil Nadu (South), Tripura (Northeast) and Puducherry (South) – certainly a wide cross-section of the country – we can say it is not a localized reaction of a certain pocket.
The BJP, in fact, has fared well, and at cost of those who are vehemently opposing the demonetization move – like Congress or the Left front.
The BJP won parliamentary and assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh comfortably, came second in the Coochbehar PC in West Bengal and came second in one seat in Tripura. That shows demonetization didn’t work against the BJP even if the bypolls were held 10 days after the sudden policy change announced by Narendra Modi on November 10.
What can we read into it? Are all the stories of people thronging banks and ATMs day in, day out and in night and people dying in queues are nothing?