Political parties in Maharashtra can now sense that there is a lot of anger among people that is slowly building up against the BJP-led NDA regime mainly because of the widespread economic distress that is sensed day to day in urban as well as rural areas of Maharashtra.
In the last decade or so, mainly Maharashtra’s urban areas have suffered from issues like agrarian credit crisis, drought situation, farmers’ distress and other problems but now this negativity have reached urban centres in the state with large-scale unemployment, runaway inflation, recession, slowdown and cash crunch. Internationally acclaimed economists like Ruchir Sharma have claimed that this is mainly because of policy-related blocks created by the government such as bringing in GST just months after demonetisation, which delivered a blow to the economy.
To be fair to the government, one must put on record that Prime Minister Modi and his team predicted on their own that there will be pain felt during the process of demonetisation and the country to should be prepared to go thru it in order to have long-term gains. But firstly, the timeline they gave (50 days) completely went haywire and secondly, now it is becoming very obvious that none of the goals of demonetisation have been achieved, so long-term gain is also none! Former ministers from BJP’s own cadre such as Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie attacked the government for this policy failure in media and all this discussion coupled with the very burning issue of inflation has now distressed and angered the people tremendously.
While the BJP was in opposition before May 2014, similar anger was brewing in the public against the government and the BJP decided to ride that wave to capture power first in Delhi and later in October in Maharashtra, but the party now finds itself on the defensive as even regional political outfits are now out on the roads to capitalise on the situation.
Two days ago, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar voiced the anger that he can sense pouring out in rural Maharashtra. No one in Maharashtra has their ‘ear to the ground’ like Pawar has. So when he said he would be launching an agitation on the issue of inflation and rural distress, many other political leaders too are now seen jumping to grab the opportunity.
One such leader is Raj Thackeray. On Thursday, Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navanirman Sena organised a large rally in south Mumbai to protest the deaths of 23 suburban train commuters which occurred in Mumbai last week. The rally got a huge response, which again reflected how angry people now are, against the government. Raj is looking at reviving his sagging political fortunes by capitalising on the anger he sees in people’s minds.
The whole picture clearly shows that people are slowly expressing their frustration against the establishment because none of the promises given to them ahead of the 2014 polls are being fulfilled and the agenda is being changed to some new initiatives like cleanliness campaign or Yoga promotion drive. The BJP has to quickly get into introspection about how to solve the problems and merely running social media image promotion campaigns may not work. People voted for the BJP with a lot of hope and expectations and now is the time to deliver at least some of the promises.
In the last decade or so, mainly Maharashtra’s rural areas have suffered from issues like agrarian credit crisis, drought situation, farmers’ distress and other problems but now this negativity have reached urban centres in the state with large-scale unemployment, runaway inflation, recession, slowdown and cash crunch. And these issues have now distressed and angered the people tremendously!
- ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR