LokSabha 2019: Traders will play imp role in polls

Anvita Srivastava
Sunday, 7 April 2019

The votes of crores of traders and the people dependent upon them for their livelihood will be decisive in deciding the future of candidates in 195 Lok Sabha constituencies in 19 States and hence, the role of traders have become crucial in the forthcoming elections as they are trying to consolidate the trading community across country into a vote bank.

Pune: The votes of crores of traders and the people dependent upon them for their livelihood will be decisive in deciding the future of candidates in 195 Lok Sabha constituencies in 19 States and hence, the role of traders have become crucial in the forthcoming elections as they are trying to consolidate the trading community across country into a vote bank. This was the conclusion that was reached at the National Traders Conference held at Puducherry by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) which was attended by more than 200 prominent trade leaders from 26 States.

As per the release issued by CAIT, it is estimated that in all these constituencies, traders constitute nearly 40 per cent of the total votes in each constituency whereas there are about 40 seats in different states where traders can influence the result of the elections having their presence from 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the total votes, shops are the best venue for a whisper campaign for or against any political party. 

Average footfall in each shop over the country is considered to be about 30 customers every day out of which about 40 per cent are new customers each day and 60 per cent are repeated customers. If traders start whispering good or bad about any political party with their respective customers, it influences the mindset of the consumer. 

CAIT National President BC Bhartia said that there are about seven crore traders across the country and nearly 30 crore people are dependent upon these traders for their livelihood and if their votes are converted into a vote bank, the election scenario can be changed completely. 

He said that the trading community all over the country feels grossly neglected as their core issues remain unresolved for decades. It is sad that no party has ever taken traders on its priority and no efforts were ever made to ensure systematic and structured growth of domestic trade in the country.
 
It is ironic that traders are considered as core vote bank of BJP and hence, the other political parties keep a distance from the traders whereas on the other hand, the BJP also never gives due importance to its core vote bank. The traders feel themselves like an orphan child in the political spectrum of the country despite their strong presence.

Talking about the issues, Bhartia said that across the country, issues traders are facing issues like disadvantage from e-commerce, the impact of Foreign Direct Investment in Single Brand Retail and Cash and Carry stores. He also mentioned that absence of any specific ministry to oversee domestic trade, non-availability of finance from banks and financial institutions, harassment and victimisation of traders at the hands of tax and other departments severely impacts the traders.

The other issues highlighted by him were acute corruption in Government Departments, especially from lower grade officials, series of Acts, Laws and Rules governing domestic trade, no betterment of commercial markets, no proper security of traders and markets. He also mentioned that no incentives to traders for the collection of tax are some of the issues which always bother traders and hamper smooth business activities.

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