Note ban splits BJP’s trader vote bank in western UP

In the cities of western Uttar Pradesh demonetisation has been a killer



UP Elections 2017 : Manoj Kucchal, a hardware vendor in Bijnor’s commercial hub, Sadar Bazar, looked harassed as he summoned his chartered accountant for the morning session he has been holding since the taxman knocked on his doors.

The taxman started sending him alerts after vetting Kucchal’s bank accounts to check how much cash was put in it after November 8, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetised high-value currency notes.

“The I-T (income tax) department has served 10 messages on my mobile in the past 10 days. If I do not answer these within 10 days, I will have to pay a penalty of Rs 10,000 per notice. The thing that amuses me is the number of times I have used the figure 10,” said Kucchal, who heads the Bijnor district traders’ association.

At Saharanpur, 110 km away, Vivek Minocha, who helms the city’s traders’ forum, is feeling harassed. “The I-T guys are demanding proof for every rupee we put in (to a bank account). The PM himself said once not to probe deposits of up to Rs 2.5 lakh by housewives. The women in my joint family have made deposits. It seems the I-T sleuths will not heed his advice. What do I do?” asked Minocha.

In the cities of western Uttar Pradesh, whose economies are sustained mostly by wholesale and retail trading, demonetisation has been a killer. In the absence of large industries at these places, trading in food, agro products, industrial goods and crafts is a major economic contributor and a sizeable employer. (more)

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