On Tuesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi dropped a bombshell with the announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes. With elections just round the corner in Goa in 2017, the move could spell doom for the aspiring political parties, especially those that are trying to gain advantage of the people’s resentment against the BJP.
Goa’s electoral funding is largely opaque. According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), parties receive up to 75 percent of their funds from unknown sources. 
Political commentators say the move will adversely affect the distribution of cash among voters – a time-tested way of cornering votes. Campaigning by political parties may also take a hit as many depend on unaccounted cash for the same.
“Money power plays a big role in the elections here. Studies have shown distribution of ‘cash for votes’ among the people to influence voting patterns is very common in rural areas. Political parties use black money – big currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination – for the purpose. This would be adversely affected till new currency notes come into circulation,” said an official from the Chief Election Officer (Goa) office.
Apart from this, business will also be affected as those selling campaign material feel that the move would have an adverse impact on their trade. “This move will put a break on our business. We usually get big currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination when the leaders order banners, posters and flags etc for campaigning,” Sandeep Chari, a Panjim based shopkeeper selling campaign material, said.
Ashok Naik, who is also in the same business, said the adverse impact would be for a limited period. “Digital campaigning has already affected our trade of selling flags, posters and banners. But once new currency notes are in circulation, the leaders would find ways to get sufficient funds to buy campaign material,” he said.
A leader of a political party on condition of anonymity said the move may lead to undervaluing of expenditure by candidates. “Candidates spending large sums on distributing poll material or setting up of dais etc will be more cautious and may declare a lesser expenditure,” he said.
Speaking to Herald, Congress’ Cumbharjua MLA Pandurang Madkaikar, who is also a builder, welcomed the move saying, “This is a big move and will help curb corruption,” Madkaikar said.
Asked whether the move will have any impact on election campaigning, he said, “Why should it affect? People vote for me on the basis of the works carried out by me in the constituency and not distribution of money.”
BJP’s Calangute MLA Michael Lobo also welcomed the move saying it was a masterstroke from the Prime Minster. “This was a much-needed move and a masterstroke and we have fulfilled our pre-poll promise of curbing corruption,” he said.
Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte, welcoming the decision, tweeted that there was need to introduce Rs 2000 note.
While the Congress spokesperson Sunil Kauthankar has tweeted that the step is welcome, other party leaders who are normally seen every hour on the social media were conspicuous by their absence today. Interestingly the Vice Chairman of the GPCC minority department Savio Rodrigues called the PM’s move “well timed and much needed to curb the menace of black money”.
Herald tried contacting many leaders and ministers but most of them either did not answer or were unreachable, which was indeed surprising.


Politicians already distributing money in South Goa: CM

PANJIM: With the Central government declaring Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes invalid, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar foresees what he called a ‘pre-election period’ in Goa, which will be going for polls in early 2017. 

“Definitely, a pre-election period in Goa will happen. As per information available to me from police, several politicians in South Goa have already begun distributing Rs 4000 each to voters to buy their votes,” Chief Minister stated. 

Parsekar said politicians who always use money power to increase their political prospects will have a major problem. “There are a few politicians whose political career was based on the amount of money stored in godowns,” he said. 
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