Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday sparked off a fresh controversy after he said that black money has always helped the Indian economy, especially in times of global recession.

Following the union government’s decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, almost every opposition party has slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over its decision and has cited public inconvenience as the reason for its opposition.

Speaking at an event, Yadav said: “I am very clear on this; black money should not be generated. But, economic experts say that the magnitude of the global economic crisis at times is not felt in India because of a strong (parallel) economy of black money.”

His remarks come at a time when the government’s sudden decision of demonetization has resulted in serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs.

Is Akhilesh only concerned for the public?

Though there is no denying that the common man is suffering badly due to this sudden decision, however, another fact is that this decision comes at a time when assembly elections in UP are due and parties normally keep aside a hefty amount of unaccounted funds for campaigning. Hence, it won’t be wrong to say that the UP CM has also been affected severely, probably the reason for such ‘bizarre’ statement he gave today.

The crackdown against black money has left many high and dry as Assembly elections are barely a few months away.

How important is cash for elections?

The importance of cash in elections can be derived from the fact that around Rs 1,039 crore of the total collections by parties over the past three General elections was made in cash.

According to a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the political parties declared collecting Rs 2,356 crore during the three parliamentary elections. Of this, Rs 1,039 crore was in cash and the remaining was by cheque.

Hence, the move of demonetization has definitely been giving sleepless nights to the politicians in poll-bound UP.

How this move has ‘affected’ Samajwadi Party?

Ever since PM Modi announced the ban on Rs 500 and 1000 notes, political activities have slowed down in poll-bound UP.

Some political parties which had already announced the dates of rallies or public meetings have either cancelled or postponed their programmes. For example, the second phase CM Akhilesh Yadav’s ‘Vikas Yatra’ has been deferred.

It was scheduled to start from Jhansi on Monday, but now the party has delayed the second leg of the ‘yatra’ and will soon announce the new dates.

The party was also expected to organise a grand event on the occasion of the birthday of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, however, the celebrations are expected to be low-key this year.

Is Akhilesh’s party feeling the pinch of Narendra Modi government’s move?