Ranchi traders in mood for surgical strike

Some yet to recover from DeMo & GST blows, others can’t forget harassment

By Raj Kumar in Ranchi
  • Published 27.04.19, 1:24 AM
  • Updated 27.04.19, 1:24 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Arun Chawla The Telegraph picture

A general sense of disenchantment among the business community, a core support base of the BJP, suggests that the party would have to struggle to retain the Ranchi parliamentary seat this time.

A strong anti-incumbency mood was palpable among a majority of businessmen and traders that The Telegraph spoke to on Friday.

Former general secretary of Ranchi Wines Dealers Welfare Association Arun Chawla said one should not judge the loyalty of businessmen by the party flag they were seen carrying.

“Carrying flags of the ruling party is a compulsion for businessmen. The refusal to toe the line may invite harassment in one form or the other. I do not think the business community in the city has recovered from the blows dealt by the Narendra Modi-government in the form of demonetisation and GST (goods and services tax). They must have planned something as a retaliation. I anticipate a surgical strike. The resignation of sitting MP Ram Tahal Choudhary from the BJP is indicative of the city’s mood,” Chawla said.

General Secretary of Ranchi Footpath Dookandar Hawker Federation Anita Das said the BJP government both in the Centre and the state had been apathetic towards the needs of vendors for a long time.

“During the first four years of its rule, Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre hardly thought anything about the vendors. In Jharkhand, the government attempted to harass vendors on the pretext of anti-encroachment drives,” she said.

She referred to the inconvenience caused by the Ranchi Municipal Corporation’s order directing roadside vegetable vendors on Lalpur-Kokar stretch to do business only from 6am to 1pm to keep traffic snarls at bay.

The RMC had to withdraw the directive within a couple of weeks in the face of protests.

“However, in the last one year, both the state and the Centre adopted a lenient view towards vendors. Though it is difficult to predict whether the move is strategic or not, but the vendors haven’t forgotten the harassment they had to suffer,” Das added.

Anita Das
Anita Das The Telegraph picture

Founder president of Jharkhand Diesel Auto Rickshaw Chalak Sangh Dinesh Soni said the negatives far outweigh the positives as far as the BJP regimes in the state and the Centre are concerned.

“We appreciate the Ayushman Bharat scheme, pension plan, development of road network and a fitting reply to the terrorist attack in Pulwama. But we are still struggling for road permits and loan waivers. As the state government kept ignoring the legitimate demands of auto drivers for proper stands and rationalisation of tax deposit scheme, the Union government remained mute spectators,” Soni said.

However, Dinesh Agrawal, a Pandra-based businessman, ruled out any surprises.

“After a slowdown for two consecutive years, the market has started to improve. We hope the businessmen will recover their losses in the coming five years. After demonetisation, the number of income tax survey has reduced substantially and white money has replaced black money in the market. There has been an improvement in the sense of security, which is crucial for business growth,” Agrawal said.

President of Federation of Jharkhand Chambers of Commerce and Industries Deepak Kumar Maroo supported Agrawal.

“The implementation of GST had hit businesses hard, but the government realised the problem and introduced amendments,”he said.

He said demonetisation was a non-issue now as online transactions, which became more popular after that, eased the pain of standing in long queues before bank counters.