Despite the glitches in the implementation of GST and the disruption caused by demonetisation more than two years back, the trading community in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency doesn’t seem to be too unhappy with the current BJP government.
Chandni Chowk is one of the seven parliamentary constituencies in the city that will go to polls on May 12 and is currently represented by veteran BJP leader Harsh Vardhan who had defeated Congress’s Kapil Sibal in the last election. The Congress, which is looking to make a comeback after being swept out of power in 2014, has fielded JP Aggarwal who is a local resident of the bustling trading hub of the city.
Aggarwal, during his campaigning, has promised to look into the problems faced by traders in the aftermath of GST, demonetisation and commercial sealing ordered by the Supreme Court.
ET spoke to various trading communities in the area and found that while there are problems faced by the community and they are upset with the ruling party, most of them are still likely to favour the BJP for reasons of ‘stability’.
While sitting MP Harsh Vardhan on Thurdsay asserted that GST has not affected the people's faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and that all criticism was ‘politically motivated’, Aggarwal said that Harsh Vardhan was disconnected from the problems of the area. “The biggest problem of the city is one of sealing and our government had resolved it in 2006 and can do it again,” he said.
According to Bhagwan Bansal, the vice president of the Delhi Mercantile Association in the walled city, the cloth business was badly hit after the implementation of GST. “We had staged a shutdown for 20 days and there are almost 27,000 retail and wholesale cloth shopkeepers in the area. But we have always supported the BJP,” he said.
Bharat Ahuja of the Bhagirath Palace Traders’ Association, a collective of shopkeepers dealing in lighting fixtures and lights, said that demonetisation was a big setback for small and medium sized traders.
“The GST-mandated accounting has increased costs but no one from the ruling party has heard us out,” he complained, but said that both — GST and demonetisation — have been good initiatives.
“I have traditionally voted for the BJP and am waiting for the party to address the problems of the trader community,” said Ahuja.
Echoing these sentiments, Praveen Khandelwal of the Confederation of All India Traders, said that issues of “national importance” and stability will take precedence during voting.
However, Ajay Arora of the Dyes and Colours Traders Association said that most of the smalltime businesses have been shut in the area mainly because of the extra costs rising out of the quarterly billing mandated by GST. “Besides, sealing has also affected retail businesses that has hampered our business,” he said.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate for the constituency is Pankaj Gupta.
Source :- Economictimes.indiatimes.com