New Delhi: With key poll promises of pension for small shopkeepers and setting up of the National Traders Commission, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident of winning back the support of traders across the country. Traders were visibly upset with the party over the demonetisation and GST moves. In Delhi, traders or the Baniya community, which has been traditionally voting for the BJP, were agitated over the sealing drive being carried out by the Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee.

However, the BJP’s Sankalp Patra released ahead of the Lok Sabha polls appears to have pleased the community which forms nearly 10% of the vote bank in Delhi. In its Sankalp Patra, the BJP has promised giving pension to the small shopkeepers after 60 years of age, a move aimed at giving social security to small traders. The ruling party also said that it would set up an effective Rashtriya Vyaapar Aayog, if it was voted to power again.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said that the promises were made keeping in view the interest of the traders and exuded confidence that this would benefit the community at large. “It is the BJP that thinks about the traders’ community. Recently, Delhi traders faced tough times, but I can assure that with the victory of the BJP in Lok Sabha polls, traders will be benefitted,” Tiwari said.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) also welcomed the announcements made in the BJP’s Sankalp Patra about the trading community and said that these are important steps which CAIT had been demanding for a long time.

It said that the BJP Sankalp Patra has given due importance to the trading community and the announcements have sent a feeling of satisfaction among the trading community across the country.

“The BJP has promised to set up a national traders’ welfare board and a national policy for retail trade which will structure the retail trade in India. Making a solemn promise for providing accidental insurance of Rs 10 lakh to every trader registered under GST is a wise step providing economic security to traders. The BJP has also promised to provide pension to traders which was a much-needed step for social security of traders. The declaration of providing Vyapari Credit Card on the pattern of the Kisan Credit Card is a unique plan which will enable traders to obtain easy loans,” CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.

In its manifesto, the BJP has also kept start-ups in the loop by providing a seed start-up fund of Rs 20,000 crore while also announcing collateral free credit to MSME of up to
Rs 50 lakh. Sources said the BJP was wary of the trading community’s displeasure with the Narendra Modi government in the wake of the demonetisation move and implementation of GST in quick succession. A section within the party felt that its failure to woo small traders might force this vote bank drift to the Opposition camp.

The situation for the BJP is worse in the national capital where the ongoing sealing drive has left the traders fuming. The BJP feared this vote bank could side with the AAP which has been making desperate bids to woo the Baniya community in Delhi.


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