Though BJP has been talking about cashless economy and digital payment of late, it is yet to make one of its ongoing programmes, Kamal Mela, a cashless affair. The party is organising Kamal Melas in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh from December 16 to January 27. As part of the fair, information kiosks are set up to disseminate information about schemes and achievements of the Modi government. While some of the shops at the fair offer free services, for the rest one has to pay.
Sources said the paid stalls are asking for cash as there is lack of digital transaction facilities in such rural areas of UP. As per a report, there are about 15 lakh PoS machines in the country, and the country needs an additional 20 lakh. A PoS machine costs between Rs 4,000 and Rs 8,000. About 250 million people in the country are served through PoS machines.
The entry to Kamal Mela is free. There are many stalls, where the party would also collect feedback from the visitors regarding programmes like ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ and other pro-poor schemes. Visitors write their feedback and submit it in a box. There are also shooting stalls like, Surgical Strike, Ring Toss, Break the Bottle, etc. The party workers distribute free water and tea to visitors. There are free ‘mehendi’ stalls also.
Audio-visual presentations are shown to the people on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives. Visitors can write their feedback after watching them and can give suggestions in the given box.
The party has identified 20 districts where the fair will be organised in the first phase by the party’s state wing. The districts are where BJP has always fared poorly in Assembly polls compared to SP and BSP.
The opposition leaders have been questioning how the BJP has managed to organize such big fairs amid the cash crisis in the country, where people are standing in long queues to get cash from ATMs and banks, and the marriages are getting postponed as the decorators and transporters are not accepting cheques.