Demonetization & political realignment in India

On November 8, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced on national television the demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes (worth roughly $7.50 and $15, respectively) to combat the menace of black money and counterfeit currency. In one stroke, approximately 80 percent of India’s currency became worthless. India’s political discourse was until recently dominated by identity issues such as cow protection, the uniform civil code, and debates on freedom of expression. Partial demonetization has ensured a substantial shift in the political discourse to economic issues. Factions within political parties and some political parties that thrive on identity politics are on the back foot.

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