Since Modi made the earth-shaking announcement Nov. 8 to invalidate large currency notes to combat corruption and counterfeit money, the central bank has scrambled to print new replacement bills to meet the demand of desperate citizens.
Modi has called the exercise a “yagna,” or purification ceremony, and “saluted” the citizens for bearing the short-term pain.
"Distribution of laddoos is like thanksgiving for people's cooperation," said Manoj Tiwari, the party chief in New Delhi.
“Despite facing some inconvenience, people supported the move. Now, it is our turn to thank them and show our appreciation and respect for their patience,” Tiwari told the Indian Express newspaper. “If people can stand in queues and not complain, can’t we give them a laddoo as a token of our appreciation?”
The party members have also been told to write down citizens’ feedback on Modi’s decision as they hand out the sweets.
But Modi’s party is not the first to provide succor to those trapped in long lines by the currency swap.
For three weeks now, the main opposition Congress party has been conducting a series of public conversations near banks about the cash ban, offering tea and drinking water to those standing in lines — as well as laddoos.
Two days ago, the Delhi government run by the Aam Aadmi Party also began feeding free meals to the poor, many of whom have lost their daily labor wages because of the cash crunch.
The blog site DailyO called it a “novel idea to reduce the bitter taste left by the demonetization drive.”
Predictably, the flood of free laddoos has provoked a response on Twitter.