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Give Us A Break!

Give Us A Break!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at critics of his policies on October 4 to assure the nation that the economy was on a firm footing. “I would never jeopardise the country's future for immediate gains.”

We know that he had asked for 50 days to ‘set right’ a cruising economy last November. The nation is still gasping from the impact of demonetisation of 87% of currency, value-wise.

BJP managed to win the UP assembly elections by a record margin because Modi convinced the poor that demonetisation would hit the rich, while their travails were momentary. After jeopardising the country’s future for narrow political gains, he says he won’t do that! Too bad only King’s Speech can win Oscars.

Modi’s biggest defence even now is the performance of the UPA regime. Why compare apples with oranges? The price of crude oil was triple during the UPA regime. The global recession, followed by the RSS-sponsored ‘India Against Corruption’ had hit governance too. Yet, we arrived in 2014 with growth figures above 5%.

The method to calculate GDP was changed in 2014. If the figures Modi rattled off were standardised, the UPA numbers would have been even higher or conversely, the current GDP in last quarter would have been 3.7%

Modi promised good days for everyone, but while he went around globetrotting, people back home were being lynched for their food habits. Despite the atmosphere of mistrust created between communities everywhere, businessmen and traders still remained happy. But a year after demonetisation, India is still struggling from its aftereffects. The PM takes pride in his ‘courage’ despite his party colleague Arun Shourie reminder even “suicide needs courage.”

Demonetisation was like drying up a pond to catch crocodiles. While the amphibians escaped to nearby shrubs fish in the pond died.

Admitting mistake is the first sign of wisdom but regret is something that Modi lacks. His speech was unacceptable even otherwise because it was made on the same day RBI growth figures predicted another slump in growth. How could he say he was not an economist but yet rubbish the RBI outlook?

Where’s Tintin?

BJP President Amit Shah was tasked to find fresh pastures for his party after Prime Minister Narendra Modi realised there are many seats among the 270+ won, which the BJP had no hope of retaining in 2019.

Modi’s and Shah’s electoral map consultant showed them areas where the BJP could only gain. One such place was the Northeast of India. The others were Kerala and Tamil Nadu. But what the map forgot to tell them is something important. The lotus does not bloom in waterbodies free of mud and dirt.

Ever since they gazed the map, Modi and Shah have been behaving like Herge creations Thomson and Thompson. While what they have been trying to do in the Northeast and Tamil Nadu deserves separate mention, I will focus on what they have been trying to do in Kerala as it is the state that is facing a saffron assault at the moment.

First they tried to get an MP elected in the last elections, by playing on the old age of the man. ‘O Rajagopal has not been able to win a single election. He is over 80, please give him the last chance to be your representative,’ went the BJP plea in Thiruvananthapuram. This during the same elections when a 60+ Modi projected himself as the youth icon and indicated party veterans would not figure in his Union Cabinet.

When the Thiruvananthapuram electorate ignored the plea, some wise men came up with another suggestion: Get actor Suresh Gopi nominated to the Rajya Sabha and make him a minister. That would be the way to the average Malayali’s heart. Not until Gopi was made MP did they realise that the Constitution did not allow nominated members to be made ministers, even if such members accept the party whip.

Stumped by ignorance of the Constitution, Thomson and Thompson were given a ‘new clue’: ‘Try to co-opt Syrian Christians who have a problem with love jihad’. Neo-convert to saffron, K J Alphons, promised to net many pastors who would bring the flock along. Thus Alphons was made a minister.

In the short stint as tourism minister, he was achieved a lot: From proclaiming Kerala will continue to eat beef, to advising foreign tourist to ‘eat beef at home’ before visiting India, to cleaning the cleanest stretch in Lutyen’s Delhi, to proclaiming that he was a vegetarian. But now they have a fresh worry. From where do we get this man elected to Parliament?

Meanwhile his party in Kerala was caught in a medical scam. The average Malayali started asking himself: ‘If these guys can accept crores for ensuring a medical college seat in a private institution, when they are not even in power, what would be their level of corruption if they were handed over reins of power in Kerala?’

That left the BJP with no choice but highlight a running deadly feud between RSS and non-RSS party cadres in the extreme north of Kerala. Even in Kerala, things remain extreme once there is a ‘north’ suffixed to it. There is no doubt that the number of human lives lost due to this violence is something that should put any human to shame.

So the Thom(p)sons thought of a new plan: A Yatra across Kerala for the state BJP President. “But who cares for the BJP State President,” Thomson asked Thompson. “We will send all our Union Ministers and Chief Ministers to attract attention. We will also order our lackeys in news channels to cover the event.”

If you are confused what the fuss is all about while watching TV these days, your doubts should have been cleared now. But the Thom(p)sons are yet to realise their march has attracted attention only because it’s a spectacle, just like a circus.

Save Your State First

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claims that the state of UP has better medical facilities than Kerala. Is that meant to provide comic relief for people in Kerala who have been swarmed by all kinds of elements from north India for BJP’s 13-day ‘Save Kerala’ march? Kerala has human development indices that are on a par with the best in the world, like Norway, Sweden or Switzerland, while indices of Adityanath’s UP compares with war-torn Sudan or Somalia.

Adityanath’s looks along with his special affection for cows had already raised doubts about the state of his mind. His remarks in Kerala have confirmed that he is someone who needs immediate professional help.

( abey.kay@gmail.com)

(Published on 09th October 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 41)