Regardless of the ‘spin’ all the doctors employed by our government have tried to impart, it is difficult to gloss over the utterly inept implementation of the demonetisation. The lines in front of ATMs aren’t shortening and though the common people have displayed great patience and resilience, it would be dangerous to assume that the masses will soon get used to the cashless ATMs and banks, and
be celebrating the dawn of ‘cashless society’.
Not even the staunchest bhakta will call this advent of Ramrajya.
A great economist had once written about economic consequences of peace. No wit or twit has come up with a title for the muddle that the nation is going through. However, as far as the ruling party is concerned, it has reasons to gloat over the rich political dividends of what the usually tongue-tied MMS has pronounced to be a monumental (economic) blunder. Those who were prophesying about the ‘phoenix -like rise from the ashes of the INC’ have packed away that particular crystal ball. The more RaGa is deployed as the Big Gun against Modi and the Central Government, the less credible the charges of the not-so-united Opposition sound.
The dismal failure of UPA on all fronts and the long list of mega corrupt deals struck under its protective umbrella are much too recent to be forgotten. When Sonia Gandhi in an ‘exclusive’ interview justifies ‘dynastic’ politics in democratic India with (in her eyes) an irrefutable argument that when a doctor’s or a businessman’s progeny can follow in parents’ footsteps, why hold it against a politician’s child, one doesn’t know whether it is bluster, rhetoric or just arrogance. The lady should have realised by now that no one holds lineage against her son. He alone is responsible for single-handed destruction of valuable inheritance and demolition of a more than 125-year-old political party. No phoenix can now rise from these cold ashes.
Still the hangers-on in what they continue to refer to as the Grand Old Party insist that they be treated as Senior Partners in the United Front of Secular Democratic Forces to defeat the hordes of Fascist Barbarians who have usurped power that is their birthright. It isn’t surprising that neither JD(U), SP nor BSP—far less the TMC—is willing to concede this demand. The INC is nowhere in the electoral race in Punjab or in Uttar Pradesh. Captain Sahib is constrained to welcome Mrs. Siddhu in the folds of the Congress and muffled noises can be heard that her mercurial husband will be a key campaigner in the forthcoming elections. The abuse mouthed by Congress spokespersons is getting shriller as they are forced to read the proverbial writing on the wall. Annihilation isn’t very far.
In UP too, the disarray in Yadav clan and Mayawati camp continues despite desperate patch-up efforts and posturing. The six-lane highway linking Lucknow with Delhi via Agra was unveiled as a ‘birthday gift’ for Papa by a loving, doting and at times delinquent disobedient son who also happens to be the CM of that unfortunate state in dazzlingly dynastically democratic manner. Supersonic jets of IAF landed—touched down to take off—on the runway-like stretch of the road we were told repeatedly ‘completed before schedule’. Father rambled mostly incoherently as is his wont, and the son moved around excitedly. The commentators pointed out that in times of war, this highway could save the situation. Those unfortunate souls, who have to endure the potholed roads in most other parts of the state, weren’t exactly impressed.
Behenji is all fire and brimstone but as she reads laboriously from a sheaf of papers, the slings lose most of their sting. Memories of her ‘good governance’ have all but faded and the threat posed by BSP doesn’t appear at the moment more lethal than the challenge of coping with SP. Neither is viewed by the voters as an alternative to Modi-led BJP.
The arithmetic and algebra of electoral politics explaining likely behaviour of vote banks can provide entertaining diversion but they are hardly likely to effect outcomes in real life. This is what explains the BJP’s complacency. The Opposition is hoping against hope that this mindset will spell its doom. Witnessing the rift in the ranks of the Opposition in the agitation against the currency reform to extinguish black money, these hopes are most likely to be belied.
One small thing before we conclude. It is beyond our comprehension why the PM isn’t using the Parliament to expose the hypocrisy of the Opposition and its bankruptcy of ideas. He reaches out effectively to the people. Why then provide ammo to the ‘enemy’ camp by not addressing the people’s elected representatives? Doesn’t the NDA have a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha? The proceedings of both Houses are televised. Let the people decide who is stalling democracy and economic growth.
Former professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University