Dear Prime Minister, Stop Bluffing the Nation!

Rohin Verma

Apart from all the ‘first’ tags assigned by media to Prime Minister Modi like ‘first Prime Minister to work throughout the week’ to ‘first Prime Minister to fast while on visit to White House’; he should also be called as first bluff master Prime Minister . Making it very clear, the word bluff master is not being used to malign the dignity of PM rather only mean that he is trying to make people believe that he is doing something but he really do not intend to do it. Almost all the politicians make tall promises however, delivery rate is not as expected. But, Modi is the most vocal parliamentarian who who has created ‘fans’ inspite of ‘supporters’ and that adds to expectations.

Sticking only to the Demonetisation debacle, the honorable PM on 8th of November, 2016 talked about curbing black money, funding to terrorist organizations and counterfeit currency. A month later he says, this move is to encourage cashless digital economy. As he said, this period should be celebrated as ‘Imaandari ka Utsav’. I would like to ask PM, is the festive period over? Or because ‘imaandari’ is name of festival so it shall be continued with no cash but paytm. 

Time for your Loyalty Test Now, dear PM

Dear PM, people standing in queues are largely honest. Via this move you conducted our loyalty test. Now, on behalf of citizens, we wish you and your party to pass through loyalty test. If the days and nights spent in queues are accredited to be in national interest, a proof for being nationalist we ask you to proof yourself as the nationalist politician of a nationalist party. Using army and national interest as refuge to avoid questions won’t work now.

In next few months assembly elections are to begin. Declare the donations received by the party. Who pays and what amount. Election Commission has put a bar on candidate’s assembly election spending at maximum Rs 28 lakhs and a minimum of Rs 20 lakhs in NE and hilly states. According to the reports of Association for Democratic Reforms, most of the MLA’s and MP’s on an average declare an expenditure that is far lower than the limit set. So, does this mean that there is no role of black money in elections? I hope this is true. Dear Prime Minister, we don’t doubt you as you doubted each and every citizen of this country. We just want your accountability to be assured. 

BJP’s National President, honorable Amit Shah in a TV interview when questioned on transparency of political funding said, consensus should be made on this. I request you to convince Amit Shah and let transparency prevail. Repeatedly you have been targeting Congress and other ‘secular’ parties for the worsened conditions of this country. That’s why, I feel BJP need not compare or make consensus over this for time being. Even amendments to the existing laws might take time so, go for transparent elections voluntarily. Can you, please.

However, Election Commissions expenditure limit does not address the real issue. Level playing ground needs to be created so that any ordinary citizen with a desire for public service may be able to contest elections and not be at a disadvantage. We need more transparency in the funding and source of funding, along with penalties for not being transparent. This is also not addressed. We need penalties for crossing the new expenditure limit. This is also not taken care of. Everyone anticipates the huge amount of black money in elections. In nutshell, none of the major concerns are addressed by the Cabinet or Election Commission. 

Your PR and Social Media brigade remains unchanged, Congratulations!

The propaganda theory what Noam Chomsky refers to as “manufacturing consent” has been very well articulated by much of the mainstream media and BJP’s social media wing. For mainstream media, the term ‘conspiracy of silence’ would be apt in context of coverage provided to prime minister. 2014 general elections and projection of Narendra Modi with ‘larger than life image’ and his reach to Indian youth would have also been impossible without social media and its fake-melodramatic content.

Senior Journalist Kingshuk Nag in his piece ‘’Modi and Media” in EPW correctly observes  Modi as a spin doctor who seeks to manipulate public opinion through sympathetic journalists. Modi fans every now and then, keep targeting even ordinary people’s facebook post and twitter handles, putting forth fake logic with no substance. It feels ‘bhakts’ or ‘bhagats’ is the right terminology for them. For them Modi is no political leader but God and whatever god does is justified!

Few days back I wrote my experience of Union Bank, Anand Niketan branch, New Delhi where manager said she had no information whether cash would  be made available to the branch or not. Whole day went in vain waiting for cash. I shared this on facebook. To my surprise one of the fb friends almost threatened in inbox saying if I needed Arun Jaitley’s personal assistant’s contact number to resolve the cash crisis. Other asked me to go to some ATM near Aurobindo College or Rail Bhawan adding that cash would be easily available there in few minutes. Even this dynamic is an important dynamic to be understood- Why only those people know the ATM spots where cash would be available? Are such information also being shared in form of whatsapp texts? Never know.

In another comment, attempts were on to turn the army into ‘bhakt-shield’ and stop the healthy conversation. It was said that, in the past one month there have been no incidences of naxalism or any terrorist attacks. They have been rendered cashless! What a surgical attack, Modiji! Contrary to this, Prime Minister himself asked for fifty days to normalise the situation. If ‘bhakt-logic’ (if any) is to argued, the people criticising demonetisation should be ready to be blamed for any naxalite or terrorist incidences once these organisations start conducting their  ‘business in cash’.

  …and Hypocrisy continues

Speaking in an inaugural function at Banaskantha district Modi said, opposition was not allowing him to speak in ‘Lok Sabha’ so he is addressing ‘Jan Sabha’. One may wonder, for what opposition has been demanding Modi to speak on in Lok Sabha? Wasn’t it the same demonetisation for which the session of Lok Sabha were repeatedly hindered? If Modi spoke on it earlier, the stiff might have been reduced hopefully.

In a television panel discussion, BJP treasurer failed to convince if the party formally declared and deposited all the 1000 and 500 rupee notes, considering that all the invalidated currency is back in the banking system. Now, the government has exempted political parties from income tax interrogations as well. This isn’t fair Mr.Prime Minister.

The banks are re-capitalised hopefully they are going to check the Non-Performing Assets. We eagerly wait for the budget in february and will look at the annexure i.e; revenue foregone. We wish this demonetisation move will reduce the loan waivers given to corporates and shift to ‘hand to mouth’ downtrodden  farmers.

So, Mr. Prime Minister the ball is in your court, stop bluffing the nation. Come lets join the ‘imaandari ka utsav’ together. We will share the ‘ladoo’ as well. Else, the rhetoric of people sacrificing in the name of larger national interest will sooner prove to be weaker as reports of businessmen and politicians getting caught with tens of crores in new currency is surfacing everyday.

Dear Prime Minister, the country  previously too has witnessed that it doesn’t take much for self belief of obsessive leaders to turn to self-deception. You never know even this can result in terms of voting outcomes. Isn’t so? 

The author is studying journalism in the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC).

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