December 6, 2020 3:45:11 am
Keep in mind Narendra Modi’s sneery remark in regards to the ‘Khan Market gang’ in the course of the election marketing campaign final 12 months? Keep in mind how he stated that it was solely this ‘gang’ who disapproved of him? Keep in mind how as quickly because the outcomes indicated a second time period for him, aggressive employees descended on this trendy bazaar waving BJP flags and banners with a menace that frightened strange consumers. Mercifully, this weird train was by no means repeated. However, Modi’s remark made such an impression on his supporters that his description of these as soon as dismissed as ‘Lutyens libtards’ has now entered our political vocabulary.
Modi’s victory in final 12 months’s normal election buried for good the outdated effete, English-speaking ruling elite who as soon as managed all of the levers of political energy, however it did one thing else as effectively. It constructed across the Prime Minister an aura of invincibility. His second victory in a normal election appeared to persuade him that he might do what he preferred. He might change Kashmir’s particular standing and demote it to a Union Territory. He might amend the citizenship regulation by making it discriminatory. When Muslims noticed this as a risk to their citizenship and protested within the streets of cities and on college campuses, he might permit his ministers to dismiss them as jihadists and Pakistanis.
He might flip Parliament Home right into a ‘Museum of Democracy’ and construct a brand new one to loom over it. He might construct himself a brand new residence within the shadow of India Gate remodeling the Central Vista. He might get away with that critical mistake in dealing with Covid-19 through which he closed India down at 4 hours’ discover, inflicting unspeakable struggling to tens of millions of our poorest, most weak residents. The truth that the folks of Bihar gave the BJP a mandate regardless of this seems to have additional emboldened him. A goodish BJP efficiency in final week’s municipal election in Hyderabad will add to his sense of invincibility. However, in a democracy the folks’s voice is just not heard simply by means of the poll field, and it’s starting to look as if the Prime Minister has forgotten this.
It needs to be heard by means of the media. However, as I’ve admitted earlier than on this column, the media doesn’t dare communicate reality to energy any extra. There are penalties. The media has been ‘managed’ in methods which can be so unsubtle that when a bunch of TV reporters went to satisfy farmers on the barricades on Delhi’s northern border, they have been chased away by offended Sikh farmers who stated that they had no want to speak to ‘godi media’. Lapdogs. The BJP’s media managers additionally management social media platforms with a mixture of aggression and abuse. Those that dare to tweet in opposition to the Prime Minister or his insurance policies are labeled ‘traitors’. If they’re ladies, in addition they face verbal sexual abuse.
The farmers’ protest on the borders of Delhi that has gone on now for greater than every week comes as a pointy and well timed reminder that Modi’s critics exist past the ‘Khan Market gang’. For the primary time since he turned Prime Minister, he has been publicly attacked. When Punjabi farmers have been requested why they didn’t settle for the Dwelling Minister’s provide to speak to them as quickly as they moved their protest to a ‘structured’ house in Delhi, that is what they stated: “Modi, Shah have proved that they’re such liars that we will not belief them.” Each commentator has a idea on why the farmers are so offended over modifications in farm legal guidelines that technically give them extra choices to promote their produce. My idea is that their rage comes from a complete lack of communication. The ivory tower think-tanks in Delhi’s highest corridors of energy clearly didn’t embrace farmers after they made their ‘agricultural reforms’.
Then got here the inexplicable mistake of treating protesting Punjabi farmers like criminals after they reached Haryana. Water cannons and tear gasoline shells have been used to maintain them from getting previous a wall of barbed wire behind which stood a small military of policemen. Once I requested a buddy, who’s a BJP supporter, why this had occurred, he stated, “Initially, overconfidence. Then, flawed evaluation. Believing that agitation is manufactured. And mishandling.” If I wanted affirmation that Modi not has his ear to the bottom, this was it. He’s now so remoted from ‘the folks’ that he can not really feel their ache, their anger or their disgust with these of his insurance policies that they suppose trigger them hurt.
His communication with strange Indians is thru a rambling monologue as soon as a month that normally ignores the difficulty of the second. He will get no suggestions from the media as a result of solely those that fall into the ‘godi’ class have entry to him. There’s not one individual in his Cupboard who would dare oppose something he says or does. And, on this 12 months of the Chinese language virus he has not been in a position to transfer out a lot. His deep isolation isn’t just dangerous for democracy it’s dangerous for him personally, as a result of it has given him a false sense of invincibility. The farmers who’ve braved chilly nights within the open and endured deprivations of all types to make their voice heard ought to remind the Prime Minister that he’s not invincible. In a democracy, no political chief needs to be.
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