New Delhi: The 21-day lockdown has sparked an exodus of migrant workers, all of them heading home on foot. For former BJP minister Uma Bharti, however, they are not “the real poor”.
Unable to address public gatherings, the firebrand fromer Jhansi MP took to Twitter to dish out a lesson on who are the people she really considered ‘poor’.
कोरोना कि इस विभीषिका से विश्व का ख़ास करके भारत का वो वर्ग सबसे ज़्यादा प्रभावित हुआ है जिन्हें हम ग़रीब कहते हैं। वह मेहनतकश लोग हैं। प्रतिदिन की कमाई पर उनका जीवन एवं परिवार चलता है।
— Uma Bharti (@umasribharti) March 31, 2020
The real poor, according to Bharti, are the rich who have all the money but can’t enjoy their food due to lifestyle diseases such as heart ailments and high cholesterol.
“Poor is someone who despite being rich is not able to eat anything due to certain diseases such as sugar, heart ailments and high cholesterol,” she tweeted early Tuesday.
And she was only getting started.
In a series of tweets, Bharti’s list of poor went on to include corrupt politicians, civil servants and those who accept dowry.
So, what about the migrant workers and daily wagers?
“They (migrant workers) are hardworking people and what they earn every day supports them and their family,” she posted.
Bharti also seemed to have taken a leaf on this nomenclature politics from her party’s Numero Uno, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
Referring to Modi, who had coined the term ‘divyang’ for the differently abled, she tweeted, “This (divyang) is the correct usage as despite not having one part of their body they work with power of divinity. Hence divyang was the correct usage.”
In her long Twitter thread in Hindi, Bharti then went on to explain why the word ‘poor’ is problematic.
She said newspapers and TV channels are highlighting those who arranged food for the poor. But, according to her, those being fed are not poor.
Unsparing in her attack on the “real poor”, Bharti took a dig at politicians and civil servants. “Poor are those politicians who have entered politics to do corruption. They are those who are not able to satiate their hunger despite getting crores,” she posted. “Poor are those civil servants who despite a hefty salary take bribes and still remain hungry.”
She also added men who demand dowry to the list of poor. “Gareeb hain wo padhe likhe jo dahej lete hai aur padhi likhi wo ladkiya jo dahej lene deti hai. Mai toh kuch vargo ki ginti kar rahi hu anyatha yeh toh asimit varg hai jo desh ke vikas ko kha gaye phir bhi inki bhookh nahi miti,” she tweeted.
Migrants should be termed mehnatkash
According to Bharti, homeless migrants should be referred to as mehnatkash (hardworking people).
“The people who were stopped at the state borders while they were on their way to their homes are the real power of the country. They are the ones who constructed our roads, electricity, houses, the entire world has been made by them,” she tweeted. “Rather than calling them poor can we call them hardworking people (mehnatkash)? Because their hardwork is the strength of the world.”
She also warned people against getting arrogant about being able to provide food to the hardworking people of India. “In reality those who are eating that food being served are like God and the strong people. And those who are feeding the hardworking people are the ones who are dependent on them to lead their life. Hence, who is poor and who is a king is an issue to be understood,” she added.
Ending her thread, Bharti, who had decided not to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and has been missing in political action, hailed the hardworking people and PM Modi for worrying about those working hard.