Thursday, 29 September, 2022
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Modi’s BJP has found a way to beat coronavirus—by creating a make-believe India

In a recent 9-minute video, the BJP painted a rosy picture of the Narendra Modi government’s six years in power. You wouldn’t know India was going through a crisis.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party has attained Jupiter’s escape velocity that Rahul Gandhi once recommended to the Dalits for success. It does not have to live in the gravitational reality—that is the frightening spectre of a life and livelihood crisis in India.

Watch the 9:01-minute video clip that the BJP released on Saturday to celebrate Narendra Modi government’s sixth anniversary. You will think there is no coronavirus or any public health or economic crisis in India. The pictures of shining highways bustling with cars and swanky Metro criss-crossing a sparkling city take you into a different world. There are no migrants, no women delivering on the highways nor any emaciated children trudging with blistered feet. There are only happy faces all around — 70 lakh youngsters employed under Skill India programme, 24 crore MUDRA Yojana beneficiaries who are now self-employed, and those who are giving employment to others, and so on.

Who cares about the doomsayers sounding alarms about job losses and floundering businesses? They are anachronistic voices that are irrelevant in Modi’s India.

Also read: Why the Modi government gets away with lies, and how the opposition could change that

In denial

Watch the entire clip — all 9:01 minutes of it. You will feel you are a character in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, travelling between the past and the future—everywhere, except today’s India. You will have escaped the coronavirus, the present.

The video clip, titled ‘Modi Sarkar ke 6 saal…bemisal’ or ‘Modi government’s matchless 6 years’, offers only a glimpse of the BJP’s make-believe world.

In this world, once the Prime Minister declares a Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package, people must believe in it and not whine about the official details not adding up or only constituting a small fraction. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman wouldn’t field questions about these details in her tedious press conferences, with her deputy, Anurag Thakur, only inducing more somnolence with Hindi translations, obviously with an eye on voters in the Hindi heartland.

You must believe that the Railways bore 85 per cent of the migrant workers’ travel costs, even if they themselves or the states paid for the tickets. If you looked up the Twitter timeline of railways minister Piyush Goyal for a statement of facts, you learnt more about the chartered accountants of India. He accused opposition-ruled West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand of not permitting trains that the Centre wanted to run for migrant workers. The chief ministers of these states vehemently rebutted it. Goyal wouldn’t bother to back his allegations with facts.

Union home minister and former BJP president Amit Shah, who once saw the exodus of migrants from cities as a violation of the lockdown and instructed states to prevent it, has had a change of heart. Last week, he instructed the BJP to organise camps on highways and along railway tracks to distribute chappals, soap, food and water to migrant workers. The home-bound travellers would probably prefer sports shoes for their walk home, but the BJP must have concluded that chappals are more convenient when the journey is so long. The soap can also come handy when they wish to take a shower during their long treks on the rail tracks and the roads.

Also read: Vande Bharat vs Bharat ke bande: Can Narendra Modi be losing his political touch so soon?

‘It could be worse’

Is it the same BJP that re-wrote the rules of Indian politics? It can’t be so disconnected. That’s why everyone is curiously watching the ruling party as the Modi-led government completes its sixth year in office on May 26 when he had taken oath in 2014. Is the BJP government losing touch with the ground reality or is its Shining India strategy a calculated gambit?

On the face of it, it would seem that Modi and Shah are losing the plot. How else would one explain them being in denial mode about the miseries of lakhs of migrants — the aspirational India that solidly backed Modi? Not that they were expecting an apology from the Prime Minister for their sufferings. How would one explain the government’s focus on packaging, perception management and opposition-hunting when the public health emergency and the economy in a tailspin require it to single-mindedly look for out-of-box ideas to avert a disaster?

Even when it takes bold and correct decisions such as the defanging of the agriculture produce marketing committees and instructing BJP-ruled states to reform labour laws, it seems to suffer from a crisis of conviction. Look at how Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has withdrawn the order to allow an increase in working hours from 8 to 12. How would potential investors trust such fickle-minded governments? PM Modi talks about land reforms but hasn’t amassed the courage to dust up the land acquisition bill. And, while Shah keenly observed Mamata Banerjee’s politically suicidal moves to paper over the Covid-19 crisis, he and Modi silently watched the situation getting out of hand in BJP-ruled Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

There are several other instances that show the Modi-Shah regime bungling at what it was known to be adept at—political messaging. Or is it so? They may have reasons to think they still control the narrative. After all, there is no opposition leader around to change it. Modi can’t say sorry to migrant workers or to anyone else. It would be an admission of mistake. And Modi, a strong and decisive leader and global saviour, can never commit one. It’s the same reason that the Prime Minister never admitted the blunder of demonetisation and faulty rollout of the goods and services tax. Narendra Modi, who became the Prime Minister due to the people’s saubhagya or good luck as the anniversary clip describes it, can do no wrong.

Modi addressed the nation to declare the nationwide lockdown and then its extension. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And lockdown was a tough decision that only a tough and decisive leader — Modi — could make. As the Covid-19 positive figures kept piling up and the visuals of the miseries of hapless migrants and the poor kept coming, the Prime Minister left it to the home ministry, run by his putative No. 2, Amit Shah, to declare the third lockdown. The home ministry left it to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to declare the fourth on Sunday.

As for India’s migrants, they will learn to forgive and forget. What options do they have? There is no opposition worth the name. As for the deaths and economic destructions in coming months, and possibly years, in the absence of a vaccine, there is always coronavirus to take the blame if the people become sceptical about Jawaharlal Nehru’s and Manmohan Singh’s role in them. After all, PM Modi did his best, locking down everything and everyone for so long, didn’t he? Even if the worst things happen, there is always an argument to defend Modi government: It could have been worse (than the worst).

Also read: Chappal, soap, ambulance — be prepared with these to help migrants, Amit Shah tells BJP

‘Everything’s gonna be alright’

The BJP’s anniversary video clip — released on the day election results were announced in 2014 — is another attempt to re-package and merchandise old dreams. Those feeling aggrieved may take solace in Rajasthan cadre IAS officer Sanjay Dixit’s explanation after the Prime Minister’s announcement of the stimulus package on 12 May:

“India’s population: 133 Cr. Package: 20 Lakh Cr. Try calculating. It’s exactly 15 lakh per person. 2014 promise made good. Mumkin hai na bhai. [sic]”

The only problem in the Modi-Shah model of the make-believe world is its temporariness. The coronavirus does not look like going away any time soon and the crowds of jobless people are likely to only swell by the day. To millions who may soon find themselves transposed to 1974 when Manoj Kumar was burning his university degree in the film Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan, PM Modi would probably like to play this vintage song: Everything’s gonna be alright/ And nobody’s gotta worry ‘bout nothing/ Don’t go hitting that panic button/ It ain’t near as bad as you think….

But, aside, I think Bebe Rexha captures it better for him in her 2018 hit, I’m a Mess:

Oh, he don’t love me, he don’t love me…But that’s okay/’Cause I love me, yeah, I love me…Yeah, I love myself anyway/ Everything’s gonna be alright/ Everything’ gonna be okay.

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  1. It is a farce. All the past 6 years have been a misery & trauma for the poor, farmers & the middle class. Only his rich buddies (Gujaratis) have benefitted the most. This government is busy making money from day one. They have misused our money, the taxes that we pay. Whirlwind tours, expensive election campaigns, trading MLAs & MPs. Built a statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
    Farmers did not get what they had been promised. Economy is in a mess. No jobs.
    The pensioners will not be paid 3 DA instalments. Only from next year they will get & not retrospectively. All are frauds. The Rafale too is a big scam. Wastage of money on Bullet Train, redoing the Central Vista. Our migrants are walking back to their hometowns, no food , no water.
    This govt lacks vision & empathy. Governance is nil.
    The sooner they are packed off, better it will be for our country.

    • Very well documented. If this doesn’t open the’ rational’ elite’s eyes, what will? To add to your much-justified rant, what do you make of the Hyperloop? id Did he not make quick work of blowing the trumpet again in announcing the laying down of a not indigenous futuristic concept? Only the loyal elite Hindu could be fooled in for that. It is a a far-fetched dream even for California where the idea was founded.

  2. The whole of BJP don’t care for anybody , as long as they are voted into power , the PM wasn’t even moved when do many poor migrants died on road and rail , he even charged these poor migrants rail and bus fares , he acted as if he had nothing to do with the crisis of poor migrants , as if these poor migrants weren’t citizens of India and it didn’t matter they lived or died , this is BJP’S biggest achievement in this Covid 19 time , this crisis is also PM’s doing due to his authotarian and egoist character , India is in great disaster due to BJP.

    • Ditto same thing happened three years ago when the disastrous demonitization exercise was carried out unplanned.

  3. one of the cause of decline of Congress party over the years has been— It sponsored and also relied on the type journalists who can see with one eye only. They see and write about shortcoming of Modi governments by visualizing the worst ever scenario where most of the things are just in pipe line. Whether Modi government will be successful in meeting Corona challenge or not . they pronounced its defeat to please their highest Queen. If ever congress party want to be in any reckoning , the party will have to get rid of this pseudo journalists.

    • Modi has been terrible, retarded, ridiculous, a vain man of perceptions, brand & images. A total mirage. He has no education, no awareness & no qualification to hold the offices of the PM, his inexperience & ignorance is blatantly visible in the terrible shape that India’s poor & working class find themselves in, 20 years into the 21st century when starvation is the new reality.

    • And they arrived at the figure – 20 lakh crore if distributed among 133 crore ppl is just 15 lakhs.. 🤣
      Please you can do better to please Modi haters..🙄🤣

  4. If anybody is living in their make and believe world, it’s the Modi haters like this author and the librandus. Modi rule has rendered all librandus as useless humans. They don;t see any future themselves and their folks. Their India giving plenty of corruption opportunities in the Congress rule has suddenly gone out of their reach. They have become beggar but Modi is not willing to give them even alms. A day is not far when we’ll start hearing suicide from this miserable lot.

  5. You cant expect anything better in a congress mouthpiece called The Print. These sick people want more migrants to die, India to come out on streets, Corona to expand and all our infrastructure under duress so that they can further their business of blaming Modi. Maharashtra a congress ruled state is leading corona infected state at no one but the author who is dripping with malice and ill will towards Modi , shah and BJP in general fails even to name that state anywhere. So pathetic. If The Print team has a solution for corona why doesnt it come forward and control the same in Delhi where too the numbers are rising. India is lucky to have Modi at the helm at thia juncture. Had the corrupt and communal congress been ruling there would have been huge financial scams siphoning off the money meant for poor people. And the very same journo and his boss would have then kept quite. The rela problem is without congress at the centre these doormats are bleeding like anything. The gravy train has screeched to halt. The easy access to North and South block is only a dream. Ministry formation is not know to these media thugs. I am hearing that Modi is losing the plot…since ages. And when elections take place all these congress controlled media and congress lose the plot. They have tried every trick in the book to manufacture events so as to blame Modi. Now they want to feast on those dead from corona and the migrants who the congress states have not ben able to control. Why did Uddhav govt allow migrants to walk on railway tracks where 15 poor migrants were run over by train. This news is supposed to be completely swept under the carpet. For migrants all over India only Modi is responsible. Does the writer even understand that without the Jandhan account which Modi regime opened in its first term the DBT would not have been possible. The writers bosses in the congress ruled country for 60 years. Why couldnt they open the accounts. There were 3 crore fraud ration cards which were exposed during Modi’s first term. Where did the money for these ghost ration card holders go. The government has saved more than a lakh crore due to these measures. Everyday 2 articles abusing Modi, blaming him for all the happenings expose the intelligence and bias of those at The Print. Cant expect anything better. Shame.

  6. Such pessimistic PPL u r or rather it’s ur frustration of bjp in control of things. Get out of ur AC rooms see how administration has worked to solve the problem of migrants on road. It’s tough times but it was Modi govt only which could have handled such a crisis and I am very sure that India will come out strong from it inspite of the negative PPL like u who always wants india to go down so that it serves ur personal purpose.

  7. Did anyone else notice the miscalculation in the numbers in the sentence about “exactly 15 lakh per person”?
    R20 lakh crore distributed among 133 crore people would amount to R15,000 per person and not 15-lakh.

  8. ‘Can see through your designs’ – I only wish they could. This article would never be written if they could. Because, the 60% literate could then have seen through Modi’s ‘designs’ in 2014, long before the elections happened. Oh! I forgot. They were not literate back in 2014, as you suggest. Cool! First, tell them in 2014 that you are not literate, then make promises they would never understand the scale of, then tell them you have now been made literate, and then tell them you have done a good job in electing me, now go about condemning every so-called anti-nationalist.
    Do you even realize your statement about literacy is the deepest irony that aptly summarizes the state of India today?
    Or you define education as something that justifies burning candles for no purpose? Well, they did have a strong purpose though – belittling and mocking the Western nations who were dodging with the virus right in the middle of the tempest. A cruel Whatsapp message made rounds soon after the much photographed fireworks show culminated in a heavenly feeling of triumph and even redressal on the virus, and the message read: “India glitters as the world quivers”. Ok, I get it now. This is the literacy you were referring to.
    Denial is indeed the perfect escape from reality and criticism. “Where is the problem? We are a thriving economy” is really the slogan that defines
    Modistan. Celebration at every juncture, no matter how irrelevant, PR, Photo-ops galore, packaging and dressing. All these are the norm that the citizens of Modistan can’t imagine life without – their Messiah is deserving of all that, or simply put they are an essential ingredient of a successful enterprise (err, country).
    True, it could have been worse (than the worst).

  9. Kalug at its prime…..i have started questioning my hindu belief under modi….this was not the INDIA i had imagined under modi and now i wish there could be religion free india…..enough of the modi gundaa raj…..people are dying on the streets….no stimilus package to the migrants…..everyday i cry inside….when will we be free of this gunda raj under modi….god doesnt know bcoz there is no god…..modi has turned me into aethist……

    • Hello Mayank Khanna, Welcome on board the hamari-bhul-kamal-ki-phul ship. Glad to know you see the truth now. time to do something about your convictions….

    • If you have become atheist , good for you and good for Modi as well. However, you don’t seem to understand Modi at all.

  10. Poor reporting.Lacks analysis and examination.writer is an arts student and is good at writing essays having uni directional theme. Please improve ur writups.Do carry out research before writing Follow old adage think before u speak

    • Yes of course, blame the messenger. The PM on the other hand is an Oxford educated economist. Oh wait, never mind.

  11. The author actually is living in a make-believe world. He somehow wants me to believe that the migrant issue, poverty, women delivering on the road, people dying on the street has started happening in the last 6 years. In fact, you can find answers in his questions. Had All successive governments (and no guesses for who was in power for most of these years) tackled and alleviated each of these issues, we will be seeing less of these issues that the author is accusing BJP of. Arguably, and had it not been banking inclusion, digitalization push, we could have suffered a lot more but of course, that is an inconvenient truth. As some one recently wrote in a poem – “Rudali ka kaam hein rona”. So expecting “The Print” to do anything less will be a make-believe world. 😀

  12. “After all, there is no opposition leader around to change it” – such statements are called self-fulfilling prophecies.
    Let us remember: “you can fool all the people some of the time, or some of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time”
    Make believe will not work any more. If by a divine miracle Modi manages to deliver in the remaining time of his second term, he may still salvage something. Else, it will be a rout – the bjp-brigade beating the retreat from the central vista!

  13. Dont get upset print friend.
    I know modi doesnt offer freebies to press poeople like you.

    My suggestion to you is DON’T GET DEPRESSED.

    • Well said!
      Whatever does for the country, negative comments will be there.
      Modi is a leader with 100% positive in a country with same percentage of negative mind.
      Media should take responsibility for solutions to the issue.

  14. Dear Shekhar Gupta Ji,

    As editor, please review the work your authors before posting them on your website.

    This article is full of hyperbole and even fake math calculations.

    It quotes the tweet from an IAS office as if it is accurate. It is not. “Those feeling aggrieved may take solace in Rajasthan cadre IAS officer Sanjay Dixit’s explanation after the Prime Minister’s announcement of the stimulus package on 12 May: “India’s population: 133 Cr. Package: 20 Lakh Cr. Try calculating. It’s exactly 15 lakh per person. 2014 promise made good. Mumkin hai na bhai. [sic]””

    Please calculate: 20,000,000,000,000/1300000000=15384.61

    I am sure you would appreciate that there is a difference between thousand and lakh. Such bloopers contribute to the popular perception that those who fail Math or do poorly in their education end up as journalists (after failing to get admission into engineering, medicine, etc.). It also hurts your reputation.

    Take care. Stay safe. Thanks.

      • Huh? Haha.. the commenter ‘Ganit’ does not even realize that the author merely quoted the IAS officer which indicates he is ridiculing the officer, and not endorsing what he said. Well, when there are such impaired people in India, it is no surprise that Modi gets away with everything – lies, money, lives and more.

    • Ganit: You are the embodiment of Mathematics , the descendant of Aryabhatta. Please do a favor. When you receive 15 L, do transfer my share of 15L to me. Or better, give it to me now. You are anyway going to receive your share soon.

    • It has been my observation that a majority of this website’s opinion writers have poor logic, reasoning and critical thinking skills.
      This piece is a good example. I agree with your inference that these writers are drawn from the section of folks with an academic record so weak, they could not get into the hard sciences and build strong logical reasoning skills.
      Fail basic arithmetic! No hope for higher order thinking. Boo hoo.
      Left to write gibberish articles like this one. 👎🏾

    • The irony of the IAS officer’s comment is completely lost on you. Modi had a false promise of returning cash stashed abroad in tax havens that he claimed would amount to Rs. 15L per citizen. Now that he failed to achieve that, the govt has come forth with a stimulus package amounting to Rs. 15K per citizen, which will cause deficits & debts to expand massively, the exchequer will be left holding the massive liability. Not only has Modi failed to bring back cash stashed abroad, he’s now having the whole nation go into debt to be able to get to a spending stimulus of Rs. 15K per head. To make light of this fact the IAS officer was sarcastically & ironically pointing to Modi’s now “Mission Accomplished”, with a few zeroes missing. Come on dudes!!!

  15. This article states it as it is on ground. I wonder how these two stalwarts managed to mess it up so badly. They could have just run a few buses to clear up the migrants and others stuck at the wrong end and avoided so much of suffering and pain.
    After all it is human to err. But a sensible person senses his mistakes and makes amends. Modi and Shah need to wake up.

  16. You need to watch the above linked video clip at 0:40 to 0:42…. This two seconds part of the clip will tell you all about the purpose of the video.

  17. I couldn’t believe how India has changed in these 6 years. Poverty is abolished. We are Vishwaguru now. Cows/moms and girls are safe and venerated. Crime is low and there is employment for all.

    Not that it matters. We are job givers and wealth generators now. India is clean and milk and honey is flowing in the sewers.

    Public Health is superb and we are in the fore front of scientific research on Modi waves, gaumutra, cow dung and plastic surgery. There is a lot of environmental awareness with gaurakshaks roaming around in the country side.

    Lord Ram has a magnificent home and Muslims have been tamed, Kashmir is integrated and Pakistan has been taught a lesson. India stares squarely back at China now with confidence.

    Democratic feudalism is gone and corruption banished. India is on its way to become a vibrant, intellectual, peaceful, blissful paradise on Earth, the envy of the world, a place where the Lord himself would love to call home.

    All this thanks to one man, the chosen one, the fakir, the ascetic politician, the apostle, who generations of Indians will find hard to believe such a leader walked this Earth and led this country to glory! 😁

    • Lord Modi already calls it home – where he seldom lives. The following generations will believe, they have to. Did you forget Lord Ram? Don’t we all believe he walked the planet, albeit he had the visa to Lanka only, despite Lord Hanuman’s free flight. I wonder why he did not travel other corners of the planet. Ok, how about Christ? The most recent Messiah. Should someone ask, I have all supporting evidence for everything you mention, thanks to the Modi PR, IT and Media powerhouse.

  18. To listen to Singh, it would appear as if it is Apocalypse time in India, and tomorrow may never be for us citizens. Forget the fact that India is one of the very few countries, which weathered the crises well, with lower rate of infection and very few deaths. Forget that this is being implemented in the world’s most populous country with 1.35 billion people. And ignore the fact that containment and not heard immunity was the method chosen to fight the infection, to keep the deaths low. ( Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai).
    D.K.Singh belongs to the band of journalists, who cannot abide by Modi. His articles reflect this bias, by its tone and tenor. He would feel very much home, breathing the rotting stink of corruption from a Congress dispensation, than the clean life giving breeze of a honest government. To each according to his desires.

    • Abide by modi? I am puzzled… Is this due to your lack proficiency in English or you really feel journalists should abide by Modi

    • Don’t trust the numbers. The actual numbers could well be three to fivefold the reported ones. I can’t help chuckle at your ‘tone and tenor’ phrase. Which criticism carries a mild tone? Are you suggesting that it is only your Prophet Modi who is entitled to a disruptive tone bashing up 800 year old invaders every now and then?

  19. I can see frustration of people from thePrint and likes. You were able to shape opinion, sell any story or manipulate public opinion in Congress and other governments but now things are different.
    You had no regrets that In last 70 years Ram mandir, kashmir, triple talaq etc were not solved. Country was insecure, there were weekly blasts, people were dying. Unworthy dynasties were ruling.
    But now country is more than 60 percent literate and can see through your designs.
    It’s payback time for chamchas.

  20. He is not simply just Modi, he is “God”. There are only 2 rules about such a person.
    Rule 1. God cannot be wrong.
    Rule 2. Even if you think he is wrong, so what, he is God therefore apply rule 1.

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