Thursday, 26 May, 2022
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Poll rallies to Kumbh Mela — Modi-Shah’s conscience must take a look at latest Covid surge

There is a reason Modi forgets his Mann ki Baat on Covid safety at rallies and Kumbh Mela — it’s poll over people.

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The alarming surge in Covid-19 cases in India can be blamed largely on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, and their reckless messaging through overcrowded, unmasked election rallies as well as the Kumbh Mela.

With the two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders addressing ‘massive’ rallies and roadshows without masks, an illusion of normality was created. A message was sent to the masses that Covid is a nightmare of the past. The virus loves crowds, as the saying goes, but it particularly adores crowds that don’t bother with masks or physical distancing. And the crowds at mega rallies in Assam or West Bengal suggest that both masks and distancing have become unfashionable.

Of course, all political rallies — whether addressed by Modi, Shah, other BJP leaders or by their opposition like Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi — are problematic. And politicians across party lines need to share the blame.

It is rather facile for a prime minister like Modi with unparalleled popularity and devotion across the country to address people on his monthly radio talk show Mann Ki Baat and pontificate about ‘mask zaroori‘. But contrast this with Modi addressing thousands of people crammed into rally tents, sitting close to each other, so many without masks and say “amazing atmosphere” and not utter a word about Covid-safe behaviour.

As the two most powerful political figures in the country, and at the helm of affairs of the central government, a sizeable onus of leading by example falls on Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. But by encouraging huge rallies with zero messaging on Covid safety, or by allowing the Kumbh Mela, Modi and Shah have shown that nothing is more important to them than their politics and electoral gains, not even a public health emergency or the safety of a billion-plus people they claim to represent.

This is particularly jarring because PM Modi is all about messaging, and knows the impact his words and actions can have. To then give a tacit approval to allow Covid protocol to be breached at a time when India is consistently recording more than one lakh cases a day is callous and unforgivable.

Also read: Teflon Modi does not have one Achilles heel, but two

The sheer recklessness

This is not business-as-usual. Certainly not when the active Covid cases in India are now close to 13 lakh — the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. In such a grim scenario, routine politics should take a back seat.

Sure, elections have to be held on time. But when they are being conducted in the middle of a life-threatening pandemic, there is absolutely no justification for crowded rallies and massive roadshows. And yet, despite the Election Commission’s rap on the knuckles, as mild as it may have been, no politician seems keen on allowing their responsible streak to take over by doing away with mega shows of strength.

Consider this. Modi tweeted on Monday boasting of “speaking at a massive rally in Bardhaman”. In the rally footage, a handful of people can be seen wearing masks.

Before that was the “huge rally in Krishnanagar”, and many others.

When Modi does, can Amit Shah be far behind? Who would look at these pictures and say there is a debilitating virus wreaking havoc, one that thrives on mask-less preys who gather in large numbers?

The home minister of the country ought to know better.

So, the lives of millions of Indians are being put at risk only because the country’s political leadership cannot look beyond winning elections. My Kolkata-based colleague Madhuparna Das has noted how West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was diligent about wearing masks during rallies in the beginning of the campaign, but even she has now thrown all caution to the winds. Modi too, she says, would encourage people to wear masks in earlier speeches, but seems so engrossed in trolling Mamata Banerjee with his ‘didi-o-didi‘ that messaging on Covid protocol has taken a back seat.

Not that the Congress is far behind. The party will launch Rahul Gandhi into the West Bengal election campaign with rallies beginning Wednesday. I quote from this news report by my colleague Neelam Pandey — Asked about the situation, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya said, “I would request you to speak to Home Minister Amit Shah, PM Modi and CM Mamata Banerjee. Can you show me one picture of [Shah] and Banerjee wearing a mask? They are the ones who are supposed to ensure norms are followed in the state and they are the ones flouting it.”

Clearly, the elected ones do not care about the interests of those who elect them. Any political leader or party that brazenly presides over mammoth rallies should  be ashamed. And in this outrageous game, Prime Minister Modi, along with his lieutenant Amit Shah, is leading the way.

Also read: Modi, Shah, Mamata or Rahul, no one cares about EC Covid warning & rallies continue as usual

Modi’s power of messaging

Modi takes great pride in the power of his messaging. He has wonderfully developed the craft of making large sections of voters believe in him, listen to him and do as he advises them. So, when Modi says demonetisation is a good thing despite all the discomfort, his voters believe him. When Modi asks people to clang utensils or light diyas to beat the gloom of coronavirus, people unquestioningly follow suit.

Modi has built his cult on his ability to communicate effectively to the people. It’s his strong pitch around welfare-ism and nationalism (read Balakot et al) that has given the BJP the sharp electoral fillip in the recent years.

For him to send out such an unforgivably wrong message through his political rallies and roadshows at this time of a massive health crisis is dangerous and comes with far-reaching consequences.

It isn’t about whether the poll-bound states are witnessing a huge surge in cases. That argument is flawed fundamentally. Although, West Bengal does seem to have recorded a massive surge in the poll season —  a nearly fourfold increase in the number of cases from 1 April (1,274) to 13 April (4,511).

It is about the message that goes to the people. When the prime minister and the home minister look so much at ease addressing a crowd of thousands, then their followers across the country begin to think there is nothing to worry about. Holding crucial meetings on the side and asking chief ministers and officials to get people to follow Covid protocol is meaningless when you are doing precious little to send that message out to the masses through your own actions.

When I travelled to Assam to cover the assembly election, I was taken aback by the complete absence of mask discipline and the confidence with which people felt Covid was over. My confusion, however, was sorted soon enough when the state’s health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma declared that there was no Covid and, hence, no need to mask up. Of course, that was the message trickling down.

Now think of the influence Modi commands and what a message from him could lead to. The images from the Kumbh Mela are frightening. Surely, when millions are at risk as a raging virus strikes us with vengeance, a dip in the holy Ganga can wait. But no, it would hardly suit the BJP’s over-simplified but glorified version of Hindutva politics to knock sense into people and stop this madness.

Modi and Amit Shah have come a long way in their political journeys — from ruling Gujarat to ruling India like perhaps nobody ever has. Not even Indira Gandhi. They may have more glorious years ahead of them, and voters may continue to endorse them, but they should always carry on their conscience the burden of allowing this crazy virus to run its writ, just so their politics wouldn’t suffer.

Views are personal.

(Edited by Prashant Dixit)

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  1. When politicians know that the populace is largely ignorant, especially in the great black hole that is BIMARU, it is even more incumbent upon said politicians to lead by example. Alas, that is something that India’s political class seldom does. And certainly not the Modi government. For, to the Modi led BJP, an “opposition mukth” Akand Bharath is the only target and the primary task of the government – the lives of the governed be damned. And COVID has perversely been a godsend for the BJP and MoShah will exploit it to the hilt for personal aggrandizement.

    As the British politician Baron Acton (1834-1902) said:

    “Remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that”

    That statement surely applies to the Modi – Shah combine. And in any case, when the populace itself wants to cremate democracy, why blame MoShah for stoking the embers ?

  2. India was a developing nation and will always be until the ignorance of people dies within..if a politician or celebrity is affected by covid,they will be treated with all the best resources possible..but will u be treated the same? Just think..don’t act’s a matter of many lives including ur family.. y r u all so eager to jump into crowds and enjoy.. if u do that now the same crowd will not lift ur body wen u die of covid.. any ways we will vote with hands not brains.. then y do u support and trust the govt so easily..
    Here doctors families and doctors and dying in the process of saving u even with the minimal resources govt gave..and ur burdening them like anything with ur mere stupidity

  3. The PM & HM both are capable of handling any situation. Aur toh aur the people have full confidence that these two will save them in any situation, So what if Corona comes when they have 2 super heroes beside us.
    Happy kumbh and happy campaigning for all.
    Long live India and congrats all for fighting to become no. 1 in Covid spreading

  4. There will be another chance of winning Bengal. But the Prime Minister and Home Minister are loosing respect.

  5. covid case are highest in Chattishgargh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi etc. you do NOT obviously care for these states as they are ruled by congress. so many poll rallies are held by so many leaders, you do NOT care about them all. because your goal is NOT proper journalism, but doing biased journalism to help the dynasty.

    • Mr Nag Balkur: I do not fathom why you would regard journalism critical of these powerful Gujarathi men as being biased journalism to help the dynasty. Forgetting in the process that the Amit Shah dynasty has flourished and become rich manyfold thanks to his links to Modi. After all Jay Shah, son of Amit Shah has now become Secretary of the BCCI and the value of his firm has shot up manyfold hasn’t it ? The BJP is no less corrupt in fact equally if not far more corrupt than rival political parties.

      Mind boggling that you would view this disease in terms of political party affiliations and would jump to defend 2 of the most cynical politicians ever to have been in Indian politics.

  6. Unfortunately, EC is conducting the elections in 8 phases and giving an opportunity to PM, HM and other central ministers to spend much of their time in WB when second wave Covid19 is on the rise and vaccines are in short supply. Gone were the days of BJP which once stood for values and principles. Now the party is interested in power only and not people’s security. The Kumbh Mela will give rise to many more positive cases as it’s not possible for the devotees to wear masks and maintain social distance.

    • ‘Gone were the days of BJP which once stood for values and principles. ‘

      Ahem. When did they have values and principles ? They rose to power only due to two massive riots against Muslims (1) Ayodhya led by Advani and (2) Gujarat led by Modi. Mob violence and murder are their principles.

      Advani claimed it was a party with a difference. It was – in its capacity for violence and thuggery. Of course you did not notice because you thought it only affected Muslims.

      But as Vinod Dua noted ‘they have tasted the blood of Muslims, it will not be long before they want the blood of Hindus’. That time has come. You ain’t seen nothin yet.

      Still if you are cured of your delusions about the BJP standing for values and principles, that is progress.

    • Mr Varada Rajulu Anumakonda: Unfathomable that educated people like you would write such nonsense as:

      “Gone were the days of BJP which once stood for values and principles.”

      You cannot be completely in the dark about BJP’s pedigree and the Nazi ideology of hate and ethnic cleanisng that lies at the core of the party can you Sir? The BJP’s ideological fount is the RSS, a North Indian, upper caste outfit that never participated in the freedom movement, never raised the national flag until recently and regards everyone else but Hindus as outsiders in India. Indeed, Golwalkar, one of the earliest Führers of the RSS and ostensibly PM Modi’s mentor writes in his book “We Or Our Nationhood Defined”:

      “.. To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of Semitic races – the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by .. ”

      And then Golwalkar goes on to say:

      “Hindus don’t waste your energy fighting the British. Save your internal enemies that are the Muslims, Christians and the Communists”

      It is a fact that Golwalkar’s hatred of Muslims still lies at the core of the BJP. And virtually every major BJP leader has burnished his credentials at the altar of Muslim hatred and often violence. Frequent commenter Mr Akash mentions the pogrom that then CM Modi initiated against Muslims and Advani’s “rath yatra” that culminated in the destruction of the Babri Masjid. To that list I will also add the so called poet PM Atal Bihari Jajpayee. Vajpayee may have been a poet but he did not shed any tears when innocent Muslims were killed.

      Indeed, AB Vajpayee’s provocative speech in 1983 in Nellie in Assam led to the slaughter of some 3000 Muslims in the ensuing massacres. Vajpayee had said:

      “.. “Foreigners have come here and the government does nothing. What if they had come into Punjab instead? People would have chopped them into pieces and thrown them away ..”

      Indeed, people were chopped and thrown away in Assam. Vajpayee was never held to account for his role in those terrible massacres.

      And then after the Godhra pogroms orchestrated by his comrade-in-arms CM Modi, then PM Vajpayee defended pogromwala Modi by stating:

      “.. we should not forget how the tragedy of Gujarat started. The subsequent developments were no doubt condemnable but who lit the fire? How did the fire spread? .. ” (ref:

      If the “values” of a BJP “moderate” like Vajpayee still entail the rationalisation of violence against minorities, imagine the “values” of hardliners and acknowledged, proud Muslim haters like Adityanath, Modi & Shah. Indeed, Shah is on record for having said that Muslims are termites to be thrown into the Bay of Bengal. Some values Mr Varada Rajulu Anumakonda.

      Adolf Hitler once said:

      ““What luck for rulers that men do not think.”

      Your comment seems to prove him right Mr Varada Rajulu Anumakonda.

  7. The darbari writer forgot to mention farm protests and delhi and punjab rapid corona numbers where elections r not happening.

  8. Where is Arnab Goswani ? Can he now accept if Delhi Tablit is Anti National Last Year what he is going to tell abt Modi this time…. Even worse..

  9. The first line itself gives away the bias. The second wave originated from MH where there were no election rallies. I expect better articles from ThePrint being a paid member. Pieces like these actually makes me question if the journalist is not even pretending to be unbiased.

  10. 2 useless bugs. Discussing for the poll results. And good for nothing. Just screwed middle class people life for the hell. Why did you give the permission for the kum mella.
    Again raise of the covide case.

  11. The author is spewing venom when it comes to sensationalise BJP leaders especially the Prime minister. Talk about Rahul or mamata, then only fleeting glances about them.
    It just goes onto show the people who were in the payrolls of the Congress party whether directly or indirectly.
    Just wish that the country has a LOCKDOWN on entire media in our country atleast for a month.
    Maybe we’ll start thinking straight without any bias.

    • How come you could not catch what she is saying. Your ears open only when Arnab talks ABT?… You people pushed India to such a Pathetic situation which even Bangladeshi People are laughing about….now go hide yourself from Modi’s Viruses let the Poor die again..

  12. Who will tell BJP and others that bengal and aasam people are not God’s. They can also get affected by covid and with no travel restrictions anyone can go anywhere and spread and it is happening. Very sad to see PM and Amit shah other BJP leaders cannot see this, every rally just behind didi, didi. Did they speak on covid in a single rally Or road show. It’s shows BJP obviously wants power, no care for people. Shame on our political system.

  13. All the bhakts are in a rage – with the media – as India slides into Covid anarchy. Modi and Shah are not culpable at all. What is the solution ? Block out the news ? Like CAA-NRC, farmers, Kashmir.

    The blame game has started. In the first wave, the BJP supporting media and its bhakths neatly pinned the blame on Muslims, and they felt triumphant; it was an opportunity not to be missed. The BJP media were foaming with rage about ‘corona jihad’. Arnob Goswami asked how dare they come to MY country and spread corona. In the second wave, the BJP’s media does not know what to say. But the bhakths here say it is not Modi, it is not Shah, nor rallies, nor Kumbh – now they say it is the ‘Luytens media’ who did not guide the public, and the dumb public that is responsible for the spike !

    A BJP minister said the Kumbh cannot be compared with the Markaz because this was a congregation of ‘our own people’. The message is Hindus are immune to the virus and cannot be spreaders. Ultimately, the duo leading the country created this messaging and logic in their followers – as the author points out.

    Let us admit the reality : the BJP is a party of incompetent and unscientific minds, full of a mythical ‘Hindu nationalism’, whose main passion is power through ruthless violence. They do not care for cost to the nation. Yes, we may have no alternative, but recognise the reality, then alternatives will be born. They have a majority and there is no opposition, yet their rule has been chaotic and the economy and healthcare have been sunk. They could have done better if the economy, healthcare and education were priorities instead of settling scores from medieval times, or blaming Nehru and secularism.

    Many countries have had second waves, but they coped better as they learnt from the first. Here, they did not learn anything from the first wave, and got into an act of showing off vaccine nationalism and boasting. We are saving the world from Covid but heading to be the leading country for Covid.

  14. The comments above prove the cult figure Modi has created. Blindly followed by the elite and the poor, educated and uneducated. I hope the seeds of hatred which are growing into tall sequoias will eventually run into a big drought season and fall to their nemesis.

  15. In a sane world these elections should have been put off. I do not know who decides when elections are held. If it is the ruling party, yes MODI-SHAH are to blame. If it is ELECTION COMMISSION, then blaming Modi-Shah for rallies is a moot point. One needs to take the right stance, not biased one based on a personal ideology.

  16. Have you compared the number of daily cases from poll bound states and kumbh mela states with other states? Which of these states rank as top 5 states? The poll bound states? Or other states? What does the data say?

  17. Two of the biggest hypocrites. But this is a land of fools which is why the British ruled over us for 200 years…

  18. You think they both care about masks and social distancing,,,,both power hungry leaders could not care a dime ,,even if the country goes to the dumps

  19. I don’t know why people want to die because of ignorance and bcoz of supporting ignorancy. Warning was given 3 years back. But people don’t like advice. They like gold. But all that glitters is not gold.

  20. Nothing succeeds like success. So what if there is Corona or not. By the way it is the responsibility of Election Commission to lay down guidelines. If Election Commission has not laid down rules so what are everyone cribbing about. If the populace is not concerned about their well being no one can do anything about it. If the situation is as bad asThe Print is making it out to be then why is the populace not aware about it.
    Arrangements to cater for the congregation of more than a crore of people requires planning way beyond the realms of thoughts of the writer of this article. Anyway it’s a matter of faith and the faithful believe in their salvation at the Kumbh why should it be denied to them.
    Apart from these two the writer doesn’t know what is happening around the Nation. All the cases are way away from these points of interest evoked by the writer. Care explain what went wrong in rest of the Nation.
    So reset your thoughts and inputs and bring out the ineptitude of the Populace of the Nation.

  21. To save and serve democracy, a few thousand dying and lakhs getting sick with Corona is of little consequence . Who remembers those, today who sacrificed their lives for freedom of the country.

  22. I think in this case the writer is correct in calling out the two most powerful person for showing their indescrition precisely because they and their message matter the most. Other political heads are less relevant to the people. I don’t see a bias here. I see opinion and it’s a fair one. I don’t think any other political issue is relevant in this scenario whether you agree or disagree with BJP, TMC or Cong. The BJP being in the position of supreme power needs to act more responsibly

  23. Colonel I guess the appeasing pensions have really got to you. blind deaf and DUMB.

    “ You can sway a 1000 men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

  24. Col vishwanahan I guess the appeasing pensions have really made you blind deaf and DUMB.

    “ You can sway a 1000 men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

  25. It’s power over people . It’s hypocrisy at it’s height. And whether in the ruling coalition or the opposition , none of them is different.

  26. Ruhi :The challenge is our politicians are allways busy in politics , no one cares for people in general .
    They are playing with people feelings .
    this has resulted in situation worst then last year .

  27. Governance is – most of the time – prosaic, unglamorous work. Making sure enough doses of vaccine are being manufactured, even if imported, ( one would have to be crazy to export at such a time ) if necessary. The logistics, including refrigeration, of moving them all over the country, including the interiors, where one reads very little about the vaccination drive. Settling the categories / demographic priorities of those to be covered. Seeing that the public and private hospitals are getting oxygen, medicines and other inputs. Ambulances. If this does not sound morbid, even the kabrastans and samshaan bhumis are equipped to deal with the increased numbers. 2. Then, of course, the substance of this fine column. Cancelling – no fudge – the revered Kumbh mela at Haridwar. Avoiding like the plague, large rallies and road shows. Here the ECI too has a role to play. 3. India is in a mess as far as the pandemic is concerned. The daily number of new cases is 1.8 lacs, edging remorselessly towards two lacs. More people dying. As so often happens, the true numbers are being hidden. Panic approval of foreign vaccines, which could have come at least three months earlier. Governance was on test and has been found wanting. For a crisis that is akin to war. 4. The lockdowns will hurt the much needed economic recovery. Migrants have taken trains home. One can not speak for domestic voters, but foreign governments, including those who wish to partner with a India in groupings like Quad, study these things very carefully. Size us up all the time.

  28. Fair enough. But who does one blame for the states with the highest number of cases where incidentally electioneering is not taking place.

    • Mr Vinod Agrawal: As Modi and Shah are the ones at the helm of affairs in the country, the onus on setting a proper example rests with them.

      When even Modi bhakths like you – ostensibly well educated – believe that the great Gujarathi Messiah is infallible, all-knowing and that this demigod must never be criticised, imagine the plight of the less educated Modi bhakth. He will blindly ape his cult leader and never question them. Of course, forgetting in the process that if Modi & Shah fall ill, they would have access to the best care that Western medicine can provide whilst the bhakth would have to resort to AYUSH hocus-pocus. Or Baba Ramdev’s Coronil !

      It is truly unfathomable that people like you would let elected leaders off the hook so easily and not hold them accountable for their serious missteps and rank incompetence.

  29. Is the columnist so naive or blind with Modi hatred? Is Modi supposed to cancel poll rallies and allow the opposition to conduct rallies and win the polls unopposed to the larger good? In which world you are living in. Ideally, all polls should have been pushed back and existing governments and given an extension of 6-12 months starting from Bihar. But, then, opposition and columnists like you will cry bloody murder over democracy under danger. Trump was roasted alive for suggesting to push back polls when US was reeling under the pandemic.

  30. Disclaimer: Without prejudice and with malice to none.

    Why single out only some politicians? This is what makes such reports suspect. Is it to inform (as The Print claims) or to influence?

    A point about mask discipline:

    A few days ago, some weeks after my return from the US in Dec 2000, one morning in my locality, I found that about 60% of the 200 odd individuals I counted either did not wear a mask or wore them around their necks. These, I am sure is the case all over the country – rally or no rally. I don’t see media reporting these lapses on our, the citizens part, on a regular basis. On the same day, my “nukkad” vegetable vendor from who I purchase my daily veg needs (not from BIG or Small basket) too was not wearing a mask. When I asked him why not he said that what is the necessity now that the virus is going away. He did final wear the mask when I explained the situation.

    Role of media:

    When the media constantly berate only the politicians, specially from the ruling party (NOT A RECENT PHENOMENON BUT SINCE DECADES) for all ills, they do two things.

    1. Abdicate the responsibility of informing the public of the reality of affairs.

    2. Make the public complacent by exonerating them from all wrong doings (like not following road discipline, wearing mask etc.), by putting the blame for all wrongs on the administration, rightly or wrongly, always and every time.

    Choice of people in a democracy:

    In this instance, in our democracy, the people had a choice to attend or not attend the rallies and to wear the masks if they decide to attend. I will not blame the politicians that some people attended rallies without wearing a masks.

    Choice with the administration in a democracy:

    Also, can somebody tell me whether the CEC has the authority (if not does anybody else have?) to prohibit all political rallies, in the wake of constitutionally mandated elections and conduct voting etc. without campaigning. Could the Parliament have taken such a decision with 2/3 majority (else, I know, majoritarianism and tyranny will kick in)

    Tailpiece: Such reports as this article are all old wine in old bottles and will serve no purpose in Nation building. I wish the media address real issues that matter.

    • Sir, in your opinion what would be the ‘real issues that matter’?
      Also what topics would serve the purpose of Nation building?

    • ‘Why single out only some politicians? This is what makes such reports suspect.’

      What is suspicious ? You do not believe there is a second wave and it could be more deadly ?

      Or do you believe Modi has no responsibility at all ? If so, it is like saying that when you lose a war, the general has no responsibility, only the infantry soldier is to blame for indiscipline. Who is supposed to train the soldiers to be disciplined ?

      Yes, Indian people are indisciplined. Did Modi change that for the better ? No, he has encouraged mob politics, vigilante groups, and the show-off of mob religiosity before common sense. The indiscipline and lawlessness helps him to keep power.

      If this report is suspect, and holding polls and kumbh mela is not linked to the spike, what is your alternative reality ?

    • Healthcare is the responsibility of the government, and not the media. It is so in every country. There is minister for it and a ministry. It is their job to give the public information and good guidance and confidence based on the best available scientific knowledge. The govt. can use the available media to disseminate the best guidance to combat the virus, through the multi-media. The media is only a vehicle for the govt’s guidance.

      However, what has the BJP govt. done on lealthcare messaging ? At the start of first wave, the BJP oriented media like Republic Channel, Zee TV etc. seized on the Markaz event as a golden opportunity to vent (1) hate against the hapless Muslims and (2) show off ‘Hindu nationalism’ against these Muslims who were out to sabotage MY country (Arnob Goswami). This section of the media is very powerful and they blow according to what they think their master wants to hear. The BJP owns an IT cell. Soon it started sending fake messages on Markaz people and Muslims, and their bhakts started believing it and spreading it. Then their bhakths in the ME started tweeting the same message. Till one Sheikha in the UAE (who is an Indophile) noticed it and put her foot down and had these bhakths deported. Kuwait followed suit and Saudi was getting ready. Then Modi woke up and said Covid has no religion, and he sent Jaishankar to the GCC. In other words, the govt. and its supporters in the media were irresponsible, and course correction came from outside.

      This certainly would not have happened in Congress times. They did not use the media and social media to spread hatred. Contrast also with Kerala. The Health Minister Shailaja Teacher started preparing for it in Jan. 2020, before anyone else in India. She said on BBC she was following the news from China since Dec. 2019. In contrast, the BJP was engaged at that period fighting students and Shaheen Bagh ladies, plotting a pogrom in Delhi and Trump’s visit.

      After the govt. and media gave up on the ‘Muslims spread Covid’ message to the public, the govt. and its ministers were peddling quackery about Covid Papad, gomutra and Baba Ramdev’s Coronil ‘cure’. After the vaccine came from abroad, the BJP got engaged in showing off that India is exporting vaccine to save the world and was ahead of China and the west. It is the same now. They are engaged in their polarising politics in Bengal, Kerala, and Assam, and promoting Kumbh out of a misplaced sense of Hindu pride. Common sense tells you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, and the Kumbh will be a super spreader. Will the BJP’s media now say ‘Hindus are damaging MY country and I shall not tolerate it’ ?

      The BJP owned media cannot advise against their masters and say poll campaigns should be deferred and the Kumbh should be stopped. Instead, you have the BJP minister saying the Kumbh is different from Markaz as it is ‘our people’. The message is Covid will not affect Hindus, so carry on. You cannot expect the media that has aligned with BJP to give advice against that.

      Hence, your suggestion that the problem is that media is not giving the correct advice to the public and everything cannot be blamed on the govt., is misplaced. It is not the problem, The problem is Modi, the BJP – and Hindutva. That is the root. The
      section of the media that aligned with the BJP is also part of the problem. They have sunk India’s economy and its health. Modi and Shah do not have a conscience, so it does not trouble them.

    • Col KL Viswanahan: You contort and bend backwards to deflect blame away from the sitting Modi government that should be held accountable for this deadly state of affairs. What else is one to make of your utterly pathetic statement:

      “.. in our democracy, the people had a choice to attend or not attend the rallies and to wear the masks if they decide to attend. I will not blame the politicians that some people attended rallies without wearing a masks. .. ” ?

      Well, Colonel saab, to claim that India under Führer Modi is a democracy is preposterous to say the least given the man’s autocratic set-up and destruction of all the pillars of democracy in the country. But that dismal state of affairs apart, you also forget that in a country like India with low levels of education and a population prone to hero worship, the common man is going to go by what his leaders do. When leaders condone, encourage and even felicitate gaurakshaks who go about lynching Muslims, the population believes that it is OK to do so. When leaders encourage and facilitate pogroms against Muslim, the populace does the rest as you surely would have seen in Godhra in 2002. Likewise, when leaders do not wear masks and encourage events like the Kumbh Mela, IPL, political rallies and so on, the people follow suit.

      Admittedly, PM Modi is not the only leader that has displayed thus utter disregard for the health of his constituents. But as the sitting PM, he bears greater responsibility than others, especially since he has this huge constituency of bhakths in the black hole that is BIMARU. But then for the PM, every catastrophe or pogrom is an opportunity to consolidate power and not necessarily deliver welfare. And sadly, even educated people like you fall for this gimmick.

      As the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) said:
      Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

      Surely applies to India Colonel Saab.

  31. POOHI is a CONGRASS journalist.

    She never writes how demographic changes in states like Assam and West BENGAL with help of congrass and left parties is subverting democracy and will bring terrorism and religious intolerance to this statrs.

    A ranting by anti HINDU obsessed RENT A JOURNALIST .

  32. Wow. Surprised to see Ruhi ji’s views. First you let mamata go scot free for her minority consolidation appeal, then her candidate’s call for 3 Pakistans, then her call to gherao CRPF and now putting the blame squarely on modi and shah for political rallies. Extremely partisan and stupid. If you want a more responsible political class, blame everyone equally. Why the bias against Modi so much? Is thePrint hell bent on proving it is the next NDTV?

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