Saturday, August 20th, 2022 04:01:19

Has Modi Lost Patience With Detractors’ Condemnation?

Updated: September 20, 2015 1:51 pm

The new avatar of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while still in Tokyo, amazed everyone. He normally ignores critics despite their stinging criticism or ridiculing him. He never engages in any verbal duel. But while in Tokyo he took a dig at his critics. Why this sudden change?

The blow was so unexpected and hurting that even the most vociferous of his critics kept their silence. He especially targeted his “secular friends” over his gifting a copy of the ‘Bhagvad Gita’ to Japanese Emperor Akihito, saying they could kick-up a storm and trigger TV debates back home. In any case he added that he not being in India must be disappointing to them, for there wouldn’t be much to talk.

He is very perceptive but even Modi could not fathom that his hardened critics would find something or the other to attack him. They discussed 100 days of Modi in office and condemned him to their heart’s satisfaction. Good work done, they must have gloated.

But, the direct verbal chastisement, from distant Tokyo, must have hurt the intellectuals and the Leftists. Modi, in fact seems to have been itching to hit back at a set of motley crowd which feels that Modi is the biggest curse for India. According to Ravinaar they are 37 in number. They include all those whose visage is seen almost daily on one or the other channel. These channels have their favourites who are invited regularly.

The list called G-37 includes moderators, the one who shouts a lot, another who smiles and sweetly goads to get an acquiescence and another who speaks seemingly like the hiss of a snake.

Others on the list are columnists, journalists, former editors and party spokespersons. They are also anxious to find out what prompted him to make a statement and what does he intends to do.

The opportunity for his outburst came after Modi had an audience with Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace on the fourth day of his five-day visit to Japan to strengthen bilateral ties. Addressing the members of the Indian community at a reception Modi revealed that he was carrying a copy of the Gita for gifting it to the Emperor. “For gifting I brought a Gita. I do not know what will happen in India after this. There may be a TV debate on this.

Our secular friends will create ‘toofan’ ( storm) that what does Modi think of himself? He has taken a Gita with him that means he has made this one also communal,” the Prime Minister said.

As his remarks were cheered, Modi hastened to add, “Anyway, they should also have their livelihood and if I am not there, then how will they earn their livelihood?” Modi said he wondered why nowadays small things create controversies. “I don’t know why, but people create controversies even with such trivial things nowadays, but I have my own commitment and my own conviction that if I meet some great person of the world, I will give it (Gita) and that is why I brought it,” he said. “I have given one to him (the Emperor)” and added ” Because I don’t think that I have anything more to give and the world also does not have anything more to get than this.

“The remark triggered another round of applause from the asse-mbled gathering.

Such a lengthy assault at his detractors is not only surprising but raises questions of some significance. Has Modi had enough of consistent attack on his policies and has run out of patience? Has he now decided to give it back to those, a set of “mandarins” who have never spotted anything positive and praiseworthy in him. And he has been unsuccessful in relating with them—so that they could see his perception.

Ravinaar estimated that such detractors are 37, he called it G-37. “The corrupt media uses labels like ‘controversial’, ‘racist’, ‘fascist’, ‘communal’, ‘secular’ etc. to suit the agenda of their political bosses. These fake debates borrow from American formats and are mostly peddled on…..(he named five channels). I shared the following process of how the propaganda or perception is delivered:

“Naturally, there has been a lot of curiosity about this ‘G-37’ since then on there have been SMSs and messages to me. G-37 is a name coined by Chitra Subramaniam for the regular group of panellists used by TV channels to peddle their propaganda or perceptions one way or another. Some people have been asking for the names of this G-37 group so I thought a compilation of the usual suspects would be helpful. Here it is, the G-37…and he names them.”

This reminds one of a debate on Times Now, with the usual set of panellists, all known critics of Modi. Only one BJP lady was there, pitted against five raging to have a go at him. Their faces showed how important they thought of themselves. And why not, they are on the telecast almost every evening. This means their opinions carry weight. They hold the destiny of Modi and the fate of the country in their hand.

The debate was on 100 days of Modi. One lady as expected ponderously gave her judgement. Another extremely well-dressed gentleman wanted to know why Modi does not let himself be subjected to interaction—answer questions put to him.

Others including a former journalist also put in his views, he did not see anything worthy of praise in 100 days. Suddenly, Vinod Mehta, a self-confessed critic of Modi silenced everybody by saying its strange that no one saw nothing good having been done in 100 days. Then he said what about the scheme for the poor to open bank account and have an insurance of Rs one lakh. It seems either Modi has had enough from these set of individuals who might believe they are game-changers but have in reality no substance or significance. Or Modi has fired a salvo and would wait for reaction.

But it seems the climax is nearing. Modi has possibly found the way to reach the set of 20 odd people. Remember what he had said on his 30th day in office.

Capital’s Press Corps Feel Jilted

The Delhi media corps used to walking into office or residence of a minister or telephoning officers in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) or dealing on a daily basis with the Press Advisor to the Prime Minister are feeling lost. Under the Modi dispensation the PMO is out of bounds for the presswallahs.

The once powerful, mighty Delhi media persons feel jilted, jobless and have been spending joyless hours at the Press Club. Worse their capacity to reveal secrets is dented badly. The other evening a Hindi journalist informed with great authority that Modi would hold a press conference on return from Japan. So far it hasn’t happened.

Gossip-less in Delhi, for the capital’s journalists is a curse. One senior editor was wondering if Modi is avenging the press which has been like vultures since 2002.

Another sore point is the discontinuation of taking a large contingent of media people on foreign trips.

And the most painful is the realisation that without any interaction or help of the press, the quick decisions and measures taken by Modi through the PMO reaches the man on the street. His rousing welcome in Japan, securing of a $35 billion dollar deal and the agreement for bullet trains was public knowledge although no press contingent had gone with him.

Social networking and a few relatives of powers that be are, however, providing juicy stories. One story doing the rounds is that Modi’s cabinet meetings are more of tutorials for ministers to learn the art of governance. Insiders say, unlike his predecessor, Modi is quite vocal in the meetings, spelling out his priorities and policy prescriptions.

Another story is that a minister was sent back as he had come without preparing a proper presentation on the functioning of his ministry. Delhi has now a surfeit of unusual things happening. A secretary was called to inform him that Modi was coming to his office—this was something unheard of under other dispensation. An MP son of a minister from an allied party was summoned to stop taking favours from the corporate world.

Belief in slogans, na kahunga na khane dunga and na main sohunga na sone dunga now symbolise the working of Modi. The wonder is that people like it.

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