The Verdict On Modi’s Latest Overseas Jaunt- Awkward.
When Modi The Mute Spoke To His Personal Bard
What to say when even the Bhakts who live to count the ways that Narendra Modi is singular a force of nature were embarrassed.
Some might have cringed inwardly when Prasoon Joshi, chief of the Censor Board and ironically, the gatekeeper of the staged BharatKiBaat asked (hold your breath folks) the fundamental question of our age: “You are working hard but can you change the nation alone?”
Suit boot ki sarkar was also back with a vengeance as Mr Modi let his hair down with Amit Bhatia, the son in law of Laxmi Niwas Mittal of Mittal Steel in the front row. Sharing space with him was Vedanta’s Anil Aggarwal who at least on the record is facing tough scrutiny in India. Aggarwal had also taken out full-page advertisements in the British papers to welcome Mr Modi.
I was hoping the next tough in your face question from Joshi, who writes lyrics for a living when not waxing lyrical about Modi as his official bard would be: “You are the master of the master stroke what will the next masterstroke be master,” but alas despite the mystery of the vanishing cash flow, Mr Modi did not announce “Demonetisation Part II” from the shores of the United Kingdom last night.
Modi did speak of his anguish in passing at the “politicisation of rapes” in his only reference to the horrific Kathua gang rape and murder, and Unnao rape of a minor girl allegedly committed by a BJP legislator.
He forgot two things. In his earlier avatar as a candidate, Modi on December 1, 2013, had said: “Remember Nirbhaya when you go out and vote”. That was not political, of course, just Mr Modi’s concern for women.
Second, that despite Mr Modi’s passionate concern for women, Amit Shah, the BJP president is still to suspend the alleged rapist Kuldeep Singh Senger from the “Beti Bachao” BJP. Shah has also been curiously remiss, perhaps it slipped his mind while campaigning vigorously in Karnataka — he has also not suspended BJP MLAs and erstwhile ministers in the Jammu & Kashmir government — Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga who led a march in support of the alleged murderers and rapists brandishing the tricolour.
Coming back, the verdict on Modi’s latest overseas jaunt which will make it nearly 50 official trips, in one word? — Awkward.
The Swedish PM was forced to address a presser when Mr Modi left the venue after taking no questions from the press present.
In the UK, burnt after the tough questions he faced in 2015 when he addressed a presser with David Cameron — something he has dispensed with all together back home where he has been the first PM never to hold a press conference — Theresa May dispensed with public statements altogether. This was at India’s insistence.
So are you wondering how the “Modi magic” is created at these carefully orchestrated rock shows abroad? The short answer is the overseas Sangh and vetting, vetting and vetting.” The Overseas Sangh Pracharaks, Chandrakant Sharma along with Ram Vaidya — Sangh in charge in Europe — vetted each and every question, and selected the questioner.
Students who wanted to ask about Kathua were kept out of the event. The two RSS local boys even ensured helpfully that a question about Karnataka identity would be asked (Elections matter, you know.) Mr Modi knew every question in advance.
Unbelievable when you think of the fact that Mr Modi is hailed as a master communicator. The two hallmarks of Modi’s so-called communications skills — insecurity and inability to face real questions about his tenure.
Elephants in the room such as Demonetisation were carefully ejected so that no discomfiture be caused to the leader and Modi magic remain untainted by any taint of reality intruding.
Dalit protests, lynchings in the name of the cow, agrarian distress, jobless growth, zero export growth for the past four years, Nirav Modi and his Ponzi scheme and record fraud of ₹30,000 crore on a State-owned bank, even fugitives living in London such as Vijay Mallaya were unmentionable in front of Mr Modi.
To be charitable, if every leader in a democracy could orchestrate a dream interlocutor like Prasoon Joshi and softball questions in a love fest like this, why would they face a pesky presser? I don’t blame Mr Modi at all. But, I do wonder if the Modi magic is intact only in a parallel managed universe.