Congress-yukt Bharat, again! by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (December 12, 2018)

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Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam

The extraordinary performance of Congress Party in major states of north Indian Hindi belt has proved that we are not living in Congress–mukt (Congress-free) Bharat as BJP would have us believe, but in a very much Congress-yukt (Congress-inclusive) Bharat.

Among the most bizarre and vicious aspects of Modi-Shah dispensation that turned off people with any sense of decency has been the use of intemperate language. Chest-thumping boasts of Congress-mukt Bharat by uncouth men were sure to alienate people who were conscious of Congress Party’s sterling role in India’s freedom struggle, from which the parent organisation of BJP, the RSS, kept aloof.

The four and a half-year BJP rule has seen the lumpenisation of political discourse and coarsening of language never imagined in India’s history. Prime Minister Modi, setting aside all standards of the dignity of his office, publicly ridiculed Rahul Gandhi’s nan-nani (grand parents), called himself kaamdar (hardworking) and Rahul as mere naamdar (titled gentry averse to work). Such abuses and slanders are part of Modi’s vocabulary, and he takes pride in it. However, the average Indian has hardly any taste for public discourtesy.

Modi’s government has dismantled most of the state institutions. The latest to suffer harm is the Reserve Bank of India. Two governors of RBI have left in the face of wrong monetary policies of this government, which has appointed a man as the RBI governor who ran the Union finance ministry during the note ban and changed rules thrice everyday from morning to evening as account holders struggled hard to get some of their own money.

The government has been trying hard (so far unsuccessfully) to force the Reserve Bank to give a couple of lakhs of crore rupees to banks to advance loans to small and medium businesses before the parliamentary elections as a bribe to this class of voters. The new man at the head of the RBI might oblige (and deplete the crucial RBI reserves) and inflict mortal wounds on the country’s monetary system.

However, voters have kicked BJP out of power in the major states because of more immediate reasons that include the collapse of village economy (largely because of note ban and GST), farmers’ suicide because of stagnant wholesale prices of their produce over the last three years as retail prices have grown and the profits have been pocketed by middlemen. The cost of agricultural inputs has grown over these years, bankrupting farmers and forcing them to commit suicide as the government has been busy coining new slogans, making false promises, abusing the Congress. These elections have reflected the anger of the Indian village.

The Congress governments taking over will find empty coffers and will have to struggle hard to address these issues, particularly in the months before the general elections. A party (or coalition) succeeding NDA at the national level too would be up against great odds in an environment where the institutions have been destroyed, rural economic depression is rampant, and few jobs are available in cities. Let us wish the coming Congress governments well as they will inherit a damaged system.

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