I love Solitude and I love my coffee. My most precious café time where I revered both Solitude and my coffee has been shattered and strutted. As a mother watches her first born go to a school for the very first time, the same feeling of anxiety and trepidation hurled through me.
At the dusk of a chilly January, sipping that very coffee at that very café, which I am not doting anymore, amidst the rising reverberation of heated discussion with argumentation and rhetorical analysis without a framework and no result, my mind pondered as a blend of despair swirled into the very mystic sense of being, my mind transcended back to those exacting days of solitude I adored until the month of September and how it had all changed from that announcement on a Friday the 13th. Probably the mystic horror of that particular date combined with some prior incidents was to turn me into a friggatriskaidekaphobic for life.
The most controversial leader from the current legion was anointed as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the primary opposition party. I would be lying if I said, the upcoming General Election, was just another Election. I would be lying if I didn’t say this very man had captured the imagination of millions through his speech across the country. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that he has brought rejuvenation in his party cadre. I would also be lying if I didn’t say he has turned out to be a phenomenon. Probably he has very changed the visage of Indian politics.
Did this elevation happen out of the blue? Precisely No. A decade of meticulous media planning, image makeover, branding and marketing with the authoritarian nature of self being propelled by section of media has made him rise to the pedestal. His audacity and showmanship combined with brazenness to promulgate mendacity makes him look like a rock star. He presently “runs” a democratic state of Gujarat with one command authority
It would be contemptible of him if he didn’t give due adulates to his PR company, one of the giants in the turf, I call them the disaster management company on planet (rationale: Look at their Clientele). The image makeover has been so fêted that, he is looked at as the messiah who can turnaround the financial system and get us out of the muddle we are in by a substantial fraction of the population. Does he have the capability and intent of captivating India ahead, distant from the copious crises we face today? I think not.
If I had to describe him very briefly, my exact words would be “a shrewd salesman whose only intent is to sell the product even if he has to hide the truth”. For the past decade, he has been selling and the country has been buying. He has been selling ‘Gujarat Model of Development’
What is “Gujarat Model of Development”? He has been buttressing the idea that drawing investment to a state amounts to “development”. But is that pragmatic? Sops and freebies such as low interest rate capital, discounted leasing, stamp duty waive off, and lands at throwaway prices are provided to extend that it is financially nonviable with respect to the return it is making on such projects at its maximum projected Return on Investment (ROI).For paradigm, to bait the Tatas to set up their Nano plant in Sanand, the Gujarat government relinquished stamp duty on the land sale and bestowed other concession to the tune of over Rs 30,000 crore.
As I desolately continue sipping my coffee amidst the continued never ending clamors, my mind boggles back to the thought why any commonsensical government would do that? Few say, it would generate new jobs around the area. But then, why would he waive away the 85% local employment scheme from this project? There was no wealth generated and very little job created. What does this precisely mean? Yes, every Gujarati is subsidizing each Nano that rolls out of the Sanand plant. Every Gujarati indirectly is paying for every Nano. Perhaps, Gujarati’s have comprehended this and thus the seat of Sanand was lost by the BJP in 2012 State election. Perhaps the state slowly comprehends with the fact of how big a conjurer he is. Perhaps the enchantment of this very model is wearing of.
I would be devious of myself if I were to think that this model did not bring any investment into the state. But then, who gains from this? Who are the beneficiaries?
Why does a state generate wealth? Perhaps, it’s for the people of the state. Why does a king generate wealth? Perhaps, it’s for the king and his courts men. A state that has seen a high rate of growth for past two decades is but obvious to have a good human development index. I am proved wrong yet again. As per the Planning Commission, Gujarat’s rank in poverty mitigation is appallingly ghastly. Actually, the tribal populace (17 per cent of the total) has in fact seen an augment in poverty over the last decade and malnutrition is very severe among Gujarat’s women and children. This implies that the economic growth has been seen is concentrated within a small fraction of the state’s population. Perhaps he is the Shezada in true sense. Edward Abbey said, “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell”. Find a cure or death is near.
However shining we portray India to the outside world, India is a country suffering from hunger, malnourishment and widespread poverty. If the growth is not realized by the majority, what good is the growth? A broadening economic arroyo is barely an accomplishment in such a milieu. With such a backdrop, is this the kind of development model we need today? Gujarat’s Public Delivery System (PDS) which is relied upon to deliver the essentials to the deprived in deplorable condition is itself the deplorably performing in India.
They say he is incorruptible. But, what is the point when his ministers are? What is the point of turning blind eye while the ministers marauding the wealth? His honesty depicts parallel to Dr. Manmohan Singh, the current Prime Minister.
After a CAG report arraigning his government for corruption was leaked, Times of India reported the following (April 3, 2013):
With all but four Congress MLAs suspended from the House, there could be no debate on the damning CAG reports. As soon as the house began functioning on Friday, MLAs Rajendrasinh Parmar, Paranjayadityasinhji Parmar, Jodhaji Thakore and Amit Chavda sought discussion on CAG report, which the speaker Ganpar Vasava disallowed.
The quartet rushed to the well carrying banners on CAG. They were suspended, quite predictably, and escorted out by the security staff.
A lucid indication that perhaps opposition is not tolerated in his ‘kingdom’. Those who oppose or resent are send to prison. He is seen rarely at the state assembly, but can give an animated elaborate speech with allure at a rally. He never gives a press conference or answers the media, but can enchant the minds of millions.
How can he not be liable to the fourth estate or the legislative body, and still flash his “democratic” credentials? Does democracy have no meaning beyond elections? In our time, it is impracticable to upend democracy as blatantly as it happened in the 1970s, but does he have those penchants? Utterly Shezada
He gave a cry “Congress Mukht Bharat” from a plinth in Hyderabad. His pioneer claim is the scams against the incumbent government. Ironically, that very day on the podium next to him was Bengaru Laxman, ex- BJP President convicted in a corruption case. He has not given corruption free governance in Gujarat, where he is the one. Can we deem he would execute in a coalition politics? Absolutely Not
He is deceiving voters. He had the circumstances to showcase that he does not represent the “mai-baap” mores of the political class in the Vitthal Radadiya drama. He botched. Radadiya, a Congress MP from Porbandar was caught on camera last year, pointing a gun at a toll booth toll. Conversely, instead of taking action against Radadiya, he presented him shelter and enticed him into the BJP.
As I gather sagacity and start channelizing the din that ambiance me, I comprehend it always was about the current political affair. Perhaps, I haven’t seen more active participant in democracy in my lifetime. Perhaps he is a good salesman or perhaps an autocratic shezada or perhaps an illusionist but wonder why he calls himself a chaiwallah?
As I pay the check and walk down the road, perhaps apprehending that this was my last day at the café. It still gives me shudders when I think about 2002 or the snooping.
With a sense of fray, I pray let the Nation have democracy and not be demo crazy.