The much-hyped word in the current election lexicon of the BJP was ‘josh’ from the movie, Uri. It was a word that was beginning to dominate the political landscape which is getting geared up for the election in few months. The BJP shouted it from the campaign platforms and from everywhere they got a chance to speak. It went viral that BJP bhakts took every opportunity to remark, “How’s the josh?” ever since ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ released in cinema halls. So much so, Modi was even embraced by the Bollywood stars just recently.
Uri happened two years ago, and today the nation is in deep mourning over the Pulwana attack on Valentine’s Day. Eighteen soldiers had perished at Uri and more than 40 have been martyred in the suicide bomb attack. From riding high after India mounted a spirited, revengeful attack on the militant base and the whole nation rejoiced, the nation is in deep mourning, together with the PM whose “blood boils”. This attack at Pulwama that pulverised India’s security forces was the doing of a single man who is said to have joined the militant outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad, after troops had beat him.
J&K will remain a boiling point and one has to wait till April to hear the Supreme Court deliver judgment on Article 370 of the Constitution which grants autonomous status to the state and refrains the Parliament from making any laws relating to the state. The two blood brothers, India and Pakistan are fighting to make it their beloved spouse, since they were surgically separated in 1947.
Considering the vexed problem of Kashmir, one is surprised that some Goans still clamour for Article 370 to be applied to Goa. These diehards claim that Nehru promised such provision to the state when he specified that Goa has a “unique culture” that needs to be preserved.
This group of avowed pro-Portuguese elements maintain that Nehru went back on his words and that the subsequent governments haven’t delivered on Nehru’s words. Unfortunately, Nehru died a few years after Goa was taken over, but his words keep resounding in anti-Indian ears. That Goa will now never enjoy total autonomy or self-government, the next best bet is to fight for Special Status, which, at this stage, seems like a mirage.
We have seen how governments make promises before elections and conveniently forget them after elections. Narendra Modi rode on painting India in multicolour in 2014, including selling dreams such as each family getting Rs 15 lakhs in their bank accounts. No money yet, just plaudits. But the BJP troll army doesn’t stop bombarding us with what the nation achieved. The facts are there before us - a little gain but much pain. The tandem politics of Modi and Shah should be like a statutory warning to voters to cast their ballots effectively.
All that we are hearing since day one is how the Congress, particularly the Gandhi family, has ruined India. The BJP wants us to believe that it’s a saviour and how we should be thankful to Modi for saving the country from utter ruin. We need to keep our fingers crossed till the election is over and the results are out. Forget Pakistan for time being, though India has scrapped the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) status to Pakistan in quick retaliation and promised to teach our neighbour a lesson. I think a war is not the answer, and India cannot afford a war. The futility of it, as seen with three full-blown wars, is much evident today. As Winston Churchill has said, “A jaw jaw is better than war war”.
India faces its own domestic wars… the war on hunger, war on unemployment, war on money management. Besides, the Modi government has taken constitutional democracy for granted.
It has suppressed dissent and it has raised the spectre of anti-nationalism to new heights. Indian democracy is also slowly being replaced by Modicracy, just as Trumpocracy is currently prevailing in the USA. Fighting the Congress is altogether another matter than fighting for the rights of its citizens and for transparency and decency in governance. There are few examples of crony capitalism, and the Rafale case is flying in the face of the BJP. Democratic institutions lay in seize of executive power.
As the run-up to the Election Day nears, one will hear lot of dog-whistle politics. The recent state elections wins have emboldened the Congress, and it has sort of leased the demure charm of Priyanka Gandhi to take the bite out of the BJP bulldog tactics.
Though it may not admit it, Priyanka has sent shivers down the spine of the BJP and one can see how the BJP IT cell is out to paint her in dark colours as the recent fake video of hers has gone viral. With Mamata Banerjee becoming a thorn for the BJP ride, and Mayawati’s shadow looming large, the three women could wear a saree around Modi and turn him into Guddi the doll.
(Eugene Correia is a senior journalist who worked for the Free Press Journal, and The Hindu)