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Modi Govt’s colossal failure to handle India’s COVID Emergency is finally being called out

Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to feel that COVID-19 spread is anything but the Central government’s responsibility. His attack on ‘Andolanjeevis’ or those who feed on protests should not come as a surprise. He was delivering another election speech and addressing his followers, not farmers or even the Parliament. He was not responding to the criticism made in Parliament or the specific points raised. That, he clearly believed, was not his business.
 
People, however, have begun to call out the bluff in his aggressive speeches made from his comfort zone; it is easier to call his bluff because on the ground his government is seen as both incompetent and cowardly. Mishandling of a plethora of issues — farmers protests, Chinese incursions, unemployment, failing economy, deteriorating communal harmony and social fabric and so on are hardly state secrets.
 
It was nevertheless embarrassing to find the Prime Minister mocking his own people on the floor of Parliament when he avoids taking the name of the country which has challenged India’s territorial sovereignty. 
 
It is a shame that he cannot directly threaten China using the same tone that he reserves for his own people or for ‘foreign destructive ideology’ or Pakistan. There is nothing that stops Modi from showing his ‘red eyes’ to China except that a bully is always scared of bigger bullies. It is easier to show his ‘red eyes’ to protestors.
 
Under his watch India seems to be facing ever more threats and conspiracies. Why else would a government in the saddle for seven years with no political threat to it, conjure up a ‘threat a day’? Who or what is it trying to keep away? 
 
By the PM’s own admission, students, lawyers and farmers have been restive. One can add to the list or refresh his memory. Suffice to say that his government has failed to keep even Delhi safe from communal violence or police brutality. It failed to guard even the Red Fort or did it deliberately open the gates on the Republic Day? Insurgency in Kashmir is far from over. 
 
And yet, his Government sees a threat in tweets, activists, journalists, political leaders and celebrities abroad and virtually in every corner. If he is truly a great and strong leader, why is his government so busy crying foul? Why is there so much chaos under his watch?
 
On the other hand, there is not one area of development in which India has excelled or even taken the first steps under Modi’s watch in the last six years. Whatever the nation is today, for better or worse, was already there in 2014. 
 
There is no facet of development known to mankind in which India has not taken a step and everything happened before the 2014-Modi-miracle. The only new things added by Modi are some broken toilets without water connection and LPG connections with empty cylinders and no money to buy a refill.
 
Yet, every now and then, some or the other media house would come up with a “survey” to claim that Modi is still the favourite and ever-popular leader. If he was so popular, why has he failed to convince the farmers how awesome the three new Farm Laws are? Had Modi been truly popular, he would not have to mock the protesting farmers or their allies as ‘Andolanjivi’. 
 
In almost seven years of Modi rule, there have been protests by doctors, nurses, Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, school and college teachers, Chartered Accountants, Tribals and forest dwellers, environmentalists, students, Dalits, Muslims, liberal Hindus, farmers, labourers and many others.
 
The audacious disrespect for all of them by calling them all ‘Andolanjivi’ and the mocking and jeering in Parliament seems designed more to gloss over the Government’s growing nervousness.
 
It was ironic but hardly surprising that a right-wing populist leader like Modi would mock people’s protests. Ever since the concept of democracies and nation states emerged Left Liberal politics led by intellectuals and thinkers have largely prevailed over the world. 
 
To challenge them, Right Wing parties have used pedestrian protests targeting the media and ruling establishment as 'elitist' or 'Lutyen’s gang’. Populist leaders pretend to speak people's language rather than in academic jargon and brew hate for knowledge and intellectuals. 
 
They pretend to be angry and frustrated at the ruling establishment which they allege to be rich and privileged and engage people to rise in protest. 
 
In India, it was the Anna Hazare movement which consisted of the right wing ‘Andolanjivis’. Populist leaders pretend to be ‘ordinary common man’ and ‘outsiders’ to politics. But after coming to power, they assume the position of the ultimate insider so that others are never allowed the same right of protest that they enjoyed. They actively sabotage and co-opt the same media they maligned as ‘Presstitutes’ and as members of the ‘Khan Market’ gang. 
 
Converting mainstream media as their lap dogs and taking over democratic institutions established by liberal parties to suppress all forms of dissent, protests, and opposition. Modi is following this fascist playbook to the T.
 
It is not easy to govern a nation as big and diverse as India. Successive Governments have tried to address the multiplicity of complex problems without pointing fingers at the media, activists, journalists, students, protesters, foreign celebrities, foreign governments and other ghosts. 
 
But the so-called strong-man and popular leader seem to be crying hoarse all the time and looking for somebody to take all the blame. It is time Modi takes responsibilities for his actions and inaction, and does his job, without blaming others.
 

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