FAST ONE

Modi fasts

The Telegraph, Calcutta

17th April 2018

Isaac GomesOn Monday April 9, the Congress had observed a daylong fast, against the BJP’s “oppressive ideology”. Not to be outdone, the BJP launched its own version on Thursday April 12, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself taking part in it. The BJP shedding crocodile tear said the Opposition has oppressed it, through its “obstructionist practice” of paralysing Parliament in the recent Budget Session. BJP reportedly asked its workers to stay away from sustenance and selfies. In Delhi, in fact, food stalls have been asked to shift from the fast venue, to save karyakartas from temptation. What a joke when it has absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. If the Prime Minister himself is sitting on hunger strikes, who is supposed to provide solutions? Whom is the PM trying to bluff? Does he consider the common citizens are too naive not to see through his gimmick? He seems to be too engrossed with his  Man Ki Baat instead of the Aam Janta's Man Ki Baat. This report in the Telegraph Calcutta lays bare all the pose and photo ops. Isaac Gomes, Asso. Editor, Church Citizens' Voice.

 

विपक्ष ने संसद में गतिरोध उत्पन्न कर देश की जनता को धोखा दिया है तथा लोकतंत्र की हत्या करने काम किया है जिसके विरोध आज कार्यकर्ताओं के साथ बनारस में अनशन किया। ‘लोकतंत्र बचाओ उपवास एवं धरना’

 

Uniqueness is a gift: some have it, some do not. The prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, has it in full measure. He always stands out, and clearly never has any doubt that he deserves to. His latest unprecedented action was to go on a fast with the rest of the leaders in his party for one day in protest against the Congress ' s disruption of Parliament. That was quite amazing. An Opposition going on a fast in symbolic protest — as Rahul Gandhi did against the atrocities on Dalits — is a conventional step.

Whether or not such fasts lead to anything constructive, the Opposition traditionally has such a method of protest at hand. But a government fasting to protest against the Opposition would have been inconceivable before April 12. It is the government that runs Parliament. If the Opposition is making it impossible to conduct business there, it is up to the government to take steps. It either throws the culprits out — the Tamil Nadu legislators who refused to let Parliament function by agitating on the Cauvery issue appeared to have the government's benign indulgence — or it coaxes, cajoles, or comes to an understanding with the Opposition so that work can be done. Is the Bharatiya Janata Party- led government so ineffectual that it does not know what to do with the Opposition's opposition, or did it want the Parliament session to be disrupted? Had business been restored, the government would not have been able to duck the no- confidence motions that Opposition parties were asking for. So the prime minister ' s fast was either a confession of ineffectiveness or a strategy designed to cover up the fact that it was the BJP, not the Congress, which actually wanted the session to fail.

Governments cover up a lot of things, and they constantly look to distract the people from their failures: there is nothing unique or new in that.

What is novel is the the prime minister's strategy.

But even when projecting himself dramatically as the humble servant of the people, fasting in sorrow, he did not express regret at the failure of the last Parliament session, but stuck to blaming the Congress. This combination of high drama and aggressive petulance is also unique. Instead of distracting attention from the incidents of horror and inhumanity around the country, as the BJP might have hoped, the fast laid bare the party's hypocrisy. So another unique moment was created: the BJP looked ridiculous.

 
 

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