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Demonising Modi way

Demonising Modi way
Highlights

In one stroke, Prime Minister Modi has branded all critics of demonetisation as “political worshippers of black money.” Such a sweeping remark smacks of authoritarianism and ignorance of ground realities. 

In one stroke, Prime Minister Modi has branded all critics of demonetisation as “political worshippers of black money.” Such a sweeping remark smacks of authoritarianism and ignorance of ground realities.

So much so, he seems to be living in splendid isolation. The nation is not questioning the lofty ideals of demonetisation, but wants to know what the government is gloating over.

The general perception among people of all walks is what Dr Manmohan Singh said of the cash ban: A monumental management failure. For three months, every sector of economy has suffered.

If the surgical strike has decimated its targets – black money, counterfeit currency and terrorism – the government, along with RBI, is not forthcoming on details.

A surgical operation, medical or otherwise, is planned in detail. Now, even 10 days after the deadline of December 31, there are no signs of normalcy. Terrorists continue to strike in most brazen fashion and in some cases were found with oodles of new notes.

Seizures of hundreds of crores worth of new cash and jewellery show that culprits are still scoffing at the law with impunity.

Any prudent decision must be heedful of consequences and advice. But, the Modi government is simply casting aside every criticism as gratuitous.

Several economists, RBI and the government itself pointed to signs of slowdown this fiscal. FM Arun Jaitley wheeling out tax figures does not buy, as it is an early data and cash ban impact will pan out over next few months.

Now, the government says note ban is about cashless economy. The unleashing of massive government and party blitzkrieg reminds one of ‘India Shining’ days of the Vajpayee government in stark contrast to the realities.

Digital transactions wouldn’t come for free. People who have to shell out transaction have a right to question.

How would the government justify this extra burden? Besides, poverty, connectivity, illiteracy etc are other intimidating factors.

An infirm opposition to cash in on so incendiary an issue like cash ban to gut the government as well as absence of any strong protests do not simply mean acceptance of the government position that all is well.

BJP would do well to remember that people generally respond in a huge way during an election to send their message across.

It should realise what is needed now is an agile good governance, transparency and a strong anti-bribe culture.

However, while cash ban brought nothing but distress to people, Modi is self-congratulatory and intolerant of any opposing views.

Does public distress on such a large-scale not have any repercussions and slow down economy? Deriding those who do not deify PM is illogical, if not absurd.

There is a need to provide a healing touch to the people, and stave off the impending slowdown. The Budget is round the corner and presents a perfect context.

But in the run-up to the crucial state polls, it may be too much to hope reason prevails on the powers-that-be.

Halfway through his term, Modi has robbed ‘achhe din’ from people – if there have been any. His obduracy doesn’t augur well for democracy.

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