When asked about his entitled privilege as the heir apparent to Congress’ chief, Rahul Gandhi played said “So what, the whole India runs on dynasties”. And, the Congress team went into an over-drive equating the progeny of various BJP leaders who are also in politics but relative nobodies as the example. Leaving aside the obvious fact that none of them have an “automatic entitlement” to the highest echelons of the BJP leadership which Rahul Gandhi does and that all the leaders today and in the past in BJP have been individuals who have risen on their own account and not because of their parentage – Rahul Gandhi’s remark gave an interesting insight into the strategy of Congress and Opposition they want to adopt against Modi. Creating False Equivalence.Baring the False Equivalence of 'Congress and BJP are the Same' Rhetoric Click To Tweet
Utter Foolishness of False Equivalence
This strategy of false equivalence was adopted by Donald Trump and he used it very successfully. It is a way to drag the other down into the mud and make the competitor’s virtues disappear in a jiffy. So, all the hard work, all the integrity, all the sleepless days and nights that PM Modi and his ministers have spent for example handling Pakistan and China, opening up things in UAE and Saudi Arabia, taking the power sector from a situation of 4 days worth of coal for over 50% of the thermal plants to 23 days of coal for 100% of them, the expose on the falsification of saffron terror and the treasonous lies of Ishrat Jahan and Samjhauta cases – all that is negated in one swoop of equivalence. By a simple – “So what? Congress and BJP are all same!” Are they really?
Add to this the counter, to the all the plunder that happened under UPA 1 and UPA 2 – “if they did so much, why hasn’t anyone big been caught?” – little realizing that we still live in a democracy and not a dictatorship. Of course, the same people who suggest “Modi should have jailed all scamsters” (a typical characteristic of a dictatorship) keep calling him a fascist as well when it suits them.
In a democracy, when someone running for a PM says he will go after the perpetrators, it does NOT mean he will round up his opposition like Indira Gandhi did in Emergency – but rather ensure that the intelligence and other law enforcement agencies will have the backing and the strength to after every criminal in full measure. Unlike the past when PJ Thomas, the obliging Telecom Secretary was sought to be made the Chief Vigilance Commissioner by the then PM Manmohan Singh and his Home Minister, P Chidambaram! A move scuttled by the Supreme Court. There is large distance between putting dacoits at the helm by design and fighting but not accomplishing 100% of your goals even when you intention was genuine, but the path was blocked by those very people who worked hard to destroy the country! To equate the two is the false equivalence that UPA and Congress leaders are aiming for.
Are Indians Citizens or Hotel Guests of India?
It almost seems like the Citizens of India do not want to be citizens but hotel guests of the country. Haul up the manager and keep whining to him about things while they themselves trash the premises! if the building is falling, then it is only the hotel guests who wouldn’t be bothered about that and keep focusing and cribbing about the presence or lack of accessories and the warm water in the shower! If one is a citizen and it is his own house, then one would be worried FIRST about the falling building. Structural and fundamental reforms – with an eye to the basic good of the people – will be the first thing of important for the owner of the house.
The very people who go outside and come back and say that India is poor, backward – “Look at the US” .. or “look at Dubai” … “how advanced they are”. Those very people I have seen being the most voiceferous critics of the Bullet Train and other such initiatives, which help create first world level infrastructure in India, while the third world infrastructure is being improved. They want American or Japanes facilities in India, but want to cry hoarse when someone tries to give them to the nation. When it happens, the cry goes up “How about improving the normal railways” – which is the world’s largest! As if they are mutually exclusive!
The trouble with most people in India is that they have not understood what democracy really means. And, they keep looking for knights in shining armor who is going to save them while they do nothing for themselves! Case in the point being the Swatchh Bharat campaign. Such a campaign can NEVER be and should NOT be owned and done ONLY by Government. It has to be owned by the people. Which is what PM Modi tried his best to do. But one after another, every Modi critic held the PM responsible and dinged him for any dirt or inconsistency anywhere. If people are not willing to clean up or live better, then government can only do so much!
Sometimes Surgery is Needed
GST – one taxation norm throughout the country – and Demonetization – discontinuing of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes – were necessary steps for the country for many reasons. Fruit doesn’t appear as soon as you sow the seed. But one can be sure that no fruit will come if no seed is ever sown. So, GST is a necessity for future tax reform to happen efficiently and properly. The shortfall in the taxes would have to be covered – so GST rates were high for now, but necessary to cover the fiscal imbalances that were handed down to the Government.
And, despite what and how the different officials may have characterized it, the main motivation behind the demonetization WAS to counter the Fake Currency Notes – which were of the equal amount as the Real currency AND to bring out the black money. Many have foolishly critiqued the Government by pointing to 97% of the notes were back – so how was black money identified. Well, if the 97% of all notes, however they did come back, that means something that was lying inside the mattress of a corrupt bureaucract or an old trader is now within the system! That is part of the legal tender that is flowing in the economy and will contribute to it as opposed to sitting idle in some mattress! That is a big win!
We have to understand that the ditch that the last Government left the country in was terrible… much worse than it was believed to be in.
it had not prepared for being in power at all, in terms of using it as an instrument for economic advancement. It inherited the budget projections of the previous government without question. The mid-term economic appraisal of 2014-15 pointed out that the true fiscal deficit inherited could have been of the order of 1.1 to 1.8 percentage points more than the official number of 4.5%. The National Democratic Alliance government thus engaged in a massive fiscal consolidation even as the economy was limping back to normalcy. Had it done its homework and put out a white paper on the economic mess it had inherited in various areas, it would have prepared the ground for a gradual fiscal consolidation. Thus, it could have used the windfall from the oil price crash to recapitalize banks rather than working overtime to legitimize the previous government’s fiscal projections.
Well sometimes, for reasons of confidence amongst the investors it may not be prudent to speak about the true state of the economy, even when politically expedient. So, one can understand that this is where Modi Government’s decision was to not discuss the extent of mess left by the UPA government.
Since then the Government has been working to bring the economy back from the brink of an economic cliff with high fiscal deficit and high NPAs amongst the banks! This was accompanied by no investment in the infrastructure and a bad situation for any reforms. When UPA Government left, India was known as a “has been”. There was no investment happening here.
GST and Demonetization together have hurt the economy badly. But they were required. Surgery was needed for a sick situation. It has been accompanied with a lot of pain in the economy, which cannot be avoided. Now is the time for consolidation.
Between the plunder by the UPA and the earnest way of handling the sickness of the economy, there is a big chasm. There is NO equivalence! Anyone propagating it or promoting such equivalence needs to tackled and put in his place. Those who have plundered the country cannot be allowed to do a Trump on India going forward!