Tango In US While India Burns

“What’s happening in India?”

The Prime Minister seems to have queried, seeking a response from the BJP chief, after his six-day lackluster tour of the US and Egypt, with 31 drones and metaphysical jet engines thrown in. In an equally lackluster tenure, without holding a single press conference, and without answering a single query from a journalist, except for the stooge media, he should have instead listened to the perceptive question by Sabrina Siddiqui in the White House press meet with Joe Biden. He would have, then, actually, not only rediscovered Nehru’s India and its original and authentic DNA, he would have also discovered what he has done to its wounded body and soul during his one-dimensional regime of a dictatorship camouflaged as democracy.

So what is happening in what is euphemistically called the largest democracy in India?

For one, the civil war is raging in the sensitive border state of Manipur, with the homes of ministers and BJP leaders being attacked routinely, women blockading the security forces, a huge lack of ration and basic amenities, everything shut down across the Imphal Valley dominated by the Meiteis, and the hills populated by the Kukis; militants, armed to the teeth, strutting around like warlords across both camps, both the camps fiercely pitched against each other with no possibility of reconciliation in the near or distant future, the hollow hyped-up, double-engine government totally paralysed, and the Union home minister, seemingly, equally at a loss, neither here nor there, in this terrible Catch-22 scenario.

While the PM did a toast with Biden, or, Kamala Harris, who seems to have totally disappeared from the scene, and serenaded around the Egyptian pyramids!

Meanwhile, our world champion women wrestlers continue to touch a deep and intimate chord with the body and soul of the nation, especially with our mothers and daughters. Like real warriors, they are now practicing hard for the next battle in the next international turf, and they are certain, in word and deed, that the fight is on. Even while the BJP bahubali too seems to have disappeared.

They will, indeed, remain eternally, an inspirational role model for girls and women all over India and the world for all time to come. Even while the PM, as in the case of a ruined Manipur, has yet again been rendered speechless, completely forgetting the DNA of the nation he talks about with such easy lucidity.

Besides, the opposition has sensed a breakthrough; one step forward and two steps back. They seem strategic and flexible, choosing consensus and not chaos, tactical advantage, not one-upmanship. There was bonhomie too as Laloo Yadav, who has never ever compromised with the communal forces, like the Congress, and who retains his magical sense of humour despite severe loss of health and a long stint in prison enacted by a revengeful PM, cracked a fatherly joke on Rahul Gandhi. “So why don’t you get married?” Even as the rest of the leaders had a good laugh.

Undoubtedly, the drubbing of the BJP in the Karnataka polls has rubbed a bucket-full-of-salt on the fake messiah, who fought the elections, as in Bengal, as if it was a mandate on him, and him alone, with several solo rallies and road shows, throwing in a fake propaganda movie, and manipulating the mythical sacredness of Jai Bajrang Bali, as failed poll gambits. Denying subsidised rice to Karnataka for the poor, as promised by the Congress, is so typically a vicious act in a long series of such petty acts, that no one is surprised.

As 15-plus opposition parties joined hands in Patna, the 56 inches seem to be shrinking, as if isolated, alienated, ageing, at a total loss about his future, one-dimensional and alone, outside static time and space. You don’t even see him with his party leaders. While a desperate BJP has been left with no allies, except inconsequential splinter groups. So, again, will it be dil maange more once more for the messiah?

Not really. That the opposition conclave waited for both Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, and postponed the meet, is more than a pointer that the Congress has changed both its contours and character. Mamata Bannerjee not only came along, but played a happy referee with the Congress and a sulking Arvind Kejriwal.

Not only that, in eternal hibernation, even Akhilesh Yadav joined, and seems to be oiling his Samajwadi cycle in UP, instead of stagnating in the stasis of his comfort zone. Predictably, Mayawati, Jagan Reddy and Naveen Patnaik were not invited, and correctly so, while Chandreshaker Rao remains in a dilemma. While his daughter is being hounded by the ED, he knows deep in his heart that he will lose the assembly polls in Telengana at the hands of the Congress this time round. Hence, his national ambition seems to have been clipped in the bud.

There are ground reports that the Congress will do exceedingly well in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. If the Congress agrees to accept the leadership of the regional parties where they are weak, as in Bengal or Tamil Nadu, which it will, then the ‘one is to one’ contest will be a strategic double advantage for the opposition alliance. In Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the regional parties will yet again be victorious, while the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar is bound to win.

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The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance has a solid chance in Maharashtra for multiple reasons. The Shinde faction is totally discredited with big brother BJP breathing down its neck. With the Shiv Sena cadre still steadfast with Uddhav Thackeray, they are reluctant to fight even the municipal corporation elections! And having checkmated Ajit Pawar, who just can’t be trusted, the NCP is firmly in the command of Sharad Pawar.

The whole world knows that a wily Pawar can smell the tide on a full moon night and the shifting wind with an instinct so sharp, that no other politician in India can match it! So what has he said? He stated categorically after the BJP got so decisively crushed in Karnataka that its days are now over. Coming from Pawar, not even the BJP can deny it.

Sabrina Siddiqui

Meanwhile, the White House has condemned the harassment of Sabrina Siddiqui. who works for the prestigious Wall Street Journal. “We’re aware of the reports of that harassment. It’s unacceptable, and we absolutely condemn any harassment of journalists anywhere in any circumstances,” John Kirby, a White Hose spokesperson on national security issues, told reporters, according to a media organization, The Hill (thehill.com).

He was responding to a journalist’s query on the online harassment of longtime White House reporter Sabrina Siddiqui. “That’s just completely unacceptable, and it’s antithetical to the principles of democracy that… were on display last week during the state visit,” Kirby said.

Indeed, Sabrina was only echoing what Barack Obama had earlier spoken to CNN journalist, Chritiane Amanpour, and which is shared by all democrats across the globe, including leading  think tanks in Europe. Obama had said: “If the (US) president meets Prime Minister Modi, then the protection of the Muslim minority in a Hindu majority India is worth mentioning. If I had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi, who I know well, part of my argument would be that if you don’t protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, there is a strong possibility that India would at some point start pulling apart… We have seen what happens when you start getting those kinds of large internal conflicts. So that would be contrary to the interests of not only the Muslim India but also the Hindu India. I think it is important to be able to talk about these things honestly.”

So, really, what’s happening in India?

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