Shining: Ram, Raymond
And Goan Holidays
21 February, 2004
to Advani, we now know where he got his feel good inspiration from.
No he did not get the idea from any farmer or worker or student. The
other day in Ahmedabad, Advani was candid enough to admit that he got
the brainwave from the world of advertisement, from a Raymond Suiting
ad to be precise! Advani truly stands for ad-vani,
the message of advertisement. And if one Raymond ad can make an Advani
feel good, cannot a million such ads also infect the masses with the
feel good virus? Hence you have the glossy India Shining
images chasing and mocking at you wherever you go.
But the point is
not just where Advani got his feel good idea from, but also
the funds that are being pumped into the campaign. The new CEC has been
right in expressing concern over the growing misuse of taxpayers
money by poll-bound governments. The BJP has set new records in the
game of fleecing the people to subsidise the governments poll
campaign. And the audacity with which the BJP is playing this game can
be seen from the fact that the Prime Minister himself has rejected the
CECs call for observance of the model of conduct by parties in
power. With the government spending billions of rupees for the India
Shining ad campaign, the civil aviation minister must be grudging the
meanness of the people who made such a hue and cry over the paltry sum
of Rs. 2.5 lakh that he wanted the Airport Authority of India to spend
to fund his Goan holidays!
Meanwhile, the government
has stretched the feel-good campaign into the realm of reservation.
The income ceiling for identifying the creamy layer for
reservation purposes has been increased overnight from Rs. 1,00,000
to Rs. 2,50,000. In other words, the benefits of OBC reservation would
henceforth be cornered almost exclusively by a minority belonging to
the income bracket of Rs. 1,00,000-2,50,000. From taxation to reservation,
the entire gamut of government policies is now geared to an unabashed
pampering of the nouveau riche crowd.
But the RSS has
warned the BJP to beware the pitfalls that may spoil the feel good party.
Beneath the veneer of the arrogant euphoria of India Shining
and Mission 2004, the BJP cannot but be aware of the shaky
ground under its feet. Frantic attempts are therefore already underway
to refurbish the trademark issues that have delivered good dividends
in the past. If Pramod Mahajan has burnt his fingers in trying to set
the vote market afire with the so-called foreign origin
fuel, Vajpayee and Advani have started remixing the good old temple
tune. The two leaders selected two key sites on the Sanghs political
map Ayodhya and Ahmedabad to seek a renewed mandate to
complete the unfinished job of temple construction.
In Madhya Pradesh
Uma Bharti is of course already working overtime to use every bit of
her new found power to implement the Sanghs pet agenda of minority-bashing
and cultural policing. Conversion and cow-slaughter have already been
banned. In fact, she has gone to the extent of banning fish, eggs and
other poultry products in some pilgrimage centres in the state. The
minister for culture in Umas cabinet, who happens to be a nephew
of the BJPs poet Prime Minister, is busy renaming the states
cultural academies. And socio-cultural magazines critical of the Sanghs
ideology are being banned in the name of preserving communal harmony.
Every fascist campaign
in history has rested on the twin props of violence and fraudulence.
In the BJPs scheme of things, the recipe accordingly revolves
around a mix of crude muscle-flexing and cynical manipulation of myths
garnished with coats of feel-good gloss.