Being a credible opposition is an art. Like batting in a cricket game. Like every other kid, there was a time I wanted to be a batsman like Sachin Tendulkar, hitting fours and sixes all over the place. Sadly for me, it rarely worked. I missed the ball almost every single time and it would end up in the hands of the wicket keeper, without so much as touching my bat. One day I was fed up and went to one of the older guys in school who was known for being a really good player and asked him: “I don’t understand why I cannot hit fours and sixes. I am flashing the bat as hard as I can”.
His answer: “Because you are not looking at the ball before you swing your bat. Open your eyes, look carefully at the ball, guess for the line the ball will take, wait for the ball and only then should you move the bat”.
The other piece of advice he gave me was this: “Stop thinking that you can hit a four or a six off every single ball. Have you seen Sachin try to hit a four off every ball? No! Sachin picks and chooses which ball to attack and when to defend. You have to accept that for some balls, you have no choice but to pat them down meekly to the ground“.
Perhaps the same goes for the Opposition in India, if it wants to put up a credible performance. But ever since Modi sarkar took office the Opposition has behaved like my twelve year old self in a small maidan every afternoon after school… reaching out to hit a six off every ball. It didn’t work out very well for me and neither will it work out for the Opposition.
Behold Mrs. Mamata Banerjee, perhaps ready with her legendary bamboo, hit out wildly in all caps:
Well, at least she tried to play the ball. What do we make of the attention seeking Delhi CM who wants to oppose everything Modi does? Since he believes that there are still a handful of idiots out there who see him as an “anti-corruption crusader”, he spent the first day or so not saying anything directly but retweeting his allies and cronies. It was more than 24 hours later when he sent out two of his chamchas (were they Sanjay Singh and Dilip Pandey…I am not even sure who the two chamchas were) to give the “official reaction” of AAP to the demonetization effort. The chamchas went out and launched a blistering attack on B S Yeddyurappa for some reason. Anyway, for at least 2 days, Modi succeeded in getting the ever talkative Delhi CM to keep his mouth shut. Then, he found his voice and ended up playing an ugly shot as usual saying that there was a deal between PayTM and Narendra Modi. Seriously, Kejriwal…you wish. You and your corrupt media cronies wish that PayTM had the aukat to purchase the Prime Minister.
And then there is Mayawati ji, who cannot be criticized for saying anything, no matter how illogical.
We all understand what she is saying. What she is really saying is that BSP collects sacks full of black money and for Modi to ban all this cash is “selfish”. But she is Mayawati and so nobody is allowed to mock her. She can do as many scams as she wants, she can spend public money lavishly on building statues of herself. She can call for tactical voting on caste and religion lines. No liberal will open their mouth because Mayawati’s politics is based on keeping Hindus divided. And that justifies everything. You will find the liberal talking heads even rationalizing her corruption. Apparently, it is even elitist and perhaps even Brahmanical to have contempt for BSP’s blatant corruption. She can do no wrong. She can send out her goons to ask for a minor girl to be “presented” to an angry mob and then she can justify it by explaining that she is actually a goddess. Idea of India.
And then there are the economists who have suddenly woken up to ask questions:
They are here to make intelligent and important points:
“The dramatic nature of the announcement on Tuesday evening, giving rise to an appearance of determination and decisiveness in government … A technofix is no substitute for multi-pronged solutions to complex institutional and social problems. ”
“The justification advanced for this bizarre move was that it would strike at “black money”… The implicit understanding is that “black money” consists of hoards of cash which are held in trunks or pillowcases or buried under the earth…ow, the second part of this argument, even assuming that “black money” actually consists of cash-hoards, makes little sense…. this very conception of “black money” is absurd. Indeed the term “black money” itself is a misnomer, since it conjures up the image of a stock of money which is supposed to be held not openly, in the form of bank deposits, but clandestinely in the form of currency notes, and that too in pillowcases or in containers buried in the earth. ”
Ooh…nice! How nice of the fancy economists and thinkers to finally wake up and realize that “black money” itself is an absurdity, that all the black money is held in terms of assets, that we cannot have a simplistic solution to deep institutional problems. Ha!
To these alleged economists I ask: where were you respected sir during the last 30 months? Narendra Modi made a simple metaphor in one random campaign rally about “15 lakh in every account”. I had heard of no such “promise” before the election and during the campaign. No such promise appears anywhere in BJP’s manifesto. Where were you sir when this metaphor was quote-mined and taken literally and the Opposition ran wild with it across the length and breadth of the nation calling it a “broken promise”? Were you intellectuals not born then to remind the Opposition to talk sense …and explain to them that a metaphor is a metaphor is a metaphor and hence not to be taken literally? Did you lecture the opposition then not to reduce a complex problem of black money into overly simple terms? No, back then you were happy with letting the Opposition conjure an image that Modi had promised to find a big pot of banknotes and distribute them equally among all citizens… So shut up now. You are getting a reply in kind.
Nevertheless, there remains one question which is a good one and deserves to be heard:
Good point Didi! What about those who don’t have ID, those who don’t have bank accounts? Those who are not literate enough to fill out the simplest of forms? Good point, Didi! Good point! But to you and your ilk I ask: why is it that after 60 years of your beloved Nehruvian Communist economics in our country, there are still so many people who are illiterate, living hand to mouth on a wage of a single Rs 500 note per week? What has your favored economic system done for these people? Why are they still living like this? And if your economic system has been able to do nothing for these people, shut up and let us try things our way. Not Modi, but your Nehruvian economics is heartless for keeping these people destitute for 60 years…
But ever since that decisive evening of May 26, 2014, the Opposition has been jumping out of the crease like a bunny, rarely ever looking at the ball and flashing their bat every time as hard as they can. Very well then. The Opposition should begin preparing now for an innings defeat in May 2019.