‘AAM AADMI’ IS ‘KHAAS’ FOR THREE MONTHS*
Pre-election sops: The mad rush has already begun with the poll bonanza entering its final leg – It would be interesting to watch the scramble, to lure the ‘Aam Aadmi’ in the narrow spectrum of time available before the Lok Sabha polls are announced – to woo the voters
Such is the mad rush, as shown to us by the poverty discourse once again, Gujarat and Modi being in the centre this time.
In spite of all the claims, Gujarat is in India and cannot be free of the typical Indian problems of the day – corruption, social discrimination, poverty and so on.
Yes, the scale varies and Gujarat can claim having lesser degrees of these evils and Narendra Modi can rightly claim his governance being a reason behind somewhat improved levels. But it will be daydreaming to claim that peace and prosperity have become synonymous with Gujarat. That cannot be, not even in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, in the prevailing social and political circumstances of India.
So, even in Modi’s Gujarat, there are always the chances of slipping, getting flipped on the side, to the weaker domain, to give your adversaries the needed arsenal to lash you as severely as possible.
And when it is the high-time of the Lok Sabha elections, every such attack gets magnified multifold. And so is the counter-response that is more in the form of counter-attack.
So, this time, it is about the poverty discourse that has come to the surface after a December 2013 circular by the Gujarat government on its website made its way to the newsrooms. The circular is for the Antyodaya Anna Yojna that provides subsidized foodgrain to the BPL (Below the Poverty Line) families. The circular caps The Poverty Line for the eligible families at Rs. 10.8 a day, much below the Planning Commission’s Poverty Lines of Rs. 32 a day for urban areas and Rs. 28 a day for rural areas.
As it had to happen, in the election time, it was a big issue, for Congress, and for the other parties opposing the BJP, and thus, for the BJP.
And in the election time haste, the Congress strategists went full throttle to take advantage of it, ignoring or suppressing the fact that this Rs. 10.8 a day cap was decided by the Planning Commission in 2004 and not by the state government.
Who cares for the finer details when the issue on surface and its proximity to the target make for the headlines?
And therefore, the mad rush was there and was fully blown, until the finer details emerged.
Congress and other anti-BJP parties immediately ratcheted up the debate by targeting BJP and Modi of insulting the poor while reminding the nation how the BJP and Modi made an issue of the Planning Commission’s Poverty Line figures.
Modi government and the BJP immediately came up with the rebuttal trying to put the Congress in dock by making Planning Commission’s guidelines a front of their defense.
Rounds of defense and attack continued as long as the newsrooms saw ‘rating returns’.
It didn’t matter if the ‘Aam Aadmi’ was interested in tasting this ‘old wine in a repackaged old bottle’ or not as long as the issue presented the political parties a prospect to lure the ‘Aam Aadmi’ votes without doing much.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/