Thing is, nobody is making any money in Modi Raj. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have bagged almost 50% of the vote. It was achieved by social engineering — development for the plentiful Dalit, going hand-in-hand with the rest of the poor, including Muslims.
They have all been hoovered up and bagged, with orange lotuses embossed on them and the World Cup Indian team. And thereby went caste and religion in politics down the garbage chute.
The talkative, picky, middle class is now officially a lost cause with zero leverage. The traders used to be a constituency in the days when their subscriptions mattered, but now they are thought to be incessant nags.
None of these people are really needed for Modi to win elections, though one school of thought has it they have nowhere else to go. So, more’s the pity- votes for nothing and picks for free.
The infrastructure is indubitably improving dramatically — big national highways, State highways, city underpasses, flyovers, automatic, smartphone-delivered challans. Metros are burgeoning in every city worth the name.
But the wallet of the BJP supporter who is not poor is getting thinner all the time. No pakoras or pani puri for all despite those vegetarian banquets. Even Patanjali, hit by demonetisation and GST both, is complaining.
Does this Bhakt existential crisis even matter? Can the Bhakt talk about such unmentionables as money in his Modi jacket? Are there any jobs or opportunities for these clowns unless their provincial credentials are impeccable with RSS blessings? Doesn’t look like it, except for chanting ‘Modi-Modi’ and swearing they don’t want anything in return.
And it doesn’t hurt to bleat an occasional Jai Shri Ram. There will be no temple, one must understand because the matter is sub judice. And no revocation of Articles 370 and 35A either — because there is no majority in the Rajya Sabha. But keep chanting. It is good for the soul.
If someone is stupid enough to not be a BJP supporter, he or she can use the longish interregnum to take up Vipassana — or drink long tall vodkas.
Property prices are dead, even as in a repetitive Orwellian way, sarkari voices tell us there will be housing for all by 2022 — and water (never mind Chennai), electricity, and connectivity too.
BSNL, VSNL and MTNL are dead; so, it must be Jio that will provide the connectivity. Airtel and Vodafone don’t work anyway, and they are reeling under heavy debt. Don’t even ask about Idea or about the no-fly zone-hit Air India. Flying and travelling too is connectivity.
Mumbai, the erstwhile bounce back experts cum commercial capital, is moaning and groaning. There is no money there except in Mukesh Ambani’s family.
It is pot-holed in the pocket too. This must seem funny to the bald and pot-bellied — particularly those running the BMC on behalf of Matoshree.
Right now, for the Mumbaikar, it is a struggle to just keep from falling into open manholes concealed under water, or drown in the downpour. It means being swept unceremoniously out to sea via the Matunga drain, black with sweeping out such bodies.
‘Life First, Money Later’ is the new slogan for all at the Chowpatty foot- overbridge.
Dalal Street is regretting having installed a bronze bull in imitation of Wall Street. Nobody puts marigold malas on it anymore. Most stocks are at 2010 levels even as the government brokers talk of Sensex at 40,000 next. The Sensex is going up and down like a merry-go-round horse, but on the back of a dozen shares out of 30. Nifty on fifty is pulling on towards 12,000 on the same basis. Many of the 6,000 listed companies in the broader index are bankrupt and another one crumbles and disappears whenever someone tries to buy its shares.
SEBI, meanwhile, also made up of durable government appointed bureaucrats, is working out new ways to torture all and sundry. Even TRAI is competing in torture-the-people stakes by putting up satellite TV subscriptions in the name of wider customer choice. SEBI does it by calling it customer protection. Lokpals and ombudsmen are busy taking notes.
The former finance minister has already put in five taxes, like circus wheel-of -death knives, into the side of all the brokers, investors and punters. Will there be more imaginative viciousness from the babus and the new FM in North Block on the 5th of July?
Unsold properties are legion in Mumbai and Greater Mumbai, likewise in the NCR, in frothy-water, garbage infested, congested, Bengaluru. Maybe the situation is no better in Surat, Ahmedabad and Valsad — despite its made-over “European-style” railway station.
Those affected in real estate are private, RERA-compliant, aspirational people. But their votes are not numerous enough to swing seats. And their cheque books and thailas are not weighty enough to fill BJP coffers. Meanwhile, the Centre has tweaked land-use laws to add two acres to the ramparts of the BJP HQ.
Elsewhere, the government-owned ISRO is doing really well. Its brilliant if underpaid scientists are about to make a moon landing. Perhaps we should all line up and see if we can go to the moon. There may be better pickings there, unless the Chinese have stolen a march, working around from its dark side.
Private companies are not growing, hiring, or investing. Dead PSU companies are being declared dead by the government alongside. Nothing is growing but the government.
Media can hardly pay its staff unless it is owned by Mukesh Ambani, India Today or The Times of India. And the latter two are showing signs of fatigue and weakness.
The automobile sector, albeit an internal combustion universe except for the failed CNG experiments, is shrinking. This, even as the government is busy talking up electric cars and trains as the future. The millions invested in vehicle factories, the lakhs employed there, can go the way of real estate and its cement using pollution, all in the quest for clean energy, and new talking points.
So what is left to be distracted from in this World Cup cricket season? TV is alright though growing ever more expensive.
The much-distributed LeD lights from Modi 1.0 have been found to be dangerous to eyesight. They also cause cancer, joining a different queue for cancer-causing agents that is much longer than the one for people going to the moon. There is no wisdom left. It is of no pecuniary use.
This lack of corruption at the top is proving to be a heavy burden. Nobody is making money. Business and enterprise is at a standstill from lack of incentive for the powers that be. There was a cheerful news item of the revival of corruption at the bottom though. It is in fodder distribution in Maharashtra. People are claiming 20 cows to a rural household and government inspectors are certifying this @ Rs. 15,000/- per inspection. It cheered up Lalu Prasad no end in Sirsa jail. Vicariousness is also a pleasure after all.
But his benami properties had to go. Robert Vadra is waiting to see what happens. He hasn’t lost very much yet. Chidambaram sneers at all this inept work as only a good Chettiar robber-baron can.
Modi says he is not running an Emergency, looking at his manicured fingernails. He suggests the criminally prosecuted but out on bail should continue to enjoy themselves.
I come back to it though — there is no hope for the middle-class, Union Budget or no Budget. There is a new invisibility. Nationalism will have to substitute for sustenance. The plainest of living and the highest of thinking is the way to go. Jai Hind, Vandemataram, Allahu Akbar, and the Lord have mercy!
The article above is a work of satire