Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lessons for Antony from the BJP….

The last three days have been dominated by statements and more statements from Antony. But the implications of what happened in Parliament – more than what has happened on the borders – are for every minister in every state government.

Lesson number 1 for Antony: When there is any terrorist attack, blame Pakistan first. Then go about ascertaining the facts. Get the sequence right. It’s crucial. If you don’t blame Pakistan, it will mean that you are soft on that country. Not only that, it will conclusively prove – yet again – that your UPA government has a soft molten-butter-like foreign policy. If you don’t follow this sequence, you may even be accused of corruption; never mind how and why. This is democratic India, where the opposition acts as a watchdog. Watchdog, not against inaction, or wrong laws, but of the choice of words. And where the media doesn’t consider itself to be the 4th pillar, but the 1st, of democracy.

Lesson number 2: Encourage even the institution of the Army to blame Pakistan in the first instance. It doesn’t matter that the Army may appear like a bit of a cry-baby blaming an external force a la sissy politicians, rather than attacking and wreaking revenge like it prefers. The message is clear: blame the other side first. Do the recce later. Again, the sequence is important. And yes, be prepared for being charged with having wrecked the institutions of the country.

With these two learnings, we have now understood just how savvy and clever Indira Gandhi was. She was the originator of the “foreign hand” wasn’t she? And for years, she was mocked by the then Jana Sanghis. It’s a different thing that the foreign hand then was America’s and now it’s Pakistan’s. So the moment there is a terrorist attack – even if it is by the saffronites – blame Pakistan first. I had no idea that Indira Gandhi left such an impression on the Sanghis.

Lesson number 3: Wear nationalism on your sleeve. Anything less will mean you are anti-national. Even if you are lucky enough not to be called that, you will certainly lose the race to the “I am the most nationalistic” (sorry Hindu nationalistic) goalpost to the BJP. See how concerned that party is with national security? It lobbed massive explosives…..err not at the terrorist…..but at the Congress. It fired bazookas…..err….again at the Congress. It stormed…..err not the borders….but Parliament with its fists flung in the air. It demanded action….err not against the terrorists…..but against Antony. The BJP is a truly nationalistic party indeed. Learn from it.

Lesson number 4: Media is god. Ministers must watch news channels all day long, so that they know the pulse of the nation. When an anchor says “The Nation wants to know”, no matter how silly the exhortation, ministers must cut short their meetings, skip Parliament (anyway, not much happens there), and rush to the officers of the editors (nooooo…..not editors…..just anchors), ready to face the harangue. While they are at it, it would help if they pleaded for a little mercy from them. This is democracy Antony. Here the media is everything. Don’t you dare think otherwise.

Lesson number 5: Forget logic. Forget statistics. Engage in jingoism and win the day. Don’t remind BJP about how weak kneed its own foreign policy was when it sent its foreign minister to deposit dreaded terrorists into Afghani hands. That was muscular policy, dictated by the “deep concern” for the 160 lives on board the plane. It doesn’t matter what the party’s stand would have been had the Congress done the same thing. They would have quoted Israel’s no-negotiations policy at that time. The BJP also doesn’t have to answer why they could do absolutely, totally, nothing when Captain Saurabh Kalia was brutalized by Pakistan after the Kargil war. Why, their defence minister Georgie, was busy giving innocence certificates to Pakistani ISI, and of course….counting the oodles of cash that came stashed inside imported coffins. It doesn’t even matter that so many other attacks happened during the NDA’s rule – like the Parliamentary attack in 2001. The BJP’s response was so strong wasn’t it? It killed so many terrorists in Modiland, the next best thing after Disneyland. Terrorists like Haren Pandya (as alleged by his family)? Terrorists like a thousand Muslims (as everyone knows)? Terrorists like Graham Steines in Orissa? Antony and the UPA better learn. There is so much to learn from the BJP.

Lesson number 6: Don’t talk to Pakistan. No, let’s correct that. Stop talks everytime that some border issue happens. Then silently start again, so that the BJP can attack you again. If you don’t start talks, how will you stop them the next time something happens? So follow this model. Start talks – face flak – stop talks – start talks –face flak. This is the signature of a mature powerful country. This is the vision of the BJP with respect to a global power.

Lesson number 7: And this is the most important lesson from the BJP. Please now don’t start doing anything about the problem. You really don’t have to increase defence spending, or speed up decision making, or give better directions to your army to attack back, or any such thing. Status quo must continue like it did during the six years of BJP rule. Status quo on everything – the Lokpal for instance. The screening committee in coal allocations for instance.  And more recently, the absence of a Lok Ayukta in Gujarat for a decade for instance. Your mantra should be: Do nothing. But scream like a banshee. That’s governance. That’s development.

The real truth is that the world must be laughing at us. When our soldiers died, our politicians discussed the nuances of English with each other. They argued whether accusations against neighbors must be hurled first, or investigations into the facts conducted. And they must be gawking in appreciation at the “independent” and “fearless” media that we have. India – the biggest democracy in the world. Indeed….

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