Political analyst says Congress not only needs a surgical operation but could also do with a transplant
GN Bureau | July 17, 2021
Attacking the Narendra Modi government for “mishandling” of Covid -19 and a large number of deaths, astronomically high fuel prices, rising inflation, and unemployment, political analyst Sanjay Jha has said it has failed citizens.
The central government mishandled Covid-19, he said, adding that since March 2020 there have been over 4 lakh deaths, 31 million people affected, people dying due to lack of oxygen supply, lack of vaccine, not getting ICU beds, bodies floating in the Ganga.
“Every human life matters. People will not forget this psychological nightmare. The state has failed citizens. Political exuberance and administrative incompetence of Mr. Modi and BJP has cost innocent lives,” said Jha.
He was in a freewheeling chat with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the a webcast of Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
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Holding Modi is morally responsible for the spread of virus at the Kumbh Mela attended by millions of people who spread it into different parts of the country when the government of Uttarakhand as well as the central government actually preponed the event by a year, Jha also said that death data across the country has been fabricated and fudged. He said the government failed by opening up society and economy when herd immunity was not achieved. He said the government could have taken “elementary lessons from the US, UK and Europe, that it was likely to come back again”. “This government has put India in a monumental disaster. It surrendered governance,” he said.
While speaking on the astronomical rise in fuel prices, Jha said that when global crude oil prices go up the government increases fuel price but when global crude prices come down they don’t reduce costs. “It’s heads I win, tails you lose. The government is cold, callous, cunning and calculative,” he said.
He also asked when through excise duties the government roughly earns Rs 5 lakh crore per annum, where does it go. “Are you transparent? How fraudulent can you be? This is political immorality at its worst,” he said.
Jha, the former president of All India Professionals Congress and executive director of Dale Carnegie Training operations in India, also asked that unless government puts money in the hands of people how will the economy boom. “There is a demand problem. You have to put the money in the pockets of the common man whereas this government is trying to boost supply by giving people tax breaks and guarantees for loans which is not the way forward. The increasing cost of oil is inflationary. Today the poorest man in the country and the richest man is paying the same amount per liter of petrol or diesel. This is regressive, grave inequality.”
Asked if he sees an alternative to PM Narendra Modi in the 2024 parliamentary elections, Jha said to believe that out of India’s 140 crore people there is no leader other than Mr. Modi is to underestimate the intelligence of India’s entire political ecosystem. The opposition including the Congress has now allowed such an individual to assume that role.
“The Congress has at least four-five solid, brilliant, formidable people who can both head the party and should the party be in a position to form the government in 2024 with other opposition parties. The Congress has to wake up and smell the coffee because people at the moment are very much open to change and are saying they want to see the opposition and Congress pose an alternative narrative. We are rather giving BJP a walk in the park,” he said.
Jha said the Congress party not only needs a surgical operation but could also do with a transplant because the grand old party seems to have developed some ailments of late; some of which are of course self-inflicted. He said the party needs to completely re-energize itself, needs a massive transfusion of energy, ideas and aspiration. Despite the fact that it is an outstanding party with great talent it is not fighting hard enough. Of late, defeats suffered by the Congress have extremely demoralized the party.
He said the party is having a vacuum in leadership. Political happenings in Punjab happenings reflect the fact that there is limbo at the top. He however said that after the terrible mishandling of the pandemic by Mr. Modi there is as a huge opportunity for the Congress to reposition itself as an alternative to the ruling party.
The BJP he said has massive control over social media and mainstream television channels. “When you have a social media army spreading fake news on Twitter and Facebook and now on WhatsApp and if you are not able attack BJP on all fronts including its very popular and brilliant communicator… “
Giving his views on the famed Mumbai Model of handling of Covid, Jha said it did well. However, he added that Mumbai due to its population density and limited area will remain susceptible. Until people are vaccinated at a rapid pace a single super-spreader event will bring trouble.
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