Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. - Mark Twain.
Sure, Mark Twain meant the American Congress, the equivalent of parliament but then I’m learning to spin and in our context I’m also starting to think he meant India’s Congress party. It’s because I can’t think of anything else to describe why three idiots from the Congress landed in Ahmedabad on June 13, 2012. P. Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid and Ambika Soni landed in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) supposedly to boast of the UPA’s achievements in the last 8 years. The other undisclosed agenda was to challenge the achievements of Gujarat under Narendra Modi. They came too soon! Elections are still some months away.
And then talk about bad luck and bad timing. On a day when some of the national media too landed up in Ahmedabad the main story on all news channels was that of the Presidential election circus. Who screwed them? It was one of their own alliance team – Mamata Banerjee and Mulayam Singh, who snubbed Sonia Gandhi with their choices for President. That’s for the politics bit. The three wise kings were not about to talk to their subjects in Gujarat but to their ‘Inner-wheel’ club called the media.
Ambika Soni, the I&B minister, who is known to arm-twist media outlets (according to Aditya Sinha of DNA) made it abundantly clear to the folks in the theatre: “Ask the questions you were supposed to ask”. Of course, that’s like parents of students telling teachers to stick to the syllabus. So here are some highlights:
Salman Khurshid was unexpectedly asked about the Supreme Court refusal to stay the sub-quota for muslims which was earlier struck down by the Andhra High Court, which SK had earlier made an election bomb in UP, which was earlier criticised all around, which was earlier…. This was the Law Minister’s response: "Vacation benches tend to be conservative. We thought we will get relief but it did not happen. It happens at times... when the court reopens it will go to the regular bench where the matter will be heard before we get a final answer”. Oh okay, so vacation benches are conservative. I wonder what regular benches of SC would be like – Fascists or Secularists? So now you know when to go to the SC and what kind of bench for the verdict you want.
When a reporter persisted with his question on Gujarat’s development it was left to P. Chidambaram to answer. PC accepted the Gujarat development story but wanted to let the world know that the Centre had provided great help for the cause. What he doesn’t mention though is that much of the Centre’s resources to Gujarat comes from its own contributions and do not amount to doles given out to some other states. Read more at DeshGujarat.
And Ambika Soni had only one thing to talk about – Malnutrition. That malnutrition in Gujarat was higher than the national average. Point made. But she forgot to mention what Gujarat was doing about it. Worse, she forgot to mention what the Centre was doing about it. In a speech in Mumbai recently Narendra Modi had pointed out that the PM’s three year report about UPA-2 didn’t have any mention of malnutrition in women and children although he considered it a ‘national shame’. Jainarayan Vyas, minister in Gujarat, has challenged the figures quoted by Soni but malnutrition is hardly a matter of numbers game. Whether in Gujarat or the country it is a shame indeed.
Now, you would have thought that after the grand show of the three kings in Ahmedabad the front pages of Ahmedabad would be flooded with the blast they had. Well, instead the Times of India front page story today, the day after, is “It’s advantage Modi in Gujarat’s Kurukushetra”. That says a lot for the lightning media campaign of the three idiots. Worse, the TOI Ahmedabad edition doesn’t have a single word of this press meet on its front page.
Reminds me of the question the teacher asked the class: “Who were the three kings who brought peace and happiness....?” A thoughtful little Johny responded: “Smo-King, Drin-King and F**-King”. I don’t know what the three idiots or their party smoke or drink but I would certainly hope they get to their jobs seriously and stop ‘F**king’ Gujarat and the nation.