Singapore Market Analyst’s Rude Poser to Rahul Gandhi

P.K. Basu gets Glorified in Modi-Obsessed Junk Indian TV Channels!

In 1994, the year I moved to Singapore, then Indian prime minister P V Narasimha Rao visited Singapore and had to face a nasty, lengthy comment on Kashmir by Pakistan’s High Commissioner.

Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who had called Rao a statesman and equated him with Deng Xiaoping, quickly stepped in to silence the Pakistani diplomat with the counter: “What is your question.”

The diplomat was giving a discourse and the no-nonsense Singapore leader told him to “take your seat, you have put your question.” For his part, Rao told the Pak envoy: “We also have a high commissioner in Singapore, go talk to him.”

While we have no Lee Kuan Yew now, there is no dearth of people like market analyst P K Basu who, at a university event addressed by India’s Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi yesterday, thought he had grilled the latter with the poser: “India’s per capita income grew much slower than the global rate when your family ruled the country.”

Political Prejudice

Just the rude words, “your family”, betrayed Basu’s political prejudice. He then went on to add: “The per capita income started to grow significantly faster than the global average only after your family relinquished power.”

There was no moderator of the stature of Lee Kuan Yew to shut Basu off for his wild diatribe. It was left to Rahul to gently rebuff Basu with the quip: “You are giving a lot of power to one family.”

India’s Success is Because of its People

When another questioner said that India’s growth was due to Nehru and Congress governments over the years, Rahul quickly pointed out that these were two extreme viewpoints. “One gentleman is saying I am the source for all problems while to another gentleman I am part of the solutions. Give me something in the middle. The truth is India’s success is because of its people.”

He went on to say: “If anyone in this room thinks the Congress had no role in that success – that getting freedom, green revolution, telecom revolution, rights-based laws and liberalisation are not part of that success, he must write a new book.”

Funny, a so-called Economist thinks Income Growth Can Happen Overnight!

I am surprised that a man who calls himself an economist does not understand that per capita income growth cannot happen over just a few years of rule by one party. It takes decades of game-changing groundwork. If the decades of liberalisation and governance by one of the world’s respected economists had nothing to do with today’s higher per capita income, then someone has to write a new book, as Rahul joked.

While Rajiv Gandhi was the last of India’s Prime Ministers from “the family”, the opposition position has consistently been that Sonia Gandhi was calling the shots.

The Nehru and Indira eras were focused on nation-building with focus on education and science and technology that served as the foundation for today’s India.

Basu Threatens Legal Action, Singapore Style

But jokes aside, Basu today threatened to sue the Congress party if it does not withdraw the video doing the rounds in various portals.

That is a true Singapore-style legal threat! He says the videos were doctored when what was posted just had highlights of the question-and-answer session in Singapore.

Today, Basu has been busy giving interviews hitting out at the Congress to India’s pro-Modi junk TV channels such as Times Now and Republic TV.

It looks like Singapore is becoming a platform for some to launch their careers in other countries through vile ways.

Moreover, The Straits Times appeared to have downplayed Rahul’s three-day visit, possibly because it has in its fold a Modi-glorifying journalist brigade.

Somehow, I have the suspicion that Modi’s divisive, communal politics resonates well with some in Singapore.

Is Singapore bracing up for India-style communalism in the country by encouraging people gravitating towards politicians with a dangerous agenda in a country not within the ASEAN framework? Will Singapore, for instance, allow its residents to poke their noses into politics in Malaysia? Or Indonesia?

— G Joslin Vethakumar


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