Near Blackout of Rahul Gandhi’s Singapore Visit

Is Modi’s Agenda of Majoritarianism Finding Resonance in Lion City?

The ruling party in Singapore is a constant. Not so in India where governments change periodically. Today, the BJP and Narendra Modi are at the helm. In 2019, it may be the Congress and Rahul Gandhi.

Perhaps this possibility is not lost on Singapore with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong having met the Indian Congress party president yesterday when the latter wrapped up his three-day visit to the country.

Poor Coverage in The Straits Times: That brings me to the poor coverage, possibly deliberate, of the visit in The Straits Times, enjoying a media monopoly in Singapore. It was a near blackout.

Today’s edition of The Straits Times has more than 100 pages for news content – i.e. pages excluding the supplements for advertisements.

Still, it had no place for Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with Prime Minister Lee.

Enamoured of Modi?: Whether it was because it is home to a number of journalists enamoured of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his politics of majoritarianism is not something I can say with a sense of authority.

Or was it at the behest the Government with Singapore firms looking at business opportunities in India? I cannot say even that with certainty.

Building Amaravathi as Capital of Andhra: Singapore is involved in the building of the capital city of Amaravathi for Andhra. Its chief minister Chandrababu Naidu shared a friendly bond with Modi until they fell out recently over funding for the new State.

Singapore Minister Iswaran maintains close contact with Andhra in particular and with India in general.

Singapore claims the Amaravathi project is going on track but, according to recent reports, it has been bogged down by controversies and design changes.

Or is there any ideological synchronisation between the two countries in the new dispensation?

Whatever it may be, if Singapore and Singaporeans are not alert, the divisive agenda that Modi represents will seep into the country and put the prevailing communal harmony in jeopardy.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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