Why Does Any Threat to Modi Bug The Straits Times?

Newspaper, part of the Modi Sycophantic Brigade in Singapore??

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry has brought about wide smiles and excitement among both politicians and journalists used to seeing the likes of eyesores Uma Bharti and Mayawati, those in Singapore not excluded. Particularly those who are a part of the Modi Sycophants brigade!

If a gleeful BJP leader found her “pretty”, an Indian-origin journalist in Singapore is in a “lather” (an expression he used for his counterparts in his native territory) over the “slender” leader from the Nehru family. I do not wish to contest whether Priyanka is slender though her good looks can easily win over aesthetes!

The opinionated piece does have holes but where there can be no two opinions is in its pro-Modi prejudices.

Indians Overseas, Modi’s Biggest Blind Supporters

This is no surprise as Modi’s biggest supporters are Indians living overseas united by their faith and Hindutva ideology. They include those who had renounced Indian citizenships to own passports from other countries, not excluding some holding governmental or party positions/affiliations in countries such as the U.S.

Local loyalties and nationalism are not valued in those countries where individual freedom trumps all else, unlike in India where Modi’s party expects minorities to follow the majoritarian script and acknowledge that they have Hindu origins.

Priyanka Media collageThat aside, I do not believe Priyanka’s formal induction into politics will make a winning difference to the Congress party headed by her brother, Rahul Gandhi. Her husband, Robert Vadra, is and will remain a liability for the party.

Religion-Centric Thrall

Modi has his followers in a religion-centric thrall and that will be enough to give him another term. He has failed across all frontiers of governance that was far from clean, destroying all tenets of democracy and promoting violence centred around majoritarianism.

If he still enjoys the most support among all politicians that only goes to show how he has changed India from a secular country to one of deep divisions, with the intelligentsia forming his biggest fan base. If the country must rely on the less educated and economically backward classes for redemption from the theocratic mess it has slipped into that itself is the worst of Modi’s failings.

Women, Not Modi’s Biggest Supporters

Rahul and PriyankaI do not think Modi’s support rests on a phalanx of women voters, as The Straits Times writer argues. A man who lives away from his aged mother and wife, a man who represents a party whose leaders have celebrated rapists cannot be someone enjoying the support of women.

Priyanka with Rahul

Moreover, women lost their individuality in Modi’s five years in power that saw Hindutva culture police groups trample down on their rights.

In this context, I fail to see why the opposition will have to rely on Priyanka to bring in votes from women.

PVN and His Tacit Support for Masjid Demolition

Also, late PM Narasimha Rao did not pay a massive price for not paying court to Rajiv Gandhi’s widow, Sonia. First, what a crude and amateurish way to put forth a point of view!

Next, I hold Rao as one of India’s finest prime ministers, but he is also seen as one who did not do enough to prevent the demolition of Babri Masjid. Worse, he is said to have locked himself in a room and remained inaccessible when it was being pulled down. Tacit support? Maybe. That is a more credible reason for why he fell out of favour with Sonia Gandhi.

Indira, Rajiv Assassinations

Back to Priyanka who the writer paints as someone who has not been able to exorcise the ghosts of the assassinations of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

They are tragedies not easy to overcome for anyone from the family. To the writer’s credit, he does not fail to mention that Priyanka, in an act that I think is a demonstration of forgiveness, chose to meet a woman involved in her father’s assassination.

That happened as early as in 2008 (11years ago) when Priyanka took a personal, courageous decision to visit the Vellore jail to meet Nalini, serving a life sentence there.

I don’t understand what that has to do with Buddhism as the commentary links her visit with. Just to give it a Singapore twist?

She was in Vellore to visit the then newly built Sri Lakshmi Narayani Golden Temple.

Here is what Priyanka said about the meeting: “It was my way of coming to peace with the violence and loss I have experienced. I refuse to allow anger, hatred and violence to overpower my life.” Rahul had also concurred with her then, saying, “we don’t carry anger and hate.”

Silly Stance – “Indians Under 40 Have No Memories of Indira”

The writer also thinks that Priyanka bears no resemblance to her grandmother Indira Gandhi and this is contrary to popular perceptions in India. Where it gets ridiculous is with the assertion that even if she had that resemblance that would not have an impact on electoral outcomes as “two-thirds of Indians are below age 40 and have no real memories of Indira.”

indira_gandhi and Lee

By this logic, Indians are so pea-brained that they do not have the capacity to remember leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru as they did not live in their era. They are those who live only in the current and cannot recall people from different eras by their contributions to the country!

Indira Gandhi with Lee Kuan Yew

The commentary is aligned with the aspirations of Modi who wants Indians to remember the likes of assassin Godse and forget Gandhi, Nehru, Indira and every leader other than the current BJP Prime Minister.

Why does The Straits Times want Priyanka to focus on the two family constituencies (referring to Amethi and Rae Bareli) rather than spreading herself too thin? She does not need such unsolicited advice, and that too from a foreign newspaper!

It does not amuse me that The Straits Times allows its journalists to betray their political prejudices and wild opinions. As long as it does not relate to Singapore politics, that is!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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