Today is 8th December 2016. It’s been one month since the so-called “Surgical Attack on Black Money” was announced by the PM through a nation-wide TV broadcast. The PM is a big fan of Big Bang…no, not the rom-com TV show, but the big bang approach. And the Bhakts (“follower” to the power of zillion) would call every announcement of his a “Masterstroke”. So the announcement to withdraw Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes too was a masterstroke.
Since then the narrative and tone of the Government is constantly changing. Firstly there were many flip-flips and partial rollbacks. Very soon it was clear that the exercise was not #demonetisation in true sense; but merely currency replacement. The stated goal was changed constantly – first surgical attack on black money, then bringing black money/cash into the financial system, then taking India to “cashless” society, and of late, making India a “less cash” society. But let’s call it #demonetisation (knowing fully that it is not) for the sake of this post.
Today, exactly one month after the #demonetisation, 65% of the old currency is yet to be replaced. The PM had told nation in loud voice “Give me 50 days (till 31st Dec). Everything would be alright by then”. It seems highly unlikely now. The economy stands disrupted. GDP is estimated to go down by at least 1% (could be 2-3%).
But so was the awe (or terror?) of Modi’s authoritative style (Bhakts call it “charisma”) that very few (of the prominent voices) dared to speak against #demonetisation. Curious case in point is HDFC Head Deepak Parekh. I am slowly beginning to lose respect for this man. He has been changing his stance more often than politicians. He had been admirer of Modi since beginning. However in 2015 he said “Nothing has changed on the ground“. I wondered how he gathered to say something against his boss. When #demonetisation was announced, Mr. Parekh on 16th November 2016 hailed the move as a “Game Changer” (Game Changer is a first cousin of Masterstroke. Usually everything that the PM says beginning with “Mitron…” is a masterstroke and game changer). This was expected of Mr. Parekh. He is not Rahul Bajaj – someone who can speak his mind and speak against the government of the day. So nothing surprising.
However the surprising quote came yesterday when Mr. Parekh criticized the #demonetisation move and said that it has “derailed the economy“. There is no need to take this seriously. Either he would issue a clarification that he was misquoted, or he would actually issue a new statement praising the PM again.
The rest of the business community is keeping quiet. There is nobody who can bell the cat.
The way Mr. Modi and his Bhakt-brigade is going about supporting #demonetisation it looks that he would go Indira Gandhi way. He has been a narcissist for many years. However as one Lord John Acton said: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
The #demonetisation coincided with the halfway mark of Modi government (yes, it’s not BJP govt or NDA govt…it is Modi govt. Subtle but significant statement), we can only guess which way he is going. Recently he won the TIME’s people’s poll for Person of The Year. There was so much noise created by Bhakts. It later transpired that Donald Trump had won TIME’s Person of The Year 2016 award. Modi had won people’s survey (obviously – given huge Bhakt brigade, he would even win beauty pageant, if the criteria is online votes).
Anyways, the key issue is absence of a strong and credible opposition – and modestly OK alternative. Let’s see if that emerges by the time we enter 2019. Else, the “masterstrokes” would continue for another 5 years and the “game would be over” for common man.
Till then enjoy this humorous take by AIB on #demonetisation (Warning: Explicit language. Discretion advised)