After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes, everyone knew that this will cause inconvenience to the common man. In fact, Prime Minister himself said that he was aware that the step will cause inconvenience, but pleaded with the citizens of the country to cooperate for around 50 days.
In the next 50 days, we saw some real inconvenience. Long queues outside banks and ATMs, distressed senior citizens, businesses feeling the pinch of cash crunch, and other developments that impacted almost every single citizen of India.
Add to that the absurd claims by likes of Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee that the whole demonetisation step was a scam, and then by Rahul Gandhi that cashless economy was to benefit a few big businessmen. Mamata Banerjee and then Mayawati even claimed that there would be violence and riots in the country due to demonetisation. Some miscreants on Twitter even publicly wished for riots.
With the opposition working overtime to push an agenda against demonetisation, and with almost everyone negatively impacted by the move, it indeed was a delicate situation where violence or at least mass protests against the central government could have been easily triggered. Even a small protest could have been amplified by the media that was ready to exaggerate every negative news about demonetisations, such as the alleged deaths due to it.
Yet, we didn’t see any mass protests or any riots as wished and warned by many. Why?
Because the common man of India trusted the words of their Prime Minister.
No amount of propaganda or fear mongering broke this trust. This is something even critics of Modi agree upon. The overwhelming sentiment was that the step was taken in the larger interest of the nation and thus the inconvenient of 50 days was worth suffering.
There was no data or formula that guaranteed that demonetisation will bring achchhe din. It was words of Narendra Modi, and they took those words on face value.
“If soldiers can stand at border, I can stand in the queue” became a general sentiment. Standing in the queue became a cause for nationalism – something that caused huge heartburns among the so-called liberal crowd, who tried to turn “soldiers are dying” into a joke.
The Prime Minister realises it. He had taken a big risk. His step would have inconvenienced those who are believed to be among his core supporters – the urban middle class and the traders. It could have backfired massively. He knows that it was the patience of those who stood in the queues that saved his face.
In such a scenario, if any BJP leader appears to be mocking this patience of people, he has committed a crime. If a BJP leader thinks that standing in queue was not a cause for nationalism, he better declares himself an Adarsh Liberal than presenting to be a nationalist.
And this is what Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari appeared to be doing in a video that was aired on a TV channel and shared on the social media by many:
Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari mocking all the poor and middle class who stood in ATM lines for #Demonitisation in the name of Nationalism pic.twitter.com/AL2EhkX8bw
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) January 3, 2017
In the video, Manoj Tiwari is recalling how he told a group of people – through his singing – that they were trying to change the nation by standing in the queue. And that people immediately agreed that they will keep standing in queues for the sake of nation. This story by Tiwari is greeted with laughter by everyone.
Did they find this sense of nationalism funny? Isn’t it a mockery of people who earnestly believed the words of the Prime Minister?
Not just Manoj Tiwari, even the national spokesperson of the party Sudhanshu Trivedi is seen sitting next to Tiwari and enjoying this mockery of people’s sentiments by the Delhi BJP chief.
Apart from being insensitive, they also come across as being senseless as they appear fully aware that the whole thing was being recorded by someone on camera.
Manoj Tiwari and others seen in the video were panned and criticised heavily by many BJP supporters last night, but both the leaders have not issued any clarification or apology for this behaviour. Perhaps they think that the issue will die down if they ignore.
And yes, the issue may even die down. But this can’t be treated as minor transgression or private conversation taken out of context. This is an insult to the common man who steadfastly stood by the Prime Minister. This is an insult to the nationalist feelings of a common man. And this is an insult to the Prime Minister too.
A tight rap on the knuckles is required. For the sake of common man, for sake of nationalism.