Ever since Amit Shah was diagnosed with swine flu and admitted to the hospital, elite journalists from liberal news portals have been pouring in their death wishes for the BJP Chief. Senior leaders of opposition parties have also done their bit in heaping mockery on his ill health.
They won’t matter. There is a saying in Bengali that curses from vultures have no effect.
However, things are very different when it seems that the Opposition is getting ready to end Ayushman Bharat, which could throw millions of lives in danger.
It goes without saying that Ayushman Bharat, which covers 10 crore households and has over 50 crore potential beneficiaries, is the largest health scheme anywhere in the whole world.
But Delhi never joined, which is exactly what you would expect from a man so petty and insecure as Arvind Kejriwal. The state of West Bengal has decided to quit the scheme. Apparently, Mamata Banerjee is incensed over the fact that the scheme appears to promote Prime Minister Modi. So she has decided that her state government will no longer contribute to the scheme.
Imagine if Modi government decided to end all funding to Jawaharlal Nehru University for a similar reason.
But now newly Congress ruled Chhattisgarh is set to quit Ayushman Bharat. The trend is picking up.
Even by Indian standards, this kind of breakdown in governance due to political jealousy is unprecedented. As the Modi wave swept across India, other political formations have been trying to counter him by promoting outright casteism and toxic regionalism. But now they have come to the point where they say they would rather see poor people die without medical care than see Modi get credit.
And Modi has been getting credit. Why wouldn’t he? Nearly 7 lakh people have received treatment under the scheme in its first 100 days.
Featured here is a 54-year-old street vendor who got back on his feet after 8 years! And it is only picking up steam. This is from the Director General of the World Health Organization:
The Opposition is now grudging these 7 lakh people, all from the poorest sections of society, their health and their recovery! It doesn’t get much lower than this.
Not surprisingly, our much compromised intellectual class has been observing strict silence over this plight of the poorest of the poor. Isn’t it surprising they cannot find any touching human interest stories of people who are undergoing treatment right now under Ayushman Bharat and might lose that critical care once Chhattisgarh ends the scheme?
What are they waiting for? For Modi to inaugurate a shiny new bridge somewhere, perhaps some project that had been pending for 40 years, but which Modi finished in 5 years? Then, they will do “human interest” stories about how the boatmen fear losing their livelihood because of the new bridge!
Ironically, the praise that India and PM Modi have been receiving on the global stage for Ayushman Bharat is likely to only increase the resolve of the jealousy brigade to end this scheme by hook or by crook.
You can be certain that some “journalist” right now, working for some Cable or Wire or Antenna, has been asked to come up with a report on why Bill Gates is some unknown underachiever. Certainly no match for the exploits of fully grown child prodigy Rahul Gandhi.
It is now clear that if the Opposition manages to snatch power in 2019, they will stop at nothing to erase Modi’s legacy. It is clear that Ayushman Bharat will be ended, throwing the lives of 50 crore of our poorest citizens into jeopardy.
The question is how much farther will they go in their jealousy and desire for “revenge”. After almost 70 years of independence, there were still 3 crore households in the country without so much as an electricity connection. So in Oct 2017, the BJP government set out to complete the task of giving an electricity connection to every household in India, a target that has been 95% achieved.
Will these electricity connections be taken away if the Opposition wins power in 2019?
Ujjwala Yojana has doubled the percentage of Indian households with gas connections. Will these gas connections be cut off and people sent back to cooking with firewood?
Rural toilet coverage has gone up from 39% in 2014 to 92% in 2018. Will these toilets be taken away and people sent back to defecate in the open? Some folks here will remember an (infamous) report in an elite liberal mouthpiece a few years ago that complained about toilets being “forced” upon villagers. So the liberals were never really happy with ordinary people of India getting to use toilets. Next thing you know they will start using Western-style toilets. And then what difference will remain between the unwashed masses and the denizens of Delhi Durbar?
The saddest part is that it appears the other side is willing to trample upon the lives of India’s poor to extract its “revenge” on Modi. In a democracy, sooner or later, the government is going to change. People look to the incoming government to bring its new ideas to the table. That is what keeps democracy fresh, that is what keeps the engine of progress running. It would be a shame if the Opposition is going into an election with an agenda of ending healthcare, shutting down toilets, gas connections and electricity connections. And all because of jealousy.