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‘Columnist’ Andy Mukherjee goes on a blocking spree after Indians point out gaping holes in his Bloomberg op-ed claiming South India is ‘rejecting’ Modi

The BJP was the single largest party in South India in 2019 Lok Sabha elections with 29 seats. If current happenings are anything to go by, BJP seems poised to better its tally, as opposed to Mukherjee's fanciful imaginations.

Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Bloomberg ‘columnist’ Andy Mukherjee has written a bizarre opinion piece attracting the eyeballs of several who keep an interest in Indian politics and the Modi-led national government. In an outstretched article published on 8th April 2024, Mukherjee indicated that the southern part of India ‘rejected’ Modi and that they didn’t ‘fall prey’ to his political activities even after he inaugurated Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

Further, on being questioned about his ‘research’ and ‘political analysis’, he went on to block people on the social media platform. Several X (former Twitter) users posted screenshots of Mukherjee blocking them after they happened to question him about his take on politics related to South India and BJP.

Founder of Garuda Prakashan, Sankrant Sanu lashed out at Mukherjee for making bizarre comments about the ruling party and South Indian politics and said that the ‘columnist’ had very little knowledge about the country and its culture.

“This shows how little he understands India and dharma. When you understand why there is Rameshwaran in the South linked to Ayodhya in the North and Ramanathan, Ramalingam, and Ramakrishnan are all common Southern names you’ll get a clue about India,” he said sharing the screenshot of Mukherjee blocking him.

One of the users from Maharashtra’s Mumbai was also blocked on X after she questioned Mukherjee over the claims he made in Bloomberg. “Andy will make big claims on dying democracy, the North-South divide, Ram Mandir, etc, etc, and simultaneously block people who question his baseless claims. And the West Media just waits for such ‘writers’ to lap up anything against India,” she tweeted posting a picture of Mukherjee blocking her on X.

Several other X (formerly known as Twitter) users shared similar experiences. They said that the leftists loved talking about the so-called ‘death of democracy’ in India and on the other hand blocked people from asking questions or expressing opinions on their ‘political analysis’.

The netizens meanwhile also slammed the ‘columnist’ for writing the opinion without any logical base. The users indicated that Mukherjee was deliberately criticizing the Modi-led government saying that it had no support of the South Indian voters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2024. He also indirectly attempted to create a divide between the North Indians and the South Indians and alleging the national political party for its extra focus on the former.

What did Mukherjee write in the Bloomberg opinion?

In the opinion article titled ‘Why India’s South Rejects Modi — And Why It Matters’, published in Bloomberg Business on 8th April, ‘columnist’ Andy Mukherjee stated that South India, the more progressive and successful part of the country was drifting away from the ‘poverty-ridden’ north and its majoritarian leader.

“Ten years of Modi’s polarizing rule have caused a yawning gulf in what voters are getting from their government and what they even want from it. Economic prosperity and social progress, the top concerns in the South, have no place left in the North. Modi didn’t create a vacuum of hope. He just filled the hole in people’s material lives with religious fervour,” wrote Mukherjee.

“It’s a passion that finds its release in tormenting people of non-Hindu faiths, particularly Muslims who account for 14% of the population. Another five years of the same majoritarianism might strain the nation’s federal fabric and jeopardize India’s future as a pluralistic, free-market democracy of 1.4 billion people,” he added.

While commenting about the construction of Ram Mandir, Mukherjee said that the South Indians allegedly have very little interest in Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir as it already has its beautiful temples. “The majority community has come to view a militant assertion of its religious identity as the ultimate civilizational goal. So when Modi inaugurates a Hindu temple, built at the same spot where mobs destroyed a 16th-century mosque in 1992, they see him as a saviour. He has come to restore their wounded pride by avenging the Muslim conquests that later flourished into the Mughal dynasty famous for the Taj Mahal,” he wrote.

“The south, where Islam arrived with sea-borne commerce rather than conquest, can’t understand the fuss over yet another temple, not when it has many grand ones of its own and has spent 100 years asserting marginalized people’s rights of worship,” he added.

He also said that the Modi-led government focussed on targeting Christians and ‘innocent’ Muslims for loving women. “Who’ll bet on a region where politicians promulgate “love jihad” laws to punish young Muslim men for loving Hindu women and vigilante groups attack churches? It’s a simple truth that India’s 80% Hindu population doesn’t need protection from 14% Muslims and 2% Christians. What it needs to be saved from is bad education, poor public health, high unemployment, and crushing poverty,” he opined.

Andy Mukherjee and his anti-India articles

It is crucial to note that Andy Mukherjee has a history of publishing anti-India articles on the global platform. Earlier in March 2022, Andy Mukherjee wrote a column arguing if India can overthrow Visa and Mastercard with its homegrown Rupay payment services. In his opinion piece, Andy asserted that Rupay must have an international approach instead of its current domestic-centric focus. However, while contending so, Mukherjee ironically also denigrated Rupay’s foreign tie-ups with Discover and Japan’s JCB International Co., stating that if the goal is to lower the nation’s reliance on foreign payment services, partnering with overseas companies is not a good solution. 

In another article titled “India Shouldn’t Fall for Putin’s Rupees-for-Rubles Deal”, dated March 31, 2022, Andy Mukherjee made a case against India buying discounted Russian oil in rupees, contending that such a transactional relationship between Moscow and New Delhi could irk the West.

In still another article, Mukherjee advised the Central Bank of India to raise rates more to “regain credibility”. The article that was published on 5 May 2022 said the Reserve Bank of India’s unhurried approach toward inflation has caused damage to the Indian economy, and its decision to hike 40 basis points in benchmark rates will be a hard slog. 

Andy Mukherjee, a doomsayer of sorts who rarely gets it accurate, had also penned an article about the looming wheat crisis in India. The author claimed that India has flip-flopped on its decision to feed the world with its ban on wheat export as it was facing a “chapati crisis” at home. 

Mukherjee advocated Chinese vaccines during COVID

However, the best piece of advice Andy Mukherjee had for the government of India was about importing Chinese coronavirus vaccines. In May 2021, barely four months after India kickstarted its inoculation campaign, Mukherjee authored an article declaring that India’s vaccine strategy had failed.

Amid delays in vaccine production, Andy suggested the government procure Chinese-made vaccines to inoculate its over 1.4 billion population to blunt the impact of the pandemic and foster immunity to fight future variants of the ever-evolving coronavirus.

Thankfully, the Indian government did not heed his advice and ploughed on with its vaccination drive.

Notably, it seems that Mukherjee has always moved to write opinion pieces against India on the global platform demeaning the ground reality in every given case. For instance, in the case of COVID-19 vaccines, Mukherjee gave unasked advice to the Indian government saying that it should import the Chinese vaccines. However, in reality, the vaccine program run by India was praised all over the world. The country also exported several parcels of vaccines to several countries including China ensuring the safety of every possible individual during the COVID spread. As per the reports, India exported 30.1 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses to China.

In the given case also, Mukherjee is choosing to blatantly ignore and block the users from trying to question the logic and basis behind writing such an opinion piece ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2024 that might create a divide between the North and the South region of the country. This is similar to a trend that Congress and other leftists adopted almost a year ago after it badly lost in three southern states winning just in Telangana.

BJP’s hold on the South Indian states

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid three visits to South India in January 2024. These visits encompassed the five southern states comprising of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. He travelled to Kerala and Tamil Nadu thrice in a single month. He also visited Kerala and Tamil Nadu on February 27th and 28th.

The South appears to be a major aspect of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Despite its big 2019 victory, the BJP only won 29 of the 129 seats in the five southern states. Of the 29 seats, 25 were in Karnataka alone, with the remaining four in Telangana. In Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, the BJP did not win any seats. The party also has never won a seat in Kerala.

In 2014, the BJP won 21 southern seats, 19 in 2009, 18 in 1999 and 2004, and 20 in 1998. In previous elections, its score in these states has stayed below seven. However, this time, even the minority community people in Kerala think that the BJP is the only party that can free Kerala of corruption and terrorism.

Also, in the case of Tamil Nadu, PM Modi recently said that he wanted to see the state develop. “I go to Tamil Nadu not just for votes. To build a developed India, we need developed states. Tamil Nadu is at the forefront of this,” he said in an interview with ThantiTV.

The Prime Minister’s statement has merit. Tamil Nadu and Kerala play an important role in India’s transition to the developed world. Tamil Nadu is currently India’s second-largest state economy, accounting for 8.8% of total GDP. The state GDP of Tamil Nadu is expected to reach $294 billion in the fiscal year 2023 alone.

Modi has consistently emphasized that he, rather than Nehru or any previous Prime Minister, is the true champion of independent India. He recently stated that he was the first prime minister born in independent India. To realize his economic vision for India, he requires the BJP to be a dominant force in Tamil Nadu and other South Indian states, especially Kerala. 

Lok Sabha Elections 2024

The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 are scheduled for 16th April 2024 and will have seven phases. In Kerala, polling will be held in a single phase on 26th April 2024. The results will be announced on 4th June 2024.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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