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Pappu ki factory: India’s love for dynasty

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Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudame aka 'Pakodewallah' is for Free Markets and is a Nationalist. He is the founder and editor of the Marathi OpEd website - Also runs a YouTube channel by the same name. Tweets @IndicVichaar

Covid-19 crisis is a unique one. Staying indoors because of a government imposed lockdown for so long is equally unique. Yet this never before never again tragedy, produces responses which are deeply stereotyped.

To me, most state Governments have understood the gravity of the situation and in partnership with Centre are doing their best. At this moment there is not much to choose between any of them as outlier on either side. Best or worst. However, notwithstanding the best effort, there have been few lapses such as attacks on doctors, or patients breaking the quarantine etc. And though infections & death numbers across the country are not out of control, they are not stopping either.

Infected foreigners coming into Mumbai (Thane including) and Pune in large numbers, turned both these cities into Covid-19 hot spots. Mumbai is having more than 20% of country’s Corona patients followed by Pune with close to 4 %. Even mortality ratio in these two cities is way above national average. Obviously this has sent alarm bells ringing there. As luck would have it, lot of my relatives and friends stay in these cities. And understandably, they are under pressure.

During one of these lockdown days, Maharashtra CM, Uddhav Thackeray appeared on TV. He had not much to offer. Just a general palliative advice. Stay home, maintain social distance, watch Ramayana & Mahabharata on TV, play cards etc. And then he went on to say something really funny. He added, please don’t use Air conditioners and Air coolers. By that he meant, that staying in colder surroundings might lead to cold and cough. Which might create conducive conditions for Covid-19 infection. Now there is no scientific or clinical evidence to support this statement. People in extreme hot conditions have also been infected by Covid-19 and died too. This is nothing short of misleading general public. And that too in official capacity as a Chief Minister. 

One of my relatives, from one of these two cities, called few days post this address. And what that person said, shocked me. For this relative, the CM was calm and composed. What he said was reassuring and made sense.  But the best (or worst) was kept for the last…”He is a natural”. The call ended. I was left shell shocked.

Reassuring? How? Maharashtra is doing worst when it comes to containing Corona crisis. And Mumbai is the biggest hot spot right now. For a moment let us cut some slack to Uddhav for not containing this current crisis. But what about regular administrative fumbles and complete surrender to ‘Secular’ lobby in the alliance? Just look at these instances over last couple of weeks.

8th April: Anant Kurmuse, 40 year old engineer was picked up NCP thugs, taken to Jitendra Awhad’s bungalow (Cabinet Minister for Housing) and thrashed brutally. Police was complicit. 

9th April: Already holidaying, multi-scam indicted Wadhwan family breaks lockdown and travels 180 km (Khandala to Mahabaleshwar). Approval letter for this was provided Principal Secretary.

14th April: Mumbra: Hundreds of Migrant workers gather and break the lockdown.

14th April: Bandra: Thousands of workers gather outside Sunni Masjid, adjoining Bandra station under the pretext of travel.

16th April: A mob lynching took place. 3 people, including 2 Hindu Sadhus were brutally hacked to death. In video, police is seen police man handing over 70 year old Sadhu to the murderous mob.

Particularly the last incident, has exposed the wobbly law and order situation in Maharashtra.

All these shocking lapses have taken place in last 8 days. And every incident has basically broken lockdown. Which is proving biggest factor in stopping the spread of infections. Undoubtedly these have contributed in turning Mumbai & Pune into hot spots. Last six months have clearly shown Uddhav lack the required administrative experience and maturity to handle someone like Sharad Pawar. This calamity has merely exposed it ferociously.

Yet why did my relative feel CM is doing a fantastic job? Is it the middle class’ disappointment with Modi Sarkar which is showing up? Or the regional bias? It’s an open secret that Devendra Fadnavis was not even liked by many BJP voters from these cities. The main reason, he tried too hard to correct regional imbalance between Vidarbha and West Maharashtra. Or is it the fear of death, which is pushing people to clutch to whatever they have? Completely baffling! I was at my wits end.

I went over the call again. And again. And then it struck me! The call ended with “He is a natural”. It was a perfect stereotype! By ‘Natural’, the person meant Uddhav is the heir to a throne. His father, the iconic Balasaheb’s throne.  So leadership, handling people, administrative skills are in his blood! He can’t be a failure. Maharashtra and Mumbai may be biggest contributors to Chinese Virus infections. Sadhus may have been lynched. Own allies may be sabotaging the administration every day. But all this data doesn’t matter. What matters, in this crisis is he belongs to ‘Royal’ family. He is born to rule. Also the fact that, he has replaced someone from far off Nagpur, definitely helps.

You see, it’s not a coincidence that you see dynasts all around you, in every political party. There is a reason, notwithstanding the election defeats Congress persists with Rahul. Today BJP may be gaining by branding him as ‘Pappu’. But Congress high command knows, sooner than later, people will start falling to this “He’s a natural” campaign. We may chant “Merit”, “Talent” and “Hardwork” every day, but secretly we love the dynastic progression. In nearly 75 years, non-dynasts ruling India was rare. Modi is an exception. Pappus at the helm is the rule. We are in danger of becoming a factory of ‘Pappus’.

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Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudame aka 'Pakodewallah' is for Free Markets and is a Nationalist. He is the founder and editor of the Marathi OpEd website - Also runs a YouTube channel by the same name. Tweets @IndicVichaar
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