Rahul

Barkha Dutt’s bizarre rant on P. Chidambaram in Tihar jail

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

On the two sides of political divide, India’s Right and Left-Liberals, only a handful enjoy a persona such as P. Chidambaram. He is an elite among elitists, second only to Gandhis, and his gravitas in public appearances suggests of a man bred in arrogance. He isn’t of a light-banter type, back-slapping his friends. Never a dhoti and a khadi shirt has been worn with a swagger which could put  rockstar in shade.

Chidambaram wears a smile which he could patent. It’s a benign, patronizing smile, never warm, only a favour which he is bestowing to his audience. When he speaks, there is this cocked eyebrow judging you on your incompetence. He is that Pope of politics who is used to reverence from his audience.

In a sense, it’s a classic cloak borrowed off from the Nehru-Gandhis: A benevolent knight, God’s chosen one for his people, who must have his cake while the masses must revel in the crumbs. A blue-blooded Congressman never questions the scions; and never lets down the coterie and sycophants who must do his bidding.

The morning after Tihar got arguably its most famous occupant, Lutyens Media who breed and multiply like mosquito do in sewers and gutters, were busy treating the moment as a victory of sorts. Hindustan Times lettered “Chidambaram, Karti get relief from arrest”;  Times of India made much of Supreme Court disapproving of High Court judge quoting Enforcement Directorate (ED) note; The Hindu didn’t forget to mention Chidambaram and son got anticipatory bail in Aircel-Maxis money laundering case;  and Indian Express, the daddy of them all, front-paged “Judge-slams-agencies”.

I mean a heavyweight-like-few-others is in notorious Tihar jail. Chidambaram is a thread which could showcase the entire gamut of alleged corruption in the decade (2004-2014) of UPA rule, reveal the arteries and veins which gutted body India, arguably institutionalized corruption; sterilized bureaucracy and defanged investigating agencies. It has a far bigger implication for the present and the future then a mere judicial custody. Yet our Lutyens Media has just taken a note of his arrest: There are no sermons, no digging up the dirt, no editorial – nothing.

The servile TV channels for once were not too keen on TRPs. None of them stationed their cameras in front of Tihar Jail for images which could have lasted them a week. No helicopters like they did once as Sanjay Dutt was being whisked to the Yerwada jail. These were the very channels who were aghast when CBI men were jumping the fence of Chidambaram’s residence. Yet the TV grabs of the year were not shot, nor archived for posterity. As if they wanted to erase people’s memory, sanitize history.

I scanned the timeline of Shekhar Gupta, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose etc on twitter and found nothing this morning. JUST NOTHING.  The one of Barkha Dutt though was outrageous. She may have changed media affiliations faster than actors change clothes in a song sequence but her crooked logic is unimpaired.

Ms Dutt is aghast as to why Congress is not taking to the streets on the matter of P. Chidambaram! Could you believe it! Ms Dutt is asking Congress to mobilize public opinion and come out in support of its two stalwarts (the other one being DK Shivakumar). She would rather have the party alienate the people than dump the allegedly corrupt. She is exhorting Congress to defend the two infamous.  She views DK Shivakumar as a fire-fighter for Congress; and can’t get over the fact that the Party has done no better than depute its legal luminaries or arrange just a press conference for P. Chidambaram. She is asking Sonia and Rahul to sit outside PC’s residence and court arrest alongside him. She is asking if Priyanka Gandhi could accompany Robert Vadra, why not here? Barkha sure is a queen of the bizarre.

It is no different to how Lutyens Media treated the Sunanda Pushkar murder (yes, murder now that it has been established she was poisoned). There was no journalism of courage, no intense gaze which could penetrate the layers of deception. Or how they treated the Sonia-Rahul bail in National Herald case, AgustaWestland and many other scams: just in passing. It’s different from the anniversary they run on an Akhlaq and a Pehlu Khan; a Gauri Lankesh or an Asifa Bano.

There is no escaping the fact that a few luminaries and media houses are part of this “eco-system.” This eco-system is willing to ignore corruption, blood stains, violence, seditious conduct and harm to this country as long as it serves their agenda. Their sense of democracy and secularism has a skewed prism. Never lose an opportunity to hang them out to dry.

Why Rs24,000 withdrawal limit must stay

It’s a fervent hope that the cap on Rs 24,000 withdrawal a week on individual bank account stays till mid-2017. If the limit is lifted, all those bank accounts bulging with submission of black money will be emptied in no time. The pre-demonetization black money will return albeit in the form of new 500 and 2000currency!!!

Sure, a time will come when the limit on withdrawal would have to go. After all, government can’t deny people their own money forever. It would be a disincentive against earning and spending more. In a way, it would encourage people to hoard cash which in turn would result in bad books of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) by way of “missing” currency.

However, as of now, this limit stipulation must stay. And that’s because the issue in question is the “existing” black money. Not the “future” black money. The priority is to cleanse the existing clogged drain. As for black money in future, new mechanisms could be put in place. For example, allowing the automatic deduction by banks on any withdrawn amount. We could be wiser for future. As of now, the existing stink must go.

We all are aware how opposition political parties, mainstream media and academia have raised heavens on the “pains of demonetization inflicted on the poor.” Images are manipulated, like-minded “experts” are invited on TV debate shows, Stories of people dying in queues have multiplied without any basis. Farmers’ plight, trucks off road, no fresh sowing are kind of news which have been planted without basis. The food prices have actually gone down, the trucks are doing just fine and no mandi is closed. These propagandist mouthpieces whose only interest is to hurt the nation so as to benefit themselves, haven’t bothered to inform as to why there are no riots and no violence, leave alone any mass disquiet in the country in the wake of demonetization. Or why despite the unpopular move BJP seems to be winning every civic election in sight.

Such forces desperately want the limit on Rs24,000 withdrawal to go. The idea is for the cash to be available for political parties to benefit and influence voters like they used to do in the past. The unearthed money of Mayawati and the “chit-funded”Mamata’s goons are just a tip of the iceberg. The rantings of Rahul Gandhi or the “fixed pari-war” of Yadavs are an offshoots of this existential dilemma. They claim to speak for the poor of the country when all they have done in their various tenures in offices is to keep them poor and deprived. All they rely on is people’s short memory. And the “minority fear” which a Hindu-majority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) apparently evokes.

The arguments in defence of cash limit withdrawal are weak. If only 24 lakhs tax-payers in the country show an income of Rs10 lakhs or more in a year, the average comes to less than Rs 1 lakh a month which the cash-withdrawal-limit of Rs24,000  a week fulfills adequately. That the statistics of only 24 lakh tax payers with income of over Rs 10 lakhs per year is a cruel joke is lost on all opponents of demonetization.

So the cash withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per week must stay. At least till the bulging accounts are thoroughly scrutinized by the investigating agencies. The war has just begun. Those entrenched vested interests bent upon weakening the fibre of this country won’t go away in a hurry. They are amidst us in the form of political parties, media and academia working as proxy for their masters. Find them, recognize them, and neutralize them. That’s the mantra for all those who want a Strong India.