You think Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s standing in a queue was mere drama, a classic case of political opportunism? Well, you could. Because politics is such. More often than not when a politician does something like that, it’s seen as drama –nautanki. So when today, Rahul Gandhi ventured out of his house to stand in a line to exchange Rs 4000 like any other common man at an SBI bank branch on Parliament Street, he attracted similar criticism.
Even if you call it political expediency, let’s accept one thing, he did choose to stand in that line with hassled people who have been standing there for hours together. At least for those two hours when Rahul Gandhi was there, the people saw themselves at par with the political class.
That there was someone to extend solidarity with, the daily hassles of standing in a line for withdrawing a limited amount of money, of standing in a line outside a non-functioning ATM all for Rs 2000. In reality, Rahul Gandhi may not have any need for those Rs 4000. But by choosing to land at the bank, apart from making a political statement, he was able to amplify the real problems being faced by people. If banning Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and selling it as the only and effective solution to patriotic Indians was Modi’s masterstroke, landing in the middle of the a troubled crowd, giving them a reason to feel important too was a masterstroke.
No one is saying that what the Modi government did was wrong. In time, we will know if it was beneficial. But you cannot ask a majority of people of the country who are hardworking individuals to bear the brunt of the wrongdoings of black money hoarders. Then the party’s Twitter army resorts to calling all those making noise about the inconvenience they are facing as dishonest. Rahul Gandhi by landing there has acted like a good Opposition leader gave a voice to all those so-called ‘dishonest’ people.
The government took zero measures to help them out except some really obvious one. Waiving off surcharge for using ATMs of other banks was one such measure the Modi government came up with. One fails to understand how does this help? Paying surcharge isn’t the problem. The problem is the damn ATM doesn’t have money in it. Another measure was to keep the banks open over the weekend. Lakhs of bank workers had to work over the weekend and then report back on Monday. That again caused another kind of inconvenience.
If the government had put even one-fourth of the attempt it spent on amplifying the benefits of this move through social media channels, and vehement targeting of people who have raised voice against it, on actually doing some ground work to help people deal with the situation — a Rahul Gandhi wouldn’t be standing there. Because of its lack of homework, complete lack of planning and shortsightedness, the Narendra Modi government created the perfect gallery for Rahul Gandhi to play to.
May be we will never know if Rahul Gandhi really needed those Rs 4000. It could have been a completely political stunt. But what we do know, Modi is in a foreign land and people in this country are struggling. And he has successfully amplified the people’s troubles with this ‘stunt of his’.