PM Modi, everybody wants you to speak in Parliament, but please don't gloat over TIME poll again sir

Having ridden to prime ministerial throne on the power of twitter trolls, how difficult is it for the PM to win an online poll?

PM Modi, everybody wants you to speak in Parliament, but please don

Indians are gullible people, including this writer. They love their country over anything else. Or at least they have been so drilled into loving it that they will vote for anything, for any election, they just have to see the word ‘poll’. There is more enthusiasm if the poll is an online one, no need to queue up as one does at the bank, but just click and get on with it. Oh digital!!

Given this propensity for participating in polls, Indians also love to reiterate their Indianness, even in voting. The TIME Online Poll for Person of the Year has to be seen in that context. Not that TIME chose Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the winner, it is India’s online chaingangs who saw the PM as a candidate and went click-a-by-baby. After all, the Prime Minister is the country’s first citizen. What more patriotic duty than to get your PM named Person of the Year, but what many don’t know is that TIME has already chosen its Person of the Year, US President-elect Donald Trump. The online poll is a trick used by legacy publishers to generate online traffic, excitement, buzz etc.  And Indians will win hands down in an online poll; there are, after all, so many of us! Besides, the TIME you get in India is the Indian version with some 15 per cent changed and printed only for India. So, go easy on the international nature of the online poll which was voted on by bhakts on auto-click-o-pilot. It is not like the TIME yearend covers of yesteryear, it is just another populist sop, like what the government keeps throwing about.

[caption id="attachment_335367" align="aligncenter" width="500"] US President-elect Donald Trump, the real estate businessman, has been selected as TIME’s 2016 Person of the Year.[/caption]

This is besides the NaMo app, which told the nation that demonetisation had 93 percent support among those used the app to vote on the move, the only high 90s in any poll in this country have been the Delhi Assembly election results of early 2015, where the Aam Aadmi Party won 67 of the 70 seats. Therefore, the ones who voted online and on the app are the uber-gullible, while the ones who voted AAP exercised their democratic right, even if you call them gullible. If the Modi government wants a popular mandate on, say, demonetisation, why doesn’t it call for general elections? Is it because it knows that all the app and online polls are no more than an ego flourish for its leader and his queue-loving, wannabe Desh bhakts?

Just a month after the demonetisation was announced, the deaths are rising, they have crossed 90 now. There is no cash – the finance minister says there is, but the queues outside banks and ATMs are still to diminish. Several videos are doing the rounds of people protesting the “inconvenience” (to quote the Prime Minister) of being turned away when they want to draw their own money. The BJP and its Twitter apparatchiki say they have to bear it for just a “few more days”, the latest figure is “10-15 days”, as claimed by the Centre in the Supreme Court. The apex body, meanwhile, has kept away from substantive intervention on the draconian, clueless move. When the Rajya Sabha Opposition calls for the government to go since it is anti-poor and anti-farmer, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu says the results in the bypolls and the TIME Online Poll for Person of the Year are enough proof of the Modi government’s popularity. Facepalm indeed.

With the Prime Minister refusing to break his silence in Parliament, it is being said that the Opposition has held up the House. The PM instead goes to Gujarat like he did on December 10 and says he is not being allowed to speak. Veteran leader and current margdarshak LK Advani wagged a finger on how the Speaker and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister don’t know their business. But margdarshak though he is, he is the same man who held up many a Lok Sabha session during UPA2. Why should people who had no respect for Parliament before, when they could still nurture hopes of the prime ministerial chair, now wax huffy over the importance of parliamentary protocol?

Similarly, a veteran parliamentarian now inhabits the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He, of all people, sheds tears over parliamentary disruption after suffering the same at BJP hands? The President should remember that he doesn’t need to extol the virtues of democracy, he should continue to adorn the ceremonial post – a 21st-century stand-in for the British Viceroy, the last of whom was Lord Louis Mountbatten. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was lampooned in the celebrated cartoon by Abu Abraham, signing the Emergency declaration while in his bathtub. The President should allow political parties the room to deal with how they wish to carry on with their parliamentary work. Lessons and lectures, no please.