Almost 20 people died on May 15 when an under-construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi but since India’s media and the rest of this great country was waiting with bated breath on what would be the victory margin of the BJP in Karnataka. Here’s what should have been said yesterday. Thanks to the sudden change in political atmosphere and rivals becoming warriors in the fight against the BJP after the polls, the drama is on and looks set to be a long-winding saas-bahu serial in Karnataka with the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular joining the goulash.
Given this correspondent’s habit to go off on the tangent, let us quickly imagine what if such a thing had happened in Delhi (tauba, tauba). People would be asking for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to be sacked and sent to Mars or Neptune or other obscene planets. The BJP would have demanded the Aam Aadmi Party be disbanded and buried like the seed of a mango, the joy-giving summer fruit, over which friends and family war at the dinner table or on social media.
There is a tiny weeny problem though. Kejriwal only contested for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat and lost to none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. So should PM Modi own up to the disgusting way in which people who voted for him died in the twisted mangle of their vehicles, concrete and sweat in helpless desperation because a concrete slab fell off?
In the run-up to the West Bengal Assembly polls in 2016, Modi had gone on the offensive when a flyover had collapsed in Kolkata’s Girish Park neighbourhood on March 31 that year. Much like in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and elsewhere, Modi has been the PM as well as the BJP’s main rabble-rousing demagogue. Some may have noticed the same themes returning like a frayed record, Gandhi dynasty, Babar-Akbar-Aurangzeb, cow etc and the total refusal to mention his government’s gargantuan failures like demonetisation and lack of jobs or growth etc. That is also because he is the only big speaker. There is no one else in that party.
In his April 7 speech in Madarihat near the Torsha river, Modi made a reference to the statement by the official of the company building the flyover that it had been an act of God. The PM said, “This is not an act of God, it is an act of fraud.” He was hinting that Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress had been complacent or been negligent leading to the flyover collapse. “It is also an act of God only because it has happened before the polls and you can choose to either elect her or vote for the BJP. That is why God has given you an opportunity,” he said. But Bengal didn’t fall for the hectoring in the speech. The BJP couldn’t dislodge the Mamata Banerjee government.
Now two years later in 2018, what would the Prime Minister like to say to the MP under whose constituency the accident occurred or to the state government?
Besides the official of the company building the now-collapsed flyover in Varanasi has said thunderstorms were to blame for the collapse. Is this how one thanks a state that sent 71 MPs of your party to the Lok Sabha? The government is of the BJP, shepherded by a math pontiff, the company building the bridge is under Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is still safe without being censured.
How else does one react when in your constituency a flyover is being built which would not last an ordinary thunderstorm? What of other bigger dangers lurking under the earth?