A Jain lady, who voted for Modi’s party – primarily because she is from Gujarat and secondarily because – in her own words – he put those people in their place – told me this:
“Modi Saa’b is very brave. He takes big risks. That is OK. I stood in a queue for two days, but then a bank clerk who is related to me promised to arrange Rs. 4000 for me if I gave the passbook to him. So I am free today. But I am not happy.”
“Considering the people who can’t get Rs. 4000 for their father’s or mother’s funeral, you ought to be very happy,” I said.
“Look. Modi is like a man who did not learn to ride a motorbike. He is very enthusiastic, and very brave. So he sat on the bike, slid off the stand and kick-started the bike. But he does not know where to go, how to ride to go there.”
“I am surprised you know so much about riding a motorbike,” I said: “But that is not a fair assumption. He has said this impasse was expected. That everything will be fine in fifty days.”
“I can wait sixty days. If I die in the meanwhile that is my children’s problem. But look at these figures,” she said,
Then she reeled out a number of newspaper cuttings in my face.
November 19. Ahmedabad: Officials of the income tax (I-T) department unearthed Rs 20 lakh in the form of new currency notes in the denomination of Rs 2,000 and fresh Rs 100 notes after it raided an old cloth market in the city on Wednesday night. The I-T sleuths on Friday claimed that Hundis across state are under its scanner.
“When I read this, Mujhe pata bhe nahin tha ki yeh do hazar ka note kya hota hai,” (I did not even know that this 2000 rupee note was), she added
December 1. Bengaluru: Income Tax sleuths seize Rs 4.7 crore in new Rs 2000 currency notes from state govt engineers, contractors.
“Tell me, bank has no money, people were sweltering in long queues, where the hell did this money come from?”
I humbly reminded her that I was not from Ahmedabad, I did not vote for Mr. Modi for the reason that he put those people in their places.
She grunted and threw another cutting in front of me.
Dec 8. West Bengal: Former BJP leader Manish Sharma arrested, Rs 2,000 notes worth Rs 33 lakh seized
I told her that Sharma got caught because Didi was the chief Minister. Nobody in Madhya Pradesh had got caught and may never get caught.
Then she showed me a cutting from the Hindustan Times.
Dec.9. Income-tax sleuths conducted raids on sand miners and leading contractors, including Srinivas Reddy, Shekhar Reddy and their agent Prem, and recovered a sum of Rs 90 crore in cash and 100 kg in gold during searches at eight premises.
Shekhar Reddy is said to be connected to several bigwigs (I interjected: Mr. Yeddyurappa can certainly not be excluded)
Sources said that Rs 70 crore of the total Rs 90 crore was in new Rs 2,000 currency notes, which are difficult to come by after demonetisation. The rest of the money, Rs 20 crore, was in the demonetised old currencies.
The newspaper also said that Shekhar Reddy had ‘facilitated’ (a polite term for paid for) Chief Minister Panneer Selvam to visit Tirupati Temple.
“How did they get the money?” she growled at me.
“You tell me,” I said.
She pointed at another paragraph of the Hindustan Times news item, which she had underlined in red ink:
“In another operation, the I-T department recovered 100 gold bars of one kilo each and over Rs 73 crore of cash in Chennai. A cash amount of Rs 8 crore that was unearthed was in new currency notes and the remaining Rs 65 crore in old high currency. A senior official of the tax department told HT that another Rs 10 crore was found in the evening. “The counting for this is still on, the search is continuing and valuation is on…this is the biggest search operation since the demonetisation drive was kicked off,” the official said.”
“Look, Mrs. Jain. This is only the beginning. When Manmohan singh allowed a certain Raja, a minister under him, to be tried and jailed for corruption, you told me the Prime Minister should take the blame. You said he should also take the blame for coal scam. Now no money in the bank, but billions are floating about in the sacred two-thousand rupee notes just beyond the common man’s reach, but whom will you blame?”
“The man who kick-started a bike without knowing to ride it. Mr. Modi” she chuckled..
“This is not the first time,” I opened my laptop and searched out an old Daily Telegraph news item date-lined June 2006. It said:
“Perhaps figuring out that nothing sells like sex, Modi has lent his face to huge crates of condom and contraceptive pills that have suddenly appeared in every ration shop across Gujarat.
The shopkeepers have been asked to open the boxes before every customer, man or woman, of the appropriate age and persuade them to take their pick. Early reports suggest that many customers have found the “gimmick” in bad taste.
The crates, despatched to ration shops this month under an AIDS awareness and family planning scheme called “Kalyan Chhaap”, carry photographs of Modi and his health minister, Ashok Bhatt. Dubbed “condom boxes” by shopkeepers, each contains 1,000 condoms and strips of contraceptives for free distribution.
“We are supposed to keep this box on our counter and open it before our customers, including women, and tell them they can take anything they want,” said a shopkeeper in the chief minister’s Maninagar constituency in Ahmedabad. “But many of my customers, especially women, have taken offence.”
“You can’t blame him for that,” argued Mrs. Jain. “It was necessary to bring down the population. Especially those people were producing like pigs and rabbits.”
“Yes, I know. When he left the Chief Minister’s chair, Gujarat had one of the worst population growth rate in India.
“But he arranged for cheap food packets for children.”
“Gujarat had the third worst case of malnutrition in India and the most stunted girls in the world when Mr. Modi abdicated the CM chair of Gujarat to become PM of India. And he explained that all the poor women in his home state were weight conscious and were not eating enough.” <>
“With no money to buy food, none of us will be eating enough anymore,” said Mrs. Jain.
“And there will be no funerals,” I added