Signals from Varanasi

While Mr Modi didn't address these issues, the girls were lathicharged.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated himself to his constituency, Varanasi, with all the trappings of a high-powered, high-security VVIP visit over two days last week, although it is unclear how much impact Mr Modi’s dramatic words carry these days. The most stunning thing Mr Modi said on Saturday was that his party didn’t do things to get votes, while accusing opponents of so-called votebank politics. This is an astonishing claim for any political leader.

The shrill pitch frequently made to remind Hindus constantly of their identity rooted in past cultural practices is pure votebank stuff. No one is likely to read any other meaning into this. In the same way, the energetic extolling of Dr B.R. Ambedkar while Hindutva outfits routinely vent their ire on dalits is also clearly related to efforts made to bag votes.

In Varanasi, the Prime Minister went over old ground — Swachchh Bharat, ending corruption, creating housing for all in the next five years, and getting jobs for youth. But nothing has transpired on any of these to inspire confidence.

The praise of Yogi Adityanath’s government also appears misplaced to many given that UP is going through a spell of serious law and order difficulties and massive deficiency in the health sector, that recently led to the deaths of scores of infants at a government hospital.

Outside the gate of BHU, the famous university at Varanasi, over 1,000 girl students staged a protest to draw the Prime Minister’s attention to sexual violence and discrimination. While Mr Modi didn’t address these issues, the girls were lathicharged.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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