Published On : Tue, Dec 13th, 2016

Why so reticent Mr. Chidambaram?


Dear Mr. Chidambaram,

We address this question to you not just as the former Finance Minister of the country but as a senior Congress leader – the main party in opposition now.

As you right pointed out, as an after effect of demonetization, all Indians are suffering, specially the poor and the very poor. Marginalized people and people in the unorganized sector like immigrant labour, daily income earners are the worst hit. They may soon have no money or wherewithal left to feed their families or buy essential things like medicine.

Industrial output is at the lowest, many traditional industries have been closed down since there is no cash to pay labour or purchase raw material. Like the thriving textile hub of Tirpur or the metal industry of Moradabad or carpet makers of UP and Kashmir.

Speaking of Kashmir, we all know the situation is getting from bad to worse when it comes to curbing terrorism. What is worse is that India and the Indian Army seem to have lost on the front of public relations with Kashmiris as they are seeing the slain terrorists as “their heroes” and giving them a heroes funerals.

Many other critical problems are besetting the nation – like you yourself said the situation is worse than being hit by a natural disaster, then why is the Congress so inactive and silent? (Well, that is the perception at least, even among journalists).

At your recently held press conference in Nagpur, that in a way was the most important question we were all trying to ask you – if demonetization is so bad for the nation, why are you not taking a more aggressive stand against it? When asked, why you are not going to the public about its ill effects, you replied – that is the work of the media!

We want to point out to you that we all ARE doing our bit but perplexed and also distressed by the ‘apathy’ of the main opposition. We are getting a sense that you have also fallen prey to the BJP and Modi’s propaganda which is that the common man on the street is still supporting the note ban.

Believe me, it is not so. People, common, middle class city people are also speaking up against it and expressing their ire openly. This writer was witness to it at a recently held conclave on the subject in Nagpur where leaders from many parties spoke. Only the BJP politicians tried to justify it and he was booed down with cries of “You are anti poor” and Shame Shame.

Village people and farmers are even more affected and open to voicing their ire. But are you listening?
Like you said, this move of Modi’s is not against corruption, or counterfeit money or even a move for cashless society but seems to be against the poor themselves.

We know you are on their side, but they need you on the battle ground, leading from the front – otherwise they will be totally lost!

So stop your dithering mild-speak where on the one hand you say people are losing lives and on the other say ‘ this is like Apple pie and Mom and the flag – no one can go against it'( fighting corruption).

Speak up, come out on the battle field and lead from the front. This is your Kurukshetra moment where you cannot be found indecisive.