I.N.D.I.A, YES, with the dots—don’t confuse with India, that is Bharat—could not have been much pleased with a recent opinion poll by a well-regarded psephologist for a television news channel. Done days after the high-octane launch of the 26-strong hydra-headed alliance in Bengaluru, it gave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 292 seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha election—a loss of 11 seats from 2019. BJP can live with that. The survey also predicted that BJP’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies would win 40-odd seats on their own. The rest of the findings were of peripheral interest. Simply put, the voter mood revealed a strong Modi factor.
Broadly, the respondents considered Modi a strong and charismatic leader who alone could stand up to a belligerent China and a hostile Pakistan. Also, a large section believed only Modi could provide a stable government. His frequent global forays, too, seemed to have impressed a lot of people who believe he had raised the international profile of the country. Last but not least, there was no one in the opposition to provide a strong and stable government.
Rahul Gandhi’s popular ratings may have improved following the Bharat Jodo Yatra but he has a lot of ground to cover before he can catch up with Modi. As of now, Modi is a strong contender for a third successive term.
Meanwhile, I was not surprised that the Godi media—the one which is in bed with the Congress-led opposition—did not even take note of the survey. For, they are two sides of the same coin, one rooting unabashedly for the ruling party, and the other equally unabashedly for the opposition. Being fair and objective is not for them. Were you to watch the nightly YouTube outpourings of the Opposition Godi Media (OGM), there is no pretence of impartiality, the single-minded agenda being to attack Modi. Journalism as a public good is not for those who hanker after awards from little-known foreign do-gooders passing judgment from afar on how Indians should organise their affairs, the hangover of the white man’s burden syndrome.
CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA (CJI) DY Chandrachud recently pulled up a judge of the Allahabad High Court who had sought an explanation from a top railway official for the ‘inconvenience’ caused to ‘His Highness’ while travelling from Delhi to Prayagraj. In a letter sent to chief justices of all high courts, the CJI disapproved of judges misusing protocol to harass others. Apparently, His Lordship was miffed at the poor pantry service. This is not an isolated case. A few days ago, a letter surfaced on social media about a Delhi High Court judge shooting off an angry letter to a senior police official demanding that security officers posted at his bungalow be “immediately suspended” because His Lordship’s pet dog had gone missing. Whether for this reason or something else, said judge was transferred to the Calcutta High Court.
A Delhi High Court judge, who has since retired, rang up the police officer of his district, complaining, “My Montblanc pen is stolen.” The police officer did not know what to do. Fed up with daily calls, he ordered his majordomo to get a Montblanc from somewhere and “Judge Saheb key sirr mein maro”, or words to that effect.
However, members of the higher judiciary aren’t alone to throw their weight around. Sometime ago, the pet dog of the then-deputy chairman of the Planning Commission disappeared. Led by the Saheb, the family pestered the local police no end, saying their young son wouldn’t eat until his pet was found. The SHO found a solution to get the high functionary off his back. He put the young son in his jeep and went around, all the while telling the little boy to look for his pet. After two hours of aimless wandering, the boy insisted that he be dropped home. That was that.