The austerity drive

Posted: September 15, 2009 in Rahul Gandhi

Trust the Government to cash in on austerity and the media to turn it into a bloody three-ringed circus.

Ever since the Prime Minister announced that his government will cut down on costs, everyone’s on overdrive. Ministers are told to shift out of their 5 Star accommodations and MPs are asked to travel Economy instead of Business Class, etc etc. That’s all very nice.

But then along comes the drama queen from 10 Janpath, who the papers and channels fawn over because she actually travelled Economy Class, while her son travelled by Shatabdi. So what’s the big deal if Little Lord Fauntleroy went by train to Ludhiana? It’s anyway better known as the rich man’s train.

Now anyone and everyone in government is busy announcing to the world (read media) that he or she too travelled Economy. They almost make the terms ‘Economy Class’ and ‘train travel’ sound like a cross they have to bear for the damned.

They even had a TV crew following him into the train. Can you believe that, his exalted feet were actually touching the dirty New Delhi railway platform…look, look he’s stepping into the train…! We had an in-depth report about where mother and son sat – front row, left hand corner, window seat, etc etc. I am surprised most of the channels didn’t have a reporter tagging along to give viewers a blow-by-blow account of what transpired with the VIPs.

I wonder if they had a doctor waiting at Ludhiana station to check Master G’s pulse and heartbeat after his ‘exhausting’ journey in air conditioned comfort.

Don’t be surprised if some TV Channel flashes a picture of a water bottle and announces dramatically “This is the bottle from which Rahul Gandhi sipped his water throughout the journey… and here’s the half-eaten palak paneer that he left behind.”

But will all this drama and hype help the starving farmers and their families in Vidarbha, Orissa, MP or UP?

In a country where one square meal for a poor villager comprises rats and lizards and not rice and dal; Where a mother sells one child so she can feed the other; Where minor girls are sold to brothels to keep the home fires burning; Where food and blankets meant for flood victims are sold by greedy officials in the open market, does it surprise you that 60 per cent of the population still lives a hand-to-mouth existence and some not even that?

That should tell you exactly how effective are the poverty alleviation schemes of the government. And how effective this equally absurd ‘Economy drive’ is going to be…

  1. Anonymous says:

    So what do you expect them to do? Start living frugal lives eating only rice and dal? Or maybe worse, maybe starve like the Vidarbha farmers? A few of them should even commit suicide just to see how they are suffering, right?Besides, what have WE as the common man ever done for causes like this? And just then when some ministers are actually doing something which atleast looks a bit NOBLE, some people still want to make fun of it. Wow….nothing can be done with a innocent heart anymore…

  2. Anonymous says:

    The country's freedom was won by the blood, sweat and tears of the middle class. Look at any freedom fighter – famous or forgotten and you will see that he/she was from a educated middle class background. After independence, the descendants of same middle class heroes rested on their family laurels and slowly let the country go to ruin, while using the new found independence to make money in the name of development. They distanced themselves from the hoi polloi, whom they had led and inspired until 1947 and classified them as labour. The lacuna in the political scene was filled up by an ill-educated, malfeasant, opportunistic class of people who were or served the erstwhile feudal class. This class was sidelined and kept in check during the later stages of British rule and the early stages of the Gandhi-Nehru-Patel leadership. When this stage was over and the educated, worldly and fairly honest middle class begged off from managing the nation and sacrificing their creature comforts, the feudal remnants and their hangers-on took over. The rot set in and we are reaping the harvest. Its no use complaining. We send our kids to IIT, IIM and American colleges spending huge amounts of money and quality time and are then happy when the kids get overpaid jobs selling colas. We have sold our hard won nation back to the feudal lords for a pittance. We have forgotten the bloody sacrifices our grandfathers made. We have forgotten the heritage our education gives us and the duties it demands of us. We have got so complacent that we no longer bother to even cast our vote.Nandu

  3. Sumeet says:

    I agree with Nandu's comments. If Rahul Gandhi chooses to fly coach or travel by train (airconditioned class or not), I'm all for praising him for at least setting a trend. The media should lay off from sensationalising the issue, but then they are desparate for TRP's in a very competitive landscape comprising of an immature audience (mostly) used to being fed on this kind of programming. I look forward to sitting next to an MP in economy class in the near future

  4. janhavi says:

    Let Rahul Gandhi travels by a train or by plane or any which way he wants. Does any one really bother ???What people expect are results, efforts and changes in the conditions of people who are suffering from ill management and lack of help. But me to agree with the fact that Government do cash in on austerity. Thats proven time and again !!!

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