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15 Dec 2016

Cash crisis? Minister tells a Modiji tale

J.P. YADAV, TT, New Delhi, Dec. 14: They came, they cried about demonetisation and they prayed for an end to the "raid raj".
In return, they were fed a lecture on Narendra Modi's greatness and a story on how the Prime Minister foiled an attempt by the West to claim guardianship over the tripartite motto of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity and how he ensured China could not oppose when India carried out purported surgical strikes in Pakistan.
The incongruous exchange unfolded when small-industry owners associated with an RSS-backed organisation today complained that demonetisation was set to break their back and pleaded with the government to end "tax terrorism".
But junior finance minister Arjun Ram Meghwal urged the worried entrepreneurs to have faith in the economic model of the Prime Minister and assured them of lower interest rates.
"In the short term, you may face problems but in the long run, you will be so happy that you will call me again and felicitate me.... The government is working in your and the country's interest," Meghwal told a seminar organised by the Laghu Udyog Bharati, an organisation affiliated to the RSS.
A survey, carried out by the organisation and presented to the minister, painted a grim picture.
O.P. Gupta, a former general secretary of the Laghu Udyog Bharati, raised a thicket of red flags: "Many small industries have been forced to shut shop, the cash crunch has reduced demand by up to 50 per cent, mass layoffs are taking place, we may be compelled to default on loan payments, more than 70 per cent of small-industry owners fear a slowdown, if urgent measures are not taken, the backbone of small industries will break."
Gupta said the Prime Minister talked about "minimum government and maximum governance" but it was not happening on the ground. "Tax officials have been given discretionary powers. It is leading to tax terrorism. Genuine cash is being painted as black money. Raid and terror raj should end," Gupta pleaded.
Meghwal, the junior minister, started by pointing out that the picture presented before him suggested demonetisation was a wrong step. The minister said Modi was following the economic model propounded by Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya and urged the members to have patience and faith in the leadership of the Prime Minister. He assured them that their problems would be communicated to Modi and action taken.
Meghwal then asked: "In these two-and-a-half years, did you find any instance that showed Modiji was indulging in corruption?"
The audience chorused: "No."
The minister asked: "Then why do you feel that Modiji can break your back?"
Meghwal narrated a story to suggest that Modi never brooks any wrong.
At a G20 meeting held in China recently, one head of a state claimed that the West had gifted the world the concepts of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
"Modiji got restless and told the leaders he wanted to speak. He was told that he could speak only when his turn comes. Modiji told them to change his turn as he is unable to control himself," Meghwal recounted.
"Modiji spoke and he said the concept of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity was Indian and not western. The western leaders asked 'how'?
"Modiji told the G20 leaders that at the time of the French Revolution, India was under British dominion and so the western nations wrote history as they willed.
"Modiji told them that the concept of Liberty comes from the Republic of Vaishali. There is Liberty when there is a Republic and Vaishali was the first republic of the world, much before the French Revolution," Meghwal said.
The western leaders then asked about Equality?
"Modiji told them that the concept of Equality was given by Buddha to the world. Modiji turned towards the Chinese leader and asked whether it was not so and he nodded," Meghwal said.
"'What about Fraternity?' The western leaders asked. Modiji said the concept of Fraternity was given by Guru Nanak."
Meghwal said that although the concept of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity was propounded in Hinduism, he was avoiding the subject since me may be accused of indulging in politics.
"Then Modiji bowled a googly. Modiji glanced at the Chinese leader and said whatever western philosophers might be saying about Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, they have acknowledged that the 21st century was Asia's. The Chinese leader agreed.
"When the Chinese head agreed, Modiji said that Asia can prosper only if terrorism was eradicated and sought China's support to combat terrorism. The Chinese leader had no option but to agree. Then Modiji returned to India and the army launched surgical strikes in Pakistan. China could not oppose it," Meghwal.
Amid sporadic applause, the minister renewed his mantra: have faith in the leadership of Modiji.

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