India’s COVID-19 second-wave outbreak has been a major setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. International mainstream media’s opprobrium is heaped on him for sheer mismanagement. Even renowned medical journals like Lancet and pusillanimous bodies like the Indian Medical Association (IMA) are accusing Modi of being the catalyst of the colossal failure of the public health system. As Modi’s failure to curb the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his carefully manufactured popularity, the big question is how will he regain the lost ground?
The COVID-19 crisis is spiralling, and, at present, there is no visible solution to curb the menace. Rather than recognising the existence of the issue, the Modi regime, driven by sheer hubris, kept relaying religiously until the end of April 2021 that everything is under control. When the cover was blown, the regime ordered its toady press to blame the ‘system’ rather than the prime minister for the mess. Journalists are under due pressure, which prevents them from criticising Modi’s failure to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, but the foreign press’s no-holds-barred criticism has played a pivotal role in exposing his incompetence as well as that of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Now, to curtail the media’s coverage of the COVID-19 crisis, rather than curbing the pandemic itself, the BJP has upped its ante against ‘vested interests’. Its dreaded IT Cell is deployed to peddle fake news around the COVID-19 crisis. Prakash Javadekar, a Union minister and BJP leader, conducted a strategy meeting to enhance the Modi regime’s image before the global audience as well as to bedazzle the domestic vote bank. BJP chief JP Nadda wrote a harsh letter to the Congress party’s working president Sonia Gandhi, asking the Opposition to desist from criticising the Modi regime on its COVID-19 goof up.
In this scenario, the incessant exposure of Modi’s failure to curb the COVID-19 pandemic by the foreign big media houses like the Time magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Economist and The Guardian, prove that the western monopoly-finance capital-led system is not content with the present situation. This means, the overwhelming support of the global monopoly-finance capital that Modi garnered in his 2014 bid to power and the steam he managed to retain even in 2019, is not going to support him in the long run as discontent is rising in India and it’s perceived that the people’s faith in the ‘system’ is eroding.
With the fall of Donald Trump in the US, his rival corporate lobby is in command in the US with Joe Biden as their representative. This also means that the very monopoly-finance capital that supported Trump’s reckless protectionist policies are now reinvesting in Biden’s classical globalisation agenda. With the lobby that supported Modi in the US and the west getting replaced by another one, it’s hard for the BJP to tackle the situation.
Under Modi, India stands at a juncture where megalomaniac fantasies, especially of building a new capital city—Central Vista, a replica of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Germania’ project—amid the COVID-19 pandemic, showed the priorities of the government. The people can’t cremate their loved ones, whose bodies are now flowing in rivers, the state’s role is absent in the distribution of oxygen, hospital beds, medicines, etc. In this scenario, with Modi’s falling popularity graph comes another threat.
History warns us that the BJP has always resorted to jingoism and xenophobia whenever it faced high tides of anti-establishment fervour. Be it the Kargil War of 1999, the 2002 Gujarat pogrom or the 2019 Pulwama blast and the subsequent Balakote ‘surgical strike’, the BJP has used a template to titillate the susceptible Hindu minds and win elections. It creates favourable optics based on jingoism to garner mass support. Under Modi, this machinery has upgraded itself to an industrial scale
Now, as Modi’s failure to curb the COVID-19 pandemic turns the people’s resentment against his regime, the old template may be used again, either as a border skirmish, a terrorist strike or a communal pogrom. There is a need to warn the Indian people and unify them against such heinous conspiracies. To save India, the Modi regime must go. There’s no middle course.