India on the right track

By Neena Badhwar

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Dr Sambit Patra, who has a ubiquitous presence on all Indian channels, did not have to be loud, for a change, to be heard in Australia on June 18, especially when he was among his own ilk, Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP).

“Oh yes, it does get a bit verbose,” he admitted. “My mother who never watched TV saw me once and gave me one bit of advice: ”˜beta tum auron ko beemar karo par apne ko nahin’,” Dr Patra said to the clapping audience that he followed that rule from then on.

Sambit Patra was in Australia at the invitation of OFBJP to hold a series of discussions with the Indian community in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to highlight Modi Government’s three years of achievements.

He is well qualified as a spokesperson for the BJP, informed and knowledgeable, his verbose style often derailing opponents based on his incisive analysis and logic.

Dr Patra highlighted Prime Minister Modi’s three years in Government – his Swatchh Bharat Abhiyaan, Jan Dhan Yojana, demonetisation, GST, Infrastructure building, Smart Cities and his tireless work all round the clock.

“PM Modi’s everyday talk is about toilets. He is so passionate about the Swatchh Bharat campaign. As the CM of Gujarat, Mr Modi made sure that every school was installed with toilets for girls, the reason being to reduce big drop out in schools as they reached the age of maturity. Everyone thinks of ”˜Roti, Kapda and Makan’ but never think of lack of toilets at homes and how demeaning open defecation can be,” he said.

Dr Patra is all praise for Modi ji who, he thinks, is like Swami Vivekananda, a Yogi politician arriving to lead India. “He is a man of simple thinking. He knows that by providing LPG gas to poor women can win their attention. Modi ji says that it is quite poisonous for women cooking on a chulha.

“Seventy per cent of Indians were outside the banking system,” said Sambit Patra. “If we want India to take a giant leap then these 70 per cent should be included in the Indian economy according to Modi ji.

“Thus 29 crore accounts were opened, a record according to Guinness Book of Records. Modi ji has simple solutions for big problems. He is a fearless politician who did not deter when he applied ”˜notebandi’ (demonetisation). Others prior to him had not the courage because of political fear but not Modi ji. And people of India stood painfully in lines because they believed in him and supported him wholeheartedly.

“India’s partition is one such moment that is etched in our memory and I can say that ”˜notebandi’ is another that has left a lasting impression on the whole of India. Demonetisation speaks of the DNA of India,” he said.

“People listen to Narendra Modi and his appeal to people to give up subsidy given to them for LPG cylinders so that he could distribute gas cylinders to the poor. Thus, two crore and 22 lakh cylinders have been given to people.”

Dr Patra said that ”˜What Modi ji did not do became his biggest asset ”“ that he is corruption free ”“ bhrashtachar free man. Patra took a swipe at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh jestfully that whenever scams happened, he would say ‘Mainu ki pata’, although Patra said he respected him as a well known economist.

“Road construction in Modiji’s time has gone up from 69 km per day to 139 km per day. He is a tireless man and he does not make us rest too. After winning 325 seats in UP, the next day he was off to Odisha to campaign from booth to booth. There is no vacation for him.

“For BJP ”“ ”˜Party is Parivar’ whereas for Congress, ”˜Parivar is Party’. BJP believes in Jazba, Mehnat and Neeyat. We, his team, live by this motto,” Dr Patra said.

Questions from the floor, collected from each table, included Kashmir and section 370.

Dr Patra responded: “We will not just have Kashmir; we will get POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) as well.”  He related a joke and reassured, “Tum Pakistani kal bane the, Kashmir tumhraa kaise ho gaya ”“ it was always ours and will always be ours.”

Dr Patra did, however, agree that radicalisation of Islam was a problem there, condemning the stone-pelting incident and how Major Gogai handled the perpetrators. “If they throw stones then Hindu Kashmiris should throw Mt. Everest on them,” he said excitedly to the clapping audience.

On corruption, Sambit Patra quoted Modi, “Na Khaoonga no khaane doonga.”

“We are talking with the Swiss Government who has recently ruled that the black money stashed over there can be utilised by the Indian government. It will all be announced in 2018,” he said.

“Mayawati, Robert Wadra will all be dealt with through proper judicious process. Congress was not agreeing for the SIT suggested by the Supreme Court. They dithered for two and a half years. Yet, Modi in two and half days formed the SIT. Investigations are going on and many big people will be behind bars. Inke bure din zaroor ayenge. It took 17 years for Lalu to be convicted. Aur inki sab award wapasi bhi hogi,” he regaled the audience.

Dr Patra’s first-hand response to many questions from the audience was indeed enlightening and confidence building that the Indian Government was on the right track. A few questions, however, remained unanswered ”“ if India was more polarised than three years ago; if self-appointed police was a bane of the tolerant Indian society of the yesteryears, etc etc etc.

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