Gloom hung heavily over the alleged meeting of supposedly Congress party bigwigs. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing a crisis,’ said a big shot despondently. ‘Are we going to lose another election?’ asked an alarmed member. ‘It’s much worse than that,’ said the biggest bigwig, ‘if things continue to go on like this, we may have no option but to let Parliament function again.’
The members were horror-struck. The biggest bigwig continued unhappily, ‘It was all right when we had the Dadri lynching to block Parliament. Then there were the beef bans, which were good ammunition. The intolerance stuff wasn’t all that hot, but then all those artists returned their awards and helped us. But we’re on slippery ground agitating over this National Herald business. This vendetta thingy is pretty weak, you know, what with the prime minister inviting us for tea and the finance minister bending backwards for us.’
‘Where oh where is Yogi Adityanath?’ wailed a flunkey. ‘Why are Sadhvi Prachi, Sanjeev Baliyan and the Haryana chief minister being muzzled?’ thundered a big shot. ‘It smacks of intolerance,’ he added. ‘Even General VK Singh hasn’t put his foot in his mouth for weeks’, said a heavyweight sadly, ‘It’s a vast conspiracy to malign us.’
The very big shot said they had to search really hard for reasons to stall Parliament. ‘Aren’t there any more scams happening, whatever happened to Lalit Modi?’ asked somebody hopefully. An old-time trade unionist reminisced, his eyes shining at the memory, ‘During my heyday we organised a strike because the size of the bananas they served in the office canteen was too small. Could we protest against the bananas served in the Parliament canteen?’
The biggest bigwig continued, ‘If we can’t stall Parliament they might pass all kinds of reforms that might perk up the economy and then where would we be. Why, they might even pass the GST,’ he said sorrowfully. In the horrified silence you could hear one bigwig mutter to another, ‘What’s GST?’ and the other retorting, ‘It stands for a Gloriously Sexy Thing, you nitwit, it’s like Viagra for the economy.’
‘Could we pin the blame for the Chennai floods on the government neglecting the environment?’ asked a ninny, clutching at straws. Another’s query whether rural distress couldn’t be used as an excuse drew applause, but a wise one said rural distress was good for anti-incumbency. There was an awkward silence after someone said they should learn from the prime minister, who as chief minister of Gujarat had successfully blocked GST for years. ‘Why on earth don’t they ban something?’ was the plaintive cry.
That was when a party member rushed in excitedly. ‘All hell has broken loose. There’s been a raid on the Delhi chief minister’s office.’ A great sigh of relief went up from the bigwigs. The youngsters shouted in joy. ‘The vendetta thingy has just got a new lease of life, folks, it’s back to protesting as usual’ exclaimed the biggest bigwig, grinning ear to ear. They then had sweets to celebrate and marched jubilantly to Parliament.
(Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed are personal.)