Friends, Romans, Countrymen and future citizens of Pakistan, lend me your ears!
But don’t ask for mine because I only believe in one-way communication. You see, we’re only done with three of the general elections seven phases. The good news is that this is all a formality and everyone knows who the winner is going to be. The bad news is that until this formality is over, the only trips I can take are domestic in nature. This really makes me antsy. So I thought I’d calm myself down by getting a few things off my chest. Think of it as a Mann Ki baat podcast except this time I try to say things that resemble the truth.
I know people love to criticise my foreign trips as staged photo-ops. “What do we get out of them except for a few non-consensual hugs and meme-worthy pictures?”, they ask. Well, what else do you propose I do? Send someone else instead? That’s preposterous!
Have you seen my council of ministers? Out of that entire insane clown posse, only two or three of them are actual functional human beings. I can’t afford to send them away. The External Affairs minister needs to stay home so that she can keep monitoring social media for citizens stranded abroad who require new passports. The Minister for Blogging needs to stay home so that he can continue to manage the media while I maintain plausible deniability. And New Delhi’s best-kept secret is that Minister of Railways is two children wearing an adult man’s suit. So you see, I am the only one who can represent our country abroad.
And why shouldn’t I? Even my fiercest critics have to admit that I’ve bought a whole lot of pizzazz to our staid foreign policy. Not only do I have great working relationships with most heads of state, I also have a great personal equation with them. Why, just a few months ago when I was at the G-20 summit and my best friends Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe were having a conversation, I randomly went up to them and said: “Fun fact: If you take the first letter of Japan, America and India, they form the word JAI, which is Hindi for victory.” Donald looked at me for a second and then turned to yell at his secret service detail about letting random Mexicans into the conference room and Shinzo pretended that his thumb and little finger were a phone device and on which he had to take a very important call. Good times!
Folks criticise me for all sorts of things! Especially when some horrible tragedy happens, they want me to speak up and say things to make people feel better. Why should I do that? I’m not your soothsayer. I’m not here to comfort you. Why do I have to comment on everything? In particular when it is a lose-lose situation for me. Sickulars will never be happy with what I say and my rabid base would outrage at me for betraying the one campaign promise I have kept so far: not showing a smidgen of empathy for the persecuted. Therefore, I pretend that everything is a-okay and go about my business.
Oh, for fudge sake, don’t you play the victim card with me. I invented the victim card! I will screw something up and make you suffer and still end up convincing you that you are the bad guy. If you don’t believe me, just ask those victims of demonetization. I cut their access to their own money and made them stand in long lines outside the bank for a couple of months. Yet, I had most of them convinced that if they complained, it made them a hoarder of black money or worse, a Pakistani agent. You got to admit, that’s just pure genius.
People call me a do-nothing Prime Minister. I take exception to that. I have done so many things! I have re-inaugurated many projects that no one realised were already functional. I have launched many government initiatives that blew most of their budgets on marketing material. I have de-fanged many fledgling government institutions and made them subservient to me. I have taken credit for a lot of other people’s work. The best part is that I didn’t have to actually do anything. I just had to make it look like I was working hard. Hey, don’t blame me for taking advantage of a gullible country.
My critics often ask me why I don’t talk about my achievements instead of spreading communal hatred. Here’s the problem: I don’t have any achievements that I can brag about (without lying). And, frankly, even if we didn’t have historically high joblessness and an economy in the gutter, I’d still be talking about graveyards vs. cremation grounds. You see, that’s the sort of thing that gets people to the voting booth. After all, dividing people in this country is so easy. They’re already pre-disposed to hate each other. All I have to do is add fuel to the fire. Easy peasy!
Which is why I laugh when people who pretend to be in the know predict that my voters will abandon me. Oh, really? Where will they go? I’ve spent more than a decade feeding them propaganda about made-up problems. Who will protect them from the scrooge of Bangladeshi immigrants? Who will save them from listening to the cries of anti-national JNU students? Who do you think will stop the ISI/Mossad/Vatican/CIA funded Congress from turning this country into a minority favouring caliphate? Me, me and of course, me.
So, yes, perhaps some fans and voters will rant and froth from the mouth in rage. They will even curse the day they bought the snake-oil I was selling. But they will never turn away from me. They’re going to support me, no matter what I do. Most of my fans are so loyal they never even admit it to themselves when I do something wrong.
I don’t even have to try very hard for their praise. I could sneeze and Little Bhupendra would show up with a handkerchief to wipe the snot whilst calling the process of my body discharging mucus a brilliant political strategy. I could go for a surprise visit to Pakistan for lunch to declare the end of all hostilities, come back and declare war by dinner, and Sudhir would host a two-hour special commending me for both decisions. I could commandeer a tank, tie an innocent person on its hood and drive around Connaught Place, and the only question the two musketeers at Times Now would ask is why I didn’t use a tighter knot.
I could give an hour-long speech abusing minorities and Tavleen will write a column feigning shock about my behaviour and still finding a way to blame the very minorities I was abusing for my actions while former economist Surjit B will write about how it literally did not happen and anyone who said it did is lying.
Oh, these people are so cute with their title kowtow to power I would give them a hug if I cared about their existence. However, the only supporters I care about are the small group of people who really control the country: our billionaires.
Now I know what some unscrupulous people allege. There is no quid pro quo in my relationship with them. Let me assure you, there is no truth in such rumours. All those billionaires allegedly donating to my campaigns must be doing it out of the goodness of their heart. We are so lucky. Usually these savvy businessmen won’t give a penny to their own mothers if it doesn’t benefit them. But they – again allegedly – gave more money to my campaign than the GDP of Burundi and expected nothing in return. Patriotism ahoy!
It pays to have friends in high places. Which is one of the reasons I don’t want you to worry about my election. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve got my thumb on every constitutional institution in the country, while the entire central government machinery is working over-time to get me elected and I’ve got so much money to spend that I can finance more than 2 Ambani weddings a day. Allegedly.
People ask me to what extent I can go to preserve power. The answer: as far as necessary. It took me years to get to where I am now. I’m not going to give up so easily. There is no line I won’t cross, no kitchen sink I won’t throw at the opposition, no barrel whose bottom I won’t scrape. Hell, if I could get my hands on some of his DNA I’d clone Nathuram Godse and give him a Lok Sabha ticket from Gandhinagar. I’ll do whatever it takes, man.
Who is going to stop me anyway? A divided opposition that can’t even get its act together when the very existence of the republic is threatened? The election commission that I fondly call The Committee to Elect Narendra Modi? Or the media that is so deeply embedded inside my pocket that they’re covered in lint? I don’t think so!
So, dear citizen, you’re in for a bumpy ride. Buckle the hell up.