We present here a guest post from the esteemed Mani Shankar Aiyar who extensively blogs for NDTV. Though he is known for the company he keeps – be it in Pakistan or Kashmir or even Delhi – this is the very first time he has stooped so low where he writes for a fake news website like NoisyIndia in his characteristic style.
Living in Delhi is a daunting task- specially during the months of May and June. The temperatures sore and the rain fall is scarce. I had learnt this early in my days as a speechwriter in Prime Minister’s Office. Then, Rajiv Gandhi had observed that Apna Utsav footfalls were declining after six months of their launch in November 1986. In a weekly meeting of his critical core counselor committee , Rajiv was thinking how to increase the foot falls in the Utsav so that its success for the organizers could be sealed. I must include the quote he gave from Jawaharlal Nehru’s letters to Indira Gandhi where Nehru writes (and I reproduce) -“Delhi is hot in may and June , so do not bring any shawls or sweaters when you come here.” Such vision and wisdom is now completely missing from the Prime Minister or any other office of the government for that matter.
The Modi government is now playing to end another legacy of Nehru, Indira and Rajiv. These months are slowly becoming cooler due to rains over the weekends. There has been a drop of 3 degrees which translates on 9.8% drop in May temperatures, as compared to the temperatures during Rajiv Gandhi, ever since the Modi government came to power in 2014. Comparing the same statistics during UPA 1 and UPA II led by Manmohan Singh and guided by Sonia Gandhi , the average temperature were only 0.5% less than the golden days of Rajiv Gandhi.
The “Nationalist” brigade is again on its vociferous best claiming that lower temperatures are good for people. As Rahul Gandhi pointed out in his speech in the parliament during the winter session of 2016, this BJP government is an expert at projecting their abject failures as stupendous successes. The entire RSS and Bajrang Dal propaganda machinery is being used to prove that lower temperatures are a relief to the people of Delhi and all voices against that are being vociferously being drowned in the noise. I think when they said “acchey din” , the second word was an English word and not the Hindi one that generally believed.
There are hushed voices of sensibilities in Delhi. There is a senior IAS officer , who I can’t name as he is a good friend and somehow trying to do the right thing , in spite of being in the middle of narcissist forces at helm in the central government. He categorically told me that when rain comes and temperature drops, there is an imminent risk of breeding of Dengue mosquitoes. We already know that people of Delhi fight the Dengue war on their own due to the inept municipalities of Delhi – except NDMC.
It would be worth mentioning here that it was Rajiv Gandhi’s idea to keep NDMC out of the hands of politicians. I still vividly remember the day when a group of politicians from the opposition parties came to meet him, and were cajoling him to have elections in NDMC like MCD (which was a single entity then). The same politicians who called him names outside , were now figuratively at his feet – so that they have at least something to rule. There was also some sane voices like HKL Bhagat in the group who vehemently denied that there was a need of elections in NDMC. I still remember what Rajiv said that day. After listening to all arguments and counter arguments he said – “NDMC is an old municipality , but a young corporation. I am young, and I too have a dream. A dream of a NDMC that is strong , independent of politics, self reliant , and in the front rank of the municipal corporations of the country.” And that vision enabled a Dengue-free NDMC last year.
But the Modi government at the center and his absolutely inexperienced corporators in MCD – whose election is still under a sword of suspicion , have ensured that this supposedly good weather will make NDMC’s life tough too. As the experts are pointing out , the rains and lower temperature will aid the breeding of Dengue and Chikunguniya mosquitoes, while the Central Govt, State Govt and MCDs keep fighting among themselves. The Kejriwal government lacks the leadership and vision provided to Sheila Dixit government by Sonia Gandhi then – and it will go further in making this city a home of blood sucking parasites. Alas !
(Mani Shankar Aiyar is former Congress MP, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – and of course he has not written this post himself. )
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