Bengaluru, Feb 5: Imagine if our school teachers too would have taught us how to remember everything about onion, tomato and potato like India's 'new' tutors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and actor-turned-politician Divya Spandana or Ramya. Probably, we would not have been shedding tears over soaring prices of the essential vegetables every day.
On Sunday, the PM, the undisputed master of acronym (remember some of the offerings from Modi's dictionary such as JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile), RSVP (The Gandhis, Rahul Gandhi Sonia, Vadra, Priyanka) and IT + IT + IT (Indian technology plus Indian talent makes India tomorrow), among many others), once again decided to gift farmers (Oops! India's English-obsessed crowd) with TOP.
Explaining what is TOP, Modi told a cheering-crowd in India's IT hub Bengaluru during the culmination of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Parivartana Yatra in Karnataka on Sunday that it stands for tomato, onion and potato. Seriously, TOP tops all the acronyms in Modi's dictionary.
In order to stress on the fact that farmers are his government's top priority, as we have seen in the recent budget which tried its best to woo farmers and rural folks at the expense of urban middle class, Modi in poll-bound Karnataka tried to address the agrarian crisis with another acronym.
"The farmers who grow vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, onions and potatoes that are also top priority for us. Take T from tomato, O from Onion and P from Potato, you get TOP. Farmers are TOP priority for us," Modi said.
However, Modi did not mention a word about the ongoing Mahadayi river dispute between Karnataka and Goa, an issue that has left many farmers in Karnataka worried since they hugely depend on rivers to irrigate their fields.
As consumers of onion, potato and tomato were still struggling to fully understand what TOP was all about, the Congress' social media head, Ramya, came up with her own acronym for the veggies--it is "POT".
Ramya's jibe against Modi's TOP comment, "Is this what happens when you're on POT?" angered several BJP leaders and supporters. However, Twitter loved it.
Is this what happens when you’re on POT? pic.twitter.com/fwSATJoQoP— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) February 4, 2018
The BJP hit back at Ramya for her choice of words with party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao tweeting, "Most people of the country and our party members won't even know what you are referring to (including PM himself) but your Leader will connect with it instantly. While you have insulted people of India with your atrocious comment, your leader will be proud of you!!"
BJP's IT wing head Amit Malviya said more than 3,500 farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka, the highest for any state in India, but "speaking for them is being on 'POT'... Congress keeps it classy, again".
"Will Rahul Gandhi maintain silence on Divya Spandana's comment while he sacked Mani Shankar Aiyar just because his jibe came close to Gujarat election and Karnataka is still some months away? Or sacrificing his close aide, responsible for his rise as a leader, takes some courage?" he asked in a tweet.
The Congress had suspended Aiyar from the party for his "neech" (lowly) jibe at Modi during the Gujarat Assembly polls.
The Twitter on the other hand had a field day over TOP and POT.
I think someone was on POT. pic.twitter.com/jkfFfP3qVG— Chirag (@chirag) February 4, 2018
We've hit a LOW - Loss Of Words!https://t.co/vD0uYccSL7— Venkronym Naidu (@VenkronymNaidu) February 4, 2018
You are a MORON— SANDIPAN MITRA (@SANDIPANMITRA6) February 4, 2018
However, the biggest loser in the TOP, POT politics is the common man. People in India are struggling hard to buy the basic vegetables to be cooked and savoured on a daily basis. According to reports, India has seen 400 per cent rise in onion price in a year.
Prices of onion have failed to come down in many parts of the country and this is probably the first time that the retail price has been over Rs 40-50 per kg for more than six months. Even as smaller markets have seen a marginal rise and fall, the retail prices in the cities are hovering at around Rs 40 a kg, stated a report by The New Indian Express.
Similarly, prices of potato and tomato easily dissuade consumers from buying them.
Currently, a kilogram of potato costs between Rs 25-30 and tomato Rs 9-15. A few months ago in November last year, tomato price increased up to Rs 80 per kilogram.
If the price of vegetables continues to hit the roof, a day is not far away when we have to do away with eating greens too, especially at a time when consumption of meat is considered profane by the right-wing groups.
Without any vegetables or meat, India's palate has definitely turned bitter.