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PM Modi on hunger strike: Why fast is the new flavour this election season

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    New Delhi, April 12: After the chhole bhature 'prank' by the Congress leaders, it's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's turn to pull a 'fast' one on the common man. As if it was not bad enough for the poor and the homeless to sleep on empty stomachs, it seems now they have to witness the customary prime-time soap opera by our well-meaning politicians. Or even better, a reality show--'big bhooka house' or 'kaun banega sabse bada ullu'.

    In the past few months, from Jharkhand to Karnataka, starvation deaths have been reported from various parts of the country. Of course, it would be unfair to expect the political class to be aware of every little death. If only the smelly masses could have their way, they would want the PM and the Congress president Rahul Gandhi to keep track of every "nimn star ke log".

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    PM Modi has reasons to be shaken by the gory news of Parliament disruptions. After all, it's happening for the first time that the opposition didn't let the House function. Rapes and murders of eight-year-olds keep happening.

    That such crimes are being executed inside a temple shouldn't shock us at all so long as those inside the temple of democracy are safe. Also, it's not the PM who is responsible to ensure that 11-year-olds don't starve to death. It's the responsibility of their parents to make sure they have their Aadhaar cards.

    Fast as a weapon of protest has a long history in India. While the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, and his fellow freedom fighters went on hunger strikes on several occasions against the British, it was foolish of them to think it would be easy to convince the colonisers.

    It was equally foolish of Irom Sharmila to go on fast for 16 long years, only to break it finally as the state refused to budge and repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA.

    Indians should understand that a fast is worth its salt only when it involves a certain Modi or a Rahul. That the common man needs to walk barefoot for a thousand miles to remind the government of its duties in itself is an announcement of the death of democracy. Because only rulers rule, governments are supposed to govern.

    But what is being played out in the country at present is not governance. Sadly, it doesn't even qualify to be called rule, the only nouns that come to mind are misrule, lawlessness.

    While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the ruling party has failed in its primary duty to safeguard basic human rights, the role of the Opposition has been equally unmentionable. With elections to the high-stakes Karnataka Assembly just around the corner and the General Election a year away (in case we are not in for snap polls), both the Congress and the BJP have stepped on the gas.

    Amid all the hullabaloo, suddenly the two parties have hit upon the idea of staging hunger strikes. Well, in any case, the joke is on those watching the great tamasha called Indian democracy.

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