The indefatigable ‘Twitterar’, Shashi Tharoor, has said that ‘khichdi’ is good for a patient. He is obviously implying that the nation is ill in some way and requires the khichdi government that Prime Minister Modi is warning everybody against. Whether the nation is ill or on the path of recovery from a past malaise is the question being debated in the ongoing election. To serve ‘khichdi’ to a person on the premise that he is ill, when he is not, would render life pretty bland and meaningless, indeed. Also, in the process of making the dish, if even poisonous materials are used simply to build up the quantity (numbers in a democracy), the patient would be dispatched pretty quickly to another world.
In this context, it would be pertinent to take note of a NYT report, in which Democrat Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, has urged her party to distance itself from the extreme left and other radical ideologies it has come to be associated with. This is so that the moderates can regain faith in the Democratic Party, having been scared by its stance on many issues to either not vote, or go the Republican way. Those who have seen the process that has brought Donald Trump to the White House will testify how the likes of Bernie Sanders have taken the liberals into a level of political correctness that too many people cannot identify with. (Jeremy Corbyn has similarly done the same for the Labour Party in the UK.)
What lesson is there in this for India’s opposition? Instead of being so smugly confident of its moral superiority, simply because the BJP can be easily targeted for its ‘exclusivist’ Hindutva, it fails to see how it has compromised on the principles it claims to uphold. The Congress party, in particular, has made all sorts of concessions as it has desperately searched for allies in the battle against Modi. These are the toxic elements that will poison whatever Khichdi Tharoor may want cooked up. Similar compromises are being made by every other possible participant in a grand post election alliance, should the BJP fall short. A closer examination of PM Modi’s speeches would show how, depending on where he is, he raises these very concerns with the public. The Congress could have rediscovered itself by going back to its (Mahatma) Gandhian roots, but has found itself stuck in dynastic mode, instead. It may be necessary, therefore, for the people to administer some more shock treatment to bring it back to its senses.