By Sushil Kutty
The uncharitable will say Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy should have given way to the ambulance much earlier, not wait for a turn in the road, and that the ambulance, on a medical emergency, must have been held up on the straight behind Modi’s poll-festooned saffron-garlanded SUV for kilometres. The nasty fellow will ask if the PM shouldn’t have known that a medical emergency could happen anytime, why the roadshow at all?
The long and short is, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stopped his convoy; brought to a momentary halt his “massive roadshow”. For the crowds lined up on both sides of the route, the PM’s SUV giving way to the ambulance, his SPG security detail waving the ambulance past, was proof of how sensitive and considerate Modi was, definitely worth his weight in votes for the BJP MLA candidate owning that stretch of the blacktop.
Luckily, for the Prime Minister, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge wasn’t one of them in the crowd of rubberneckers lining up the road banks. What if the intrepid Congress head had chanced a sneak-peek and found the ambulance carrying only hot air, and a forlorn stretcher! Anything is possible in elections, like everything is allowed in love and war, and this was both!
Political parties and poll-gimmicks come and go together. The Modi roadshow had to cover a 50-km distance, plenty of time and space for a medical emergency to chase and tailgate the convoy. And like the Gandhinagar wag said, this wasn’t the first time PM Modi broke the monotony of waving his hands to help an ambulance get past in an all-fired hurry, siren blaring.
He had done the same for an ambulance in Himachal Pradesh when campaigning for a BJP candidate in Kangra. The fact is, there are ambulance-chasers, and there are ambulances chasing prime ministers. Besides, like the Congress President said, PM Modi is omnipresent, in addition to being omnipotent.
Give him elections to campaign for, and he will be here, there and everywhere, stopping his convoy to give way to ambulances. Earlier, during a visit to Gujarat on September 30, Prime Minister Modi’s convoy waved past an ambulance in Ahmedabad. The Gujarati media reported in awe that the PM’s convoy “stopped in alignment” to give the ambulance right of way. Modi was on his way to Gandhinagar from Ahmedabad.
By now every ambulance must recognize PM Modi’s convoy, especially his specially-fitted SUV, like long lost cousins at the Khumb! So much so, it is a given that PM Modi’s roadshows cannot move and come to a halt without an ambulance to show up behind. Adani-evicted NDTV-celeb ‘anchor’ and Modi-expert Ravish Kumar will be able to better explain Modi’s popularity with ambulances.
The two share a hate-hate relationship. And, now, one is smarting, and the other must be thinking he’s smart. Ravish Kumar is no longer primetime anchor, he’s YouTube “influencer” with 2 million and counting subscribers, thanks to Modi’s capitalist pal Gautam Adani who while bagging NDTV has also gotten hold of the Dharavi slum redevelopment contract, another omnipresent omnipotent Gujarati doyen.
But will the Gujarati electorate show the same loyalty to Narendra Modi as do Gujarati multi-billionaires, ones like Gautam Adani, and plausibly Ambani? Going by the breakneck speed of campaigning, the pressure seems to be on the Prime Minister. Truly, like Kharge said, the Prime Minister cannot have enough campaigning. He’s everywhere, tireless like the Spanish matador and the Mexican bull.
At this rate, he would have met every ambulance in Gujarat. Of course, the ‘Ravana’ jibe shouldn’t have been made. Kharge had no business bringing Ravana into the fray. This was the second time the ‘asura’ king was punished for Lord Rama’s mistake to have left Sita alone. Earlier, this year, the makers of ‘Adipurush’ made a mockery of his looks, and now Kharge, a south Indian to boot!
Ravana is respected in South India. Even in Tamil Nadu where Brahmins are persona non grata, and Ravana the most famous Brahmin. Union Home Minister Amit Shah does not think so. He says the Gujarat electorate will answer Kharge’s Ravana jibe with the “ballot box”.
For no reason at all, the Congress always shoots itself in the foot with its mouth. It did it in 2017, and it has done it this time, too. And every time it does this, it makes the Prime Minister a hyper-combative campaigner. Rahul Gandhi is younger by the decades, but silver-haired Modi is the one walking away with the marathon. And then, Ravish Kumar complains India is going to the dogs! Bet this is one ambulance Modi’s SUV will not give way to! (IPA Service)