Get Lost, 2016!

Rupa Gulab

It’s time for my year-end award ceremony–the only occasion when I get to decide who wins what!  It’s been a rather sad year for most of us across the world and I doubt 2017 is going to be better. How is it possible with bigots in charge of so many countries (sigh)? Anyway, back to the present.

The Best Official Party Spokesperson of the Year: Mahua Moitra of the TMC. Intelligent and always poised to deliver rapier-like thrusts at her political opponents. She’s a joy to watch and I’m hoping that she’s nominated for a seat in the Rajya Sabha soon. I love the way she makes Chandan Mitra and that other BJP chap with a fake posh English accent (Mr Something Kohli, better known as Wozhisname) wilt like sad old lettuce leaves. She turns them into compost in mere seconds!

The Best Unofficial Party Spokesperson of the Year: Arnab Goswami, former Foghorn at Times Now. This brazen bully who misused his powers to promote the BJP has now resigned or been asked to leave. There’s a lot of gossip out there but, frankly, I don’t care. The nation deserves a break from his nonsensical yowling. The news is that he’s setting up his own channel with the help of two allegedly non-partisan people. One of them is Rajiv Chandrashekar who is supposed to be an Independent Rajya Sabha member but if the BJP (and only the BJP) says that the colour of milk is black, he will heartily agree. The other is a rather rude chap called Mohandas Pai who owns some random institute but is better known for his butcher shop. Mr Non-Sweetie Pai is yearning for the BJP to nominate him to the Rajya Sabha. His wish will probably come true. The BJP loves sycophants much more than other parties do, and rewards them regularly. Check the latest list of Padma awardees if you don’t believe me.

The Most Frightening Deaths of the Year: While the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh led to horrific deaths over the past few years, death-by-bank-queue is the latest killer in India. The demonetisation death toll is 105 till date and the numbers are rising. If I wasn’t fond of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav before, I am now: he gave compensation to the families of those who died waiting to get their own money! Good chap.

The Most Outspoken Politician of the Year: A tie between Arvind Kejriwal (AAP), Derek O’Brien (TMC) and Rahul Gandhi (Congress). All three have said exactly what must be said about the government, though I wish they’d say more! I have to confess that I personally admire O’Brien the most, mainly because of his speech on demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha (on the extremely rare occasion when the prime minister was present). It’s a must-watch, particularly the bits when he spoke about the prime minister’s crocodile tears and his self-image as a messiah. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D93rdFm7Tk

The Laziest MP of the Year: A tie between Narendra Modi, Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha. While I can understand that sports icons and Bollywood stars have better things to do with their time, I cannot understand why the prime minister refuses to do his job.

The Stupidest Scheme of the Year: Demonetisation, of course. Enough has been written about this crackpot idea and the poor implementation, so I won’t get into details here. You’re free to disagree, but I suggest you see a shrink about the Stockholm Syndrome. Just in case, better late than never, et cetera.

The Most Nauseating Twitter Battle of the Year: An attack on a Bollywood couple for naming their baby after an evil historical figure. So many nasty bigots aired their views (including Mr Non-Sweetie Pai), that I worry for my country more and more each day. Here’s to a nicer 2017!

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: DECEMBER 2016 - JANUARY 2017