By Biswaraj Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, September 15, 2017: The BJP-led NDA came to power by playing too well to the gallery in 2014 when the anti-establishment factor was enormously big. The UPA had countless blemishes including graft cases and scams oozing out all around.

Manmohan Singh was looked down upon as a puppet prime minister only because the Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi called all critical shots.
By this time, the BJP regimes had collected enough funds to employ real good publicity firms to do some smash jobs. Modi had mastered the sensitive art of make-believe projections of growth and happiness. The publicity team made sure to portray him as a political messiah of India. Modi and Amit Shah had become great pals in the late eighteen.

Shah had joined the RSS when Modi was a ‘Pracharak’. Modi was dislodged from Gujarat when his detractors had him defamed as a manipulative power grabber. Shah remained in Gujarat and served Modi as an informer. Later when chief minister Keshubhai Patel was asked to step down for being an ineffective administrator, Modi was chosen as the replacement.

All this happened only because Shah had ensured phenomenal rise of Modi’s popularity. The rest is popular history-Shah and Modi became inseparable. Modi made Shah the principal strategist for BJP, got him inducted as a law maker successively, and in 2002 Shah became the youngest minister in the Modi government with twelve portfolios: Home, Law and Justice, Prison, Border Security, Civil Defence, Excise, Transport, Prohibition, Home Guards, Gram Rakshak Dal, Police Housing, and Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs.

An ordinary science graduate Shah is a born businessman who has mastered marketing politicians too well. In 2014, Shah devised the poll strategies and got NDA a conclusive victory. The BJP bosses had by then succumbed to Shah’s demand of projecting Modi as prime minister. Modi as BJP spokesperson then sought votes with extremely tall promises which are difficult to keep, but gullible voters believed him and brought BJP to power.

Lately, Amit Shah has been on mad runs across the country, particularly the invincible regions among which Odisha causes the BJP most hurt. Shah touted to be a superb poll strategist, is not even well–bred as he speaks in an uncultured manner at public gatherings while slamming opponents. The BJP had made inroads only in the wake of an anti establishment wave against the UPA regime in 2014. Modi was projected as PM, only because of skills at making boastful talk as hammered into the head by PR company experts.

As soon as Modi became the Chief executive officer of India, he forgot all ‘national interests’-poverty, unemployment and more. He just flew away to foreign shores, nonstop as of with a vengeance for having been denied visas by most western nations on grounds of his rabid communal stance. He kept landing at most alien land to remain in public glare.

But Modi, the former Tea stall guy forgot to distribute,within three months, Rs 15 lakh rupees to each Indian, give jobs to 20 million youths per year and make Jammu and Kashmir an absolutely integral part of India by abrogating article 370. Three years have rolled by but not one promise has been kept.

Even the much hyped demonetisation has caused a huge economic setback, growth having dropped from 7.2% to 5.2%, which was forecast by Raghuram Rajan then. Dramatics, theatrical moves and empty rhetoric have kept him floating so far. He claims to be weeping for the poor day in and day out, but dons royal suits worth millions. Women empowerment is his dream; but his estranged wife has not even seem his official bungalow once, though in his poll affidavit he has declared for the first time that he is married, though of course he made clear that he chose from day one to remain away from wedded life. But this innocent woman should have been empowered in some way or the other.

Most interestingly, Gujarat under Modi developed less than Odisha under the reticent Naveen in kurta-pyjamas and chappals, despite the fact that Naveen has seen the wider world much better and earlier and brushed shoulders with global celebrities when Modi may not even have known the world map well even now.

Despite roars and rants, Odisha figures higher in a number of critical development indices including MMR and IMR, rural electrification, increasing forest cover and irrigation. Modi can’t be blamed for the lagging status of Gujarat on some fronts. But that Modi screams that ‘Odisha is the poverty capital of Asia’ is plain madness. He often times forgets he is Prime Minister of Odisha too. Odisha gives the BJP strategists goose pimples because Naveen’s magical personality intrigues and frightens them no end.

Amit Shah visited Odisha only recently to provoke the people to vote Naveen out of power by saying they have already reserved 120 MLA berths for the 2019 polls, as if they were ordinary passenger train berths. Shah does worry about the shamefully slender ten–member presence in the legislature, but his mentor- tutors have told him to make empty noise to confuse and deceive the masses. So, Shah decided to jump twelve hundred per cent upwards in two years. Funnily the BJP spokespersons, out of frustration only, keep claiming their membership drive has been hugely successful. One wonders as to how a mere ‘missed call’ on a mobile turns one a BJP member. It’s as weird as surveying around a jewellery shop and becoming owner of the whole enterprise instantly.

Now to a bit of comparative talk between the two states: What Amit Shah may not know at all is that the international community hails Odisha as one of the most disaster-ready states in the world today. Through continuous manpower development, skill training, and creating infrastructure, Odisha now has 20 Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force units to assist the civil administration at the time of deadliest of calamities.

Naveen had appeared when all other political outfits had deserted the state in utter chaos just after the super-cyclone of 1999 slammed the coast causing indescribable damage to life and property in Odisha.

Just two days ago, when storm ‘Irma’ was pounding the coast of Florida, experts from Odisha were being consulted on evacuation, and relief techniques. The United Nations rates Odisha as the best disaster -prepared state in the world. So when cyclones Phailin and Hudhud blew over Odisha and Andhra coasts, Odisha experts rescued and relieved all more so the Andhrites, apart from ensuring perfect rehabilitation work in the following days.

Naveen, obviously provokes immense fear among the BJP thinkers and planners as they simply can’t figure out what magic works in ‘Naveen land’, which is not even perceived elsewhere let alone be seen or felt. No technique or formula has worked so far in deciphering the Naveen magic as yet by the foolish detractors and witless opponents.

The simple truth is that Naveen ensures the state is in safe hands with development planning and implementation done without much loss of time or money. More than that he has left strict instructions with his ‘delivery agents’ , irrespective of one’s political or bureaucratic status, that they have acquired the skills to figure out what people want and in what manner they would receive relief and goods effectively.

Accordingly, schemes are chosen and delivery techniques determined. Extreme care is taken to make sure that not a single deserving beneficiary is deprived nor a single ineligible crook grabs state benefits by guile or official wickedness. Poverty mapping is done methodically in a fail safe manner, though errors and blunders are accepted up to a logical limit.

Whatever popular schemes the Naveen administration launches, the BJP loudmouths scream they have the maximum contribution. The people are growingly confused as to how money is generated for their welfare schemes and programmes.

India is a federal country where states raise revenues most of which is deposited with the centre for equitable distribution as per genuine and legitimate needs of individual states. The proceeds of all the taxes levied by a state under the ‘State list’ are fully retained by the concerned states themselves while taxes in the ‘Union list’ may be in part allowed to the states, but most goes to the union coffers.

There are some taxes & duties in the Union list including sale or purchase of goods and services other than newspapers; taxes on consignment of goods to be collected by the Union government but be assigned to the States concerned as decided by the Parliament.

The Finance Commission recommends to the President in regard to the distribution of proceeds between the Union and the State and suggests principles which to govern the grants-in-aid. The President acts as per the recommendations.

The share of states in the net tax revenues is assessed as per the vertical gap between the Union and the states, which is the difference between the normatively assessed expenditure share and revenue capacities of the Union and the states.

Secondly, the horizontal sharing of the vertical gap between States is determined by using equity and efficiency as the two guiding principles while recommending shares of states. Criteria for Horizontal sharing include Population, Area, Fiscal Capacity Distance and Fiscal discipline. Presently, service tax is not levied in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Fortunately, the 14th finance commission has raised the state share to 42% from 32%.

‘Fiscal discipline’ parameter has been removed, which was the capacity of a government to maintain smooth financial operation and long-term fiscal health.

So the states do not get alms, they get their lawful entitlement.
When the BJP loudmouths keep screaming ‘our money, our money’, they are only fooling the ignorant, gullible masses and the foolish politicians can’t hit them hard with the truths. After getting the legitimate share, the government can use it anyway for public benefits as per priorities they determine fit. If they go wrong they are liable to be exposed by the audit watch dogs; but if they have done well, no one has a right to raise a finger. For instance, one-rupee per kg rice is a necessity at the moment. The centre can’t say ‘we gave 25 rupees and the state only two”. That’s crap and deceitful claim.

The BJP will do great self-good by copying most of the Naveen model as it is full of sobriety and silence! 120 seats may come true only after Naveen relinquishes office for good. That’s a bitter fact for Shah, but the core truth of the times!