By Biswaraj Patnaik in Puri, December 8, 2017: Nearly five months ago, BJP-ruled Jharkhand screamed “We can’t do it! Please let us free from the task of holding the herculean task of holding the Asian Athletics Championship event with forty four participating countries”.

The state had volunteered to do so when India’s bid was honoured for the 22nd Asian event. Shockingly, the ally union government too could do precious little and shied away from pumping in emergency, SOS help. The colossal BJP Indian government was sure to hang its head in shame despite two years of full-throttled preparation by Jharkhand with all support from the ‘same family centre’.

More interestingly, not single so called forward states including the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ came forward to save the nation’s face by volunteering to host the prestigious event. The reason was simple: they had only ninety days in hand.

Modi had just belittled Odisha around that time by telling the world that anyone keen to experience and feel real ‘poverty’ should visit only Odisha. Jharkhand vanished into thin air, and all the BJP-ruled super states expressed inability as only ninety days were just not sufficient even for the most advanced state on the planet to organise such a global event. The rest is history: Odisha took up the challenge cool without beating its head once; told the authorities to sit quiet and watch.

The energetic, super-confident young sports secretary, a rare IIT and IIM alumnus, used the best of his born as well as acquired skills to plan everything so methodically as to make things happen right on time. He declared his own countdown and his team opened the event at the exact minute declared with a big bang. The host country snatched the most medals to be the champion.

To the pride of the country, extremely advanced countries including Japan and South Korea said that the event was globally beyond compare on all fronts- infrastructure, hospitality and security. They are keen to make multiple comebacks. Surprisingly, not and single big union government character, except the SAI chairman Injeti Srinivas turned up to show face though it was essentially a national event.

The BJP outfit was visibly unhappy because Naveen Patnaik was proving to be what he was projected to be- an able administrator. Let alone the Prime Minister, not even the sports minister or Odisha-born ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram turned up to grace the occasion only to ensure Odisha didn’t grab any limelight.

Five months later, Odisha, now home to field hockey, is holding the World League in Bhubaneswar already famous for being the second best location in the world for the fantastic facilities. Eight leading hockey-playing countries from around the world have been enthralling the spectators from all around at the enviable Kalinga Stadium since 1 December. The grand finale will occur on the 10 December. The show, with all its glitter and glamour, has upset the BJP design of maligning the state of Odisha and CM Naveen Patnaik who is gaining popularity steadily on a mysterious mode because routine studies have failed to figure out what political magic he is playing. In India, the expression ‘Naveen Enigma’ is now a household expression.

Naturally, as is normally expected, the state government put up bill boards and posters with Naveen Patnaik’s picture on them, strategically at the airport and other vantage points to indicate the warmness of heart of the Odias and the state authorities who have worked hard to make everyone happy, particularly the guests.

Funnily, not surprisingly, the seemingly upset BJP guys woke up rather late, and one fine morning, one witnessed bigger posters and huge publicity sheets splashed across the city, mostly crammed into space contiguous to the posters installed by the sports and PR authorities of Odisha. The belated act looks so childish that even kids get stomach cramps laughing uncontrollably at BJP strategists.

Strangely, instead of putting up a collaborative show to attain common national glory and pride, the headless politicians keep clamouring for insane one-upmanship. The BJP would have done better if only the national sports body functionaries including the union minister and nation-level popular BJP leaders had appeared on the scene to cheer up the global players and boost the spirit of the national team. The event was fit enough to have the Prime Minister Modi opening the event. Naveen opened it; hence his picture in the posters. Modi never came; so, his colossal portraits on the posters make no sense.

The whole world is watching and the truth of ‘BJP intolerance and helplessness’ is out in the open.

BJP has lost much appeal in the recent times with heavily flawed demonetisation and GST imposition without prior clarity given. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said recently that PM Narendra Modi has failed to understand the “pains” that demonetisation and the GST have unleashed on the people specifically of his own home state. He informed that in Surat alone, 89,000 power looms were sold as scrap and it led to a loss of 31,000 jobs, Dr Singh said. There are countless such examples from industrial clusters and big mandis (markets) from across the country.

Terming demonetisation an “uninformed, half-baked crusade” and GST a “badly designed and hastily implemented” measure, Dr Singh also lamented the cheap, indecent and low-level rhetoric used by the ruling party to praise own act and malign all opponents. “I wish the prime minister would find more dignified ways of impressing upon the crowds and seeking their votes,” he had said at public meeting only days ago.

China has evidently benefited the most from this situation. In FY 2016-17, India’s imports from China stood at Rs 1.96 lakh crore. During the same period in FY 2017-18, the imports from China increased to Rs 2.41 lakh crore. This unprecedented increase in imports by more than Rs 45,000 crore, a 23 per cent increase in a year, can be attributed largely to demonetisation and GST. In FY 2016-17, India’s imports from China stood at Rs 1.96 lakh crore. During the same period in FY 2017-18, the imports from China increased to Rs 2.41 lakh crore. This unprecedented increase in imports by more than Rs 45,000 crore, a 23 per cent increase in a year, can be attributed largely to demonetisation and GST.

The latest damage done to the ignorant people of India: In June 2017, the Central government approved the FRDI Bill which is intended to frame new rules for banks that are failing. It has created panic among savings account holders. According to the Bill, if a bank is failing, may be allowed to use depositors’ money to stay afloat. What this means is that the bank can reduce its liability of paying its depositors, that is you, by either locking one’s money for a longer time or asking one to take a hit on one’s deposits.

Currently, a personal deposit in the bank is insured up to a specified limit. According to the 1961 Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, up to Rs 1 lakh of one’s money deposited in a bank is insured if a bank were to fail. In practice, however, the Reserve Bank has ensured that this never happens. Failing, or weak banks, have been merged or allowed to be taken over by healthier banks including their liabilities. But the proposed banking reforms bill will change that. That, some say, will give government banks, private banks and insurance agencies more power over your money.

The new ‘bail-in’ Bill provides for extreme “bail-in” powers to banks. A rescuing body known as Resolution Corporation has been proposed under the Bill which can use the depositors’ money in case the bank sinks.This is different from a traditional bailout in which government’s money helps bank tide over the crisis. In case of a bail-in, it is the bank’s own deposits (poor depositor’s money) that are used to rescue the bank or reduce its liabilities.

When someone deposits money in a bank or invest in fixed deposits, he trusts the bank with keeping his money safe, forever. Even a remote possibility of his having to lose it all or even part of it for no fault of his is a disturbing fact today.

It’s really so sad that BJP loses no time or trick to malign Odisha on any given front. But it lacks the common sense to make friends with any state hosting a national event. Modi as the prime minister has to rise above parochial political considerations. He has to be equally good to Odisha as much as to Gujarat. Then only would he be known as a respected PM. Or else, time will reduce him to a small time, populist political ‘nobody’ for having wasted a divine opportunity to head a nation with dignity.