By 2016, the PM was greeting his “fellow countrymen”, reeling from the impact of a shock demonetisation, and included two “Christmas gifts” in a Maan Ki Baat speech. One was a 100-day Lucky Grahak Yojana under which 15,000 people would get, through a lucky draw, Rs 1,000 in their bank accounts providing they used any mode of digital payment. There would also be a bumper draw on April 14 – Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s birthday, he noted – offering crores of rupees. The second was the Digi Dhan Vyapar scheme, aimed at traders and small businessmen who would be suitably rewarded for encouraging cashless transactions.
Having embraced the Christmas spirit, Mr Modi’s 2017 greetings on Twitter took the form of a traditional Christmas card, complete with holly and shiny baubles. “We remember the noble teachings of Lord Christ,” he intoned, adding the hope that the festive season would “enhance the spirit of happiness and harmony in our society”. Who would have thought that the Citizenship Amendment Act, which would destroy any spirit of harmony with India’s largest religious minority, would be just two years away.
In 2018, Mr Modi repeated his remembrance of Lord Jesus Christ’s “noble teachings” towards a “compassionate and equal society”, even as the economy was becalmed. A year later, fresh from an astounding electoral success, the PM continued to praise the teachings of the man of the miracle birth even as one community that also reveres him in its holy book was protesting against a recently passed Act could potentially evict them from their own country.
Christmas 2020 takes place against the most miserable time in living memory, when Good Governance has been at a premium pretty much all round the world. Promptly at 9 a m, Mr Modi tweeted a dignified greeting, expressing the hope that the “life and principles of Lord Christ gives strength to millions across the world”. But the PM also has a Good Governance celebration in store for all those farmers braving the cold to gather on the borders of the national capital in protest against three farm laws passed in haste and with the minimum of consultation. He said he will have a virtual chat with farmers and release the next tranche of PM-Kisan, the direct cash-transfer scheme for farmers, making payments worth Rs 18,000 crore to 80 million farmers.
Hey ho, three more years of governance to go. But we can be sure of one thing: Christmas under Mr Modi will never be uneventful.
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