On Monday morning, on the 83rd birthday of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Narendra Modi would have woken up to yet another pressure-filled day.
What to declare to the nation with regard to the Uri attack. The expected ratification of Paris Agreement. And besides hundreds of other pressing matters, Modi couldn’t have had his morning tea without sweetly anticipating the positive and rippling effects Sushma Swaraj’s rebuttal to Nawaz Sharif, at UNGA, would have on world community.
But first, the matter of Manmohan Singh’s birthday. Hmm…
The Voice of Nation wants to imagine, without any ill-intent, what might have transpired in the conversation that took place if Modi wished Singh long life.
NM: Manmohan ji, janmadin ki bahut badhayi (in the background, Manmohan could hear one of Modi’s aides urging him to wrap it up. Urgent matters required him).
Mr Singh, with little role to play, or rather asked to play, in the current political scene, was snoozing in his lush ex prime ministerial garden.
MS: Hunh! Mazey le rahe ho. Thank you, anyway.
NM: Nahi, nahi. Kaisi baat kar di aapne? Khair, sunaiye.
MS: Bas, sab theek.
NM: Itne chup kyun hain?… Ok, sorry, that was a bad joke…
MS: (still fuming from Modi’s barbed attack) tries to say something, but isn’t audible to Modi.
NM: What, Rahul? No, no. You were so much better, even in quietness. What has the Congress brought upon itself?
MS: Enough of your trappings! Rahul is our leader and future.
NM: Achha chhodiye. Main samajhata hoon aapki mazboori. Amit Shah janmadin ki badhayi dena chahate hain.
MS: (Even before Modi could utter the word Amit Shah, Singh went into convulsions) Absolutely not! I can’t have him wish me. The Congress high command wouldn’t like it.
NM: (naughtily winking to Shah) But it’s just a goodwill gesture… C’mon! No politics, only wishes.
MS: I still have some years left in me to give. Please do not jeopardize my position.
For the first time in the friendly banter, Modi realises the depth of Gandhi dominance, the tentacles it has entrenched, even in the hearts of Congress veterans. Modi feels for the old man, India’s two straight-term prime minister, and the only Sikh to ever sit on India’s throne.
It took all of a few seconds for Modi to process all of this.
NM: I wish you well and long life.
MS: Waise ek baat boloon? I feel truly abandoned. I am in my sunset years, and deserve better than this. (An emotional Singh broke down and Shah could overhear)
Amit Shah: Modi ji, record kar lete hain. We can derive political mileage.
NM: (without even acknowledging Shah’s idea, not out of disrespect, but because it was not right) Manmohan ji, leaders like you are an asset to India. Congress may be discourteous, but we realise your true value. We should have a private dinner and perhaps, discuss India’s future as to how we can make it better. I don’t need to tell you this, but our doors are always open for you.
MS: ( there was a silent acknowledgment)
NM to Shah: If Manmohan Singh can be persuaded to join hands, it will be the biggest coup of all time. We know he is unhappy, but we also know that such experienced leader don’t switch sides, even if it is for the right reasons. (after a brief moment of reflection) Such long-time loyalty should, probably, not be disturbed. What do you think?
Amit Shah: I think we should give it a shot. Aap mujh pe chhod dijiye…