It is Disingenuous of Gadkari to Now Disown the Phrase ‘Achche Din’


PTI: You received a massive mandate from the people who wanted a
change from absence of governance in the final years of UPA II. One
year on, there are murmurs that you have not exactly delivered Achche
Din.  Are people being impatient?

Narendra Modi: The 21st Century should be India’s century but from
2004 to 2014 bad ideas and bad actions have affected the country
adversely… Today, after a year, even our opponents have not accused us
of bad actions.  You tell me, if there is not a single scandal, is
this is not Achche Din?

– From Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interview to PTI

A BJP poster with the phrase Achche Din used during the campaign for
the general elections in 2014

Mumbai: Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari has made the astounding
claim that the phrase ‘Achche Din’  – ‘good days’ – was first used by
the previous prime minister, Manmohan Singh, but has now become “a
millstone” around the BJP’s neck. “Then Modiji used it somewhere and
now it is a bone struck in our throat,” said the minister at an event
in Mumbai, while blaming citizens for never being satisfied with what
they had been given.

Either Gadkari is being tongue in cheek or is acknowledging that even
the BJP’s signature phrase – which the candidate Narendra Modi used
freely during the election campaign in 2014 – was borrowed from the
previous government, just like schemes such as MNREGA, Aaadhar and so
much more.

For over two and a half years, not one BJP worthy has disowned the
phrase; if anything, its spokespersons have happily used it. Now, when
opposition leaders, ranging from Bhagwant Mann to Sitaram Yechury have
used it to mock the government and citizens wonder when the much
promised achche din will come, the party wants to blame – like much
else – the previous government and specifically Manmohan Singh.
Recently, even comedian Kapil Sharma, while tweeting about how he
faced a demand for a bribe, used the phrase to ask Narendra Modi
whether these were the achche din he had talked about.

Whatever Gadkari’s motivation, there seems to be a growing realisation
in party circles that ‘achche din’  – like Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s
‘India Shining’  – has become something of an embarrassment, an object
of mirth and ridicule rather than a signifier of hope.

While Gadkari is trying to disassociate himself and his party from the
phrase, because of perceptions of non-performance, a bit of digging by
The Wire shows that the actual phrase was used way back in a song in
the Hindi film Mr Sampat (1952).

Based on a story by R.K. Narayan, the film was about a charming
conman, played by Motilal, who comes up with all kinds of foolhardy
but useless schemes that are supposed to make money for a theatre

In this song, Padmini declares that achche din will never come for the
poor because the rich and the powerful will never let that happen.
Even after more than six decades, the song is remarkably contemporary.

[Video of the song]

Peace Is Doable

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