Silence of the lambs: Those who mocked UPA for high fuel prices have lost their voice  

Between 2012 and 2014 was the time when Indian media, the then opposition and citizens had a roaring time whipping, questioning and mocking the UPA government on everything

Silence of the lambs: Those who mocked UPA for high fuel prices have lost their voice  
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Sanjukta Basu

Between 2012 and 2014 was the time when Indian media, the then opposition and citizens had a roaring time whipping, questioning and mocking the UPA government on everything. Price rise was a particularly favourite subject. BJP leader and current Union Minister Smriti Irani shouted herself hoarse over the high cost of LPG cylinders. Others mocked that they would have to store vegetables in bank lockers.

The then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was on fire. The unchecked rise in petroleum prices was testimony to the UPA government’s failure and inefficiency. The Prime Minister had lost all moral authority to govern and must resign, he roared.

“Massive hike in #petrol prices is a prime example of the failure of Congress-led UPA. This will put a burden of hundreds of crores on Gujarat,” he had tweeted then.

BJP leader and former Petroleum minister Ram Naik indignantly said in January, 2014 that the UPA Government had lost its mental balance when prices increased on two successive days. Celebrities were not far behind. Amitabh Bacchan joked about petrol price rise every other day. When petrol price in Mumbai was Rs.78.57, the Big B tweeted,“Petrol up Rs 7.5: Pump attendant - 'Kitne ka daloon?’ Mumbaikar - '2-4 rupye ka car ke upar spray kar de bhai, jalana hai !!”

Anupam Kher tweeted, “Asked my driver, "Why r u late?" "Sir. Came by cycle." "What happened to motorcycle." His reply, "Sir, it is kept at home now as a showpiece."

Akshay Kumar, who has deleted the tweet since then, wise cracked, “Guys, I think it is time to clean up your bicycles and hit the road. As per sources, expecting another petrol price hike…”


Chetan Bhagat, the author,has also deleted most of his tweets outraging at fuel price hikes or mocking the government. He had famously tweeted, “If fuel prices were fully deregulated and not crazily taxed, petrol will be less than Rs. 20/litre.”

TV Anchor Anjana Om Kashyap mocked the then Prime Minister and said, “Indians losing jobs. Prices shoot even as Rupee plunges further. Blueprint Mr Prime Minister? Endless spending on Vote securing welfare schemes!”

Another TV anchor Bhupendra Chaube had tweeted, “Poor man to Rahul Gandhi: “Sir, Diesel is very costly. Rahul Gandhi: Big deal!!! Wear Benetton or Tommy Hilfiger instead.”

Eight years later, voices have been muted. The roaring politicians are silent. The celebrities no longer mock the government or express their outrage on social media. Anchors no longer rage in TV studios. Even the man on the street does not protest. A sign of “too much of democracy” perhaps.

Some are reminded of a joke that went viral around 2012. An Indian dogand a Chinese dog ran into each other at the border. Both wanted to migrate to the other’s country. Surprised, the Indian dog asked, “But why are you leaving your country, bro? Your life is so much better, look at your economy.”

The Chinese replied, “True, I have everything bro, but I cannot bark. What’s a dog without a bark?” Eight years later, the duo have nowhere to migrate.

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