The ebb and flow of events and circumstance create opportunities and threats. Already, with the UPA’s ebb and the NDA’s flow, institutions like leader of the Opposition, Planning Commission, governors and associated underlings are out of commission. A host of others are in hazardous occupations. The most obvious are:
Congress chief ministers: Life insurance salespersons are avoiding them these days, along with those travelling to areas targeted by ISIS. Congress chief ministers are an endangered species as evidenced by the regime change in Haryana and Maharashtra. In terms of occupational hazard, Congress CMs are only slightly safer than Congress spokesmen who dare to praise Narendra Modi’s schemes; at least they have a job till the next state election is due.
Black money account holders: We know there are 627 Indians with anonymous accounts in Swiss banks, but the names released this week were equally anonymous — hardly anyone knew who they were. Those with Swiss bank accounts should be in a hazardous position, but considering successive governments have been promising us the names since 2010, it’s equally logical that the accounts have been cleaned out, leaving only the NRIs laughing all the way to the bank. Between the Supreme Court, SIT, which has been sitting on the names for some time, and various governments with whom India has signed tax treaties, black is turning into a very dull grey.
Locker holders: Digging out secret stash from an Indian bank seems a lot easier as we saw in Sonepat, where a bunch of crooks tunnelled into a Punjab National Bank locker room and crawled away with valuables and cash worth crores. The dirty diggers may have been nabbed, but lockers are no longer safe storage space since security at Indian public sector banks seems as full of holes as, well, Swiss cheese.
Bureaucrats: The abominable no-men, as someone called them, are generally yes-men when it comes to governments in power. It’s when they are out of power that the once powerful become moving targets, such as former finance secretary Arvind Mayaram, who has been moved twice in a fortnight, first to Tourism Ministry and then to Minority Affairs. That downgrade also applies to other senior bureaucrats who have been banned from the First Class section on flights. Between the administrative merry-go-round, coming to office on time and austerity measures, babudom is now a hazardous occupation.
Kerala bar owners: Under threat after the state government declared a bar on bars in India’s wettest state. Keralites consume 8.3 litres of alcohol per person each year, over twice the national average. It may be a populist move, but banning the state’s most popular pastime is letting the genie out of the bottle — 40 per cent of the state’s revenue comes from booze and the employment loss will be in the thousands. With no place to drown their sorrows — even taking it to the bar was turned down last week by the high court — Kerala’s bar owners are not in high spirits. The battle of the bottle seems lost, and all that’s left is a magnum-sized hangover.
Runners: Now that running has been taken over by politicians, it can be a hazardous exercise. Those who saw clips of Venkaiah Naidu running, or pretending to, during the ‘Run for Unity’ marathon, will see why. There was also Narendra Modi striding down Rajpath at a fairly fast clip, leaving many younger runners in his wake. It was meant to be a wake-up call, but the thousands who turned up just to be seen on TV made it something of a nightmare.