Whereas, there are thousands of very, very rich Indians in the US of A and England, more than willing to do the BJP’s bidding; as of December 2016 there were around 600 Indians, 200 of whom are Indian citizens living in Paraguay, primarily in the city of Ciudad del Est in south-eastern Paraguay

Marc 10, 2019

Lionel Messias

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday flew to Paraguay and scintillating Costa Rica on an 8-day junket. He returns on March 11. Along with him went the BJP’s all-weather friend, the Minister of State and Tourism Alphons Joseph Kannanthanam and the Indian National Lok Dal MP Ram Kumar Kashyap. I say all-weather friend not in context of the China-Pakistan narrative, but because Alphons has been known to shoot from his shoulder when required to do so by the BJP.

Of course his fellow Malayalis think of him as a fair-weather friend after he accused them of “having that back-stabbing trait in their DNA.” Lucky Ram, he was able to spend his birthday on March 6 in Paraguay. Why I call this a junket, I will explain later. But, if I dare call it an extravagant trip, judge me by the evidence.

The Reasons Why

Officially our vice prez and his wingman and their mutual friend have gone there to promote bilateral co-operation trade, culture, science and technology. Imagine that; with Costa Rica (or ‘Rich Coast’) overwhelmingly dependent on high-end tourism (not the degrading Goa kind) agribusiness and a few carefully selected environmentally friendly industries (again not like polluting industries Goa encourages; mining, coal handling etc). And with Paraguay also reliant on agriculture.

Among the many glitzy functions, he will also attend are ‘receptions’ (yes, that favourite word governments globally love to use) including one typically with the Indian diaspora, a must do on Prime Ministr Narendar Modi’s list of to-dos on his many, many foreign trips. But, whereas, there are thousands of very, very rich Indians in the US of A and England, more than willing to do the BJP’s bidding; as of December 2016 there were around 600 Indians, 200 of whom are Indian citizens living in Paraguay, primarily in the city of Ciudad del Est in south-eastern Paraguay. The community is mostly of Gujarati and Sindhi origin. Ah ha, now you know why. Typically of these two Indian communities they are mostly into trade, wholesale and retail businesses. All this, according to Wikipedia.

Our vice-prez will receive the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in International Peace and Conflict Studies. So touchy-feely I must say. But, if Modi can get the Seoul Peace Prize 2018, this much is expected from Costa Rica. Right! In toto he will be hosted to banquet lunches or dinners and meet the Who’s Who of both countries; and of course when the opportunity arises take a dig at the Congress party, telling his bewildered audience how the Congress ‘ruined’ India. But, don’t blame the vice prez for this, because he would have got his cue from the Boss man himself.

But RS MPs Can’t Go

Now, why did I say junket in the first place? Here’s why. Recently the very same vice prez (he is also Rajya Sabha chairman) decided to cut down on [D]eshi junkets by Parliamentry Committees of the RS after it was found that MPs frequently went on outstation tours stayed in expensive hotels and held meetings. Also, in the name of study tours, the committees visited exotic places. In the last two years, 12 Parliamentary committees serviced by the RS went on 85 tours, almost double the prescribed number of 48 tours; which must really tire them considering their age and the speeches they have to make at the many Parliament sessions – not to mention the heavy duty desk thumping that is now almost mandatory.

Well at least he did some good!