Election time is all about dreaming big,for the voter,that is. Free TVs,laptops,washing machines,pledges to make everyone a millionaire,make India a superpower,transform the country and the countryside into a land of milk and honey,change slums into a paradise,a roof over every head,a ceiling on taxes,water in taps,electricity to light up lives and food in every distended belly. India will look,as the Micromax tagline says,nothing like anything. Heres how,and where.
Madhya Pradesh: Lush green fields stretching to the horizon,smooth,wide roads,shiny happy people. Thats the vision in Madhya Pradesh in poll advertisements put out by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. It looks like a country in Europe,mainly because it is a country in Europe,downloaded from the Web. Actually,it could have something to do with Chouhans poll promise to send farmers on a foreign trip to learn farming,to give students smartphones to make them smarter,a veterinary ambulance to treat sick animals,a Middle Classes Commission for,well,the middle classes,and that the state will pay the rent of students staying in private hostels or shared accommodation. For MPs voters,Utopia is an EVM button away.
Delhi: If Sheila Dikshit retains power,Delhi will be a world-class city (sounds familiar?),with double- decker flyovers to accommodate double-decker buses. There will be automatic vending machines in every colony dispensing food grains and pulses along with milk and ice-cream for the poor (just insert your Aadhar Card),a Central Business District for hawkers to conduct their business centrally and toilets in every street for citizens to conduct their business privately.
Alternatively,if the AAP comes to power,nirvana will be even closer. Power bills will be halved; everyone will get free water home-delivered; the sand mafia,land mafia,band mafia,crooked cops and corrupt politicians will be thrown in jail; local mohallas will have power to fix or build roads,collect garbage,maintain drainage and parks,eliminating the need for MLAs; and,for womens safety,a force of 25 commandos in each ward will use the Gujarat model to protect single women from stalkers and snoopers. Also,all stings will be banned.
If the BJP regains power,heres what we get the green capital of the world (unclear if the city will be painted green a la Mamata,or grass will grow greener),also every house will be a power house courtesy solar power and gobar gas and everyone can make extra money by selling excess power to their neighbours. It could be all gas.
Rajasthan: The BJP manifesto pledges establishment of a separate Ministry for Cow Rearing,which presumably means breeding cows and not their rears. There will be 24-hour bijli,paani and total elimination of corruption. The two,however,are not connected. The Congress spreads the electoral net wider,with a free Scooty for SC/ST,OBC,SBC girls to give them greater social mobility,and quotas for Gujjars,the Raika,Rabari,Dewasi,Banjara,Baldia,Labana,Gadia Luhar and Gadoliya castes. Anyone left out can appeal if the party wins.
Chhattisgarh: The BJP and Congress are in dead heat over freebies for everyone,with cavalier disregard for where the money will come from.
Mulayam Singh: English to be eliminated from all schools,colleges,businesses,Parliament,computers and correspondence,and replaced with Hindi.
Rahul Gandhi: Poor to be allowed to fly in airplanes for free to allow them to reach great heights.
Narendra Modi: Promises an India without the Gandhis,except for that chap Mohanlal,I mean Mohanpal,or was it Mohandas?
- Flip side: Parting shots
Now we have to bid goodbye to drama and dramatists, it’s almost like the empty nest syndrome...
- Flip side: Signs of the times
There are some signs that are impossible to ignore since they reflect contemporary mood and trends...
- Book Review: Rooms with a View
The story of Habib Rehman and his role in the success story of one of India’s biggest hospitality chains...