MLA from Saket, Vijay Jolly (48) espouses the formal executive look, dressing up in suits, designer shirts and trousers along with a tie. “Being in the foreign cell of the BJP, I regularly interact with diplomats, so I make sure I dress smart,” he said.
Young and raring to go, Delhi’s politicians are as particular about their dressing sense as they are about their votebank.
Jolly said today’s politicians understand the importance of looks, and since they are in media-spotlight, they make a conscious effort to dress well.
“Politicians have started wearing safaris, instead of kurta pyjamas because they realize the safari will hide their paunch,” he joked.
Finance Minister and three-time MLA, Dr AK Walia (60), agreed. “Not only does wearing safaris give a more professional look, it makes a person more active. You can attend numerous functions sporting shirts and trousers throughout the day. The same does not hold true with kurta pyjamas, especially during foreign delegations, when you feel awkward in front of foreigners who wear suits,” he said.
Education Minister Arvind Singh Lovely (38) may put on khadi kurtas for party meetings, but outside such gatherings he is rarely seen in them. “During the 1998 elections, I was the youngest MLA in Delhi Assembly. People wanted to see me as a liberal, educated youth, so I continued wearing my jeans and trousers. I am just being myself,” he said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan (54), president, Delhi State BJP, mostly found in his trademark trouser-shirt combination, finds kurta pyjamas inconvenient. “For some reason, I never liked kurta pyjamas. Maybe this has something to do with my being a doctor. I have always considered myself a doctor first, and then a politician. I can’t perform surgeries in kurta pyjamas,” he said.
Jolly said khadi whites have been tainted. “A series of corrupt politicians wearing Gandhi’s garment have brought dishonour to it. They are to be blamed for the common man losing faith in politicians. I do not blame the current generation of politicians who are acquiring a new image to distance themselves from the loathed politician,” he said.
However, other politicians choose to be less vocal. “I wear jeans and shirts because they are more comfortable,” said Nakul Bhardwaj (28), BJP's contestant from Patparganj. He added, “People today realize that being dressed in a certain manner means nothing.”