Our netas are understandably worried about the shoes being hurled at them of late.
The trend that started with a chunky piece of footwear heading Home Minister Chidambaram’s way at a press conference, was followed by one aimed at LK Advani and then one that narrowly missed actor Jeetendra. These flying missiles are now proving to be as lethal as the barbs aimed at politicians bytheir opponents.
And the policemen in charge of their security are having a tough time. In the second phase of the election campaign, the police did not want to take any chances. So when chief minister Ashok Chavan was addressing rallies, plainclothes policemen were keeping a vigil around the dais, focusing on the media enclosure.
But no one can match the innovative ways of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi’s securitymen. At every rally Modi addresses, the security put up a basketball net around the dais to check a possible chappal attack!
Narbalis and ‘bahubalis’
It happened for the fourth time and has now become a talking point in political circles. Sindhudurg, the district that witnessed violent clashes — first between Narayan Rane’s supporters in the Shiv Sena and the Congress-NCP; and later, Rane supporters in the Congress and Sena workers – needs a narbali (human sacrifice) in every election, they say.
In 1991, Congress worker Shridhar Naik was killed in political violence. In the 2002 local self-government elections, NCP worker Satyavjay Bhise was murdered. Later, in the 2005 assembly byelections, a Shiv Sena activist Ramesh Govekar went missing. Now, Rane’s cousin, Ankush Rane, was found murdered. Is it some sort of curse on the scenic coastal district?
Kiss and make up
When your prestige is at stake, you can even befriend your enemy. NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal would agree. He managed to get a party ticket for nephew Sameer for the Nashik constituency. As the campaign progressed, Bhujbal realised that his opposition to inclusion of Marathas into the Other Backward Classes category could potentially alienated Maratha votes, a strong vote bank in Nashik and therefore queer the pitch for Sameer. Quick to sense the mood, Bhujbal made peace with hardliner Maratha leaders like Vinayak Mete and even roped in few of them for Sameer’s campaign. After all, what is a politician if he is unable to overcome adversities.
Sena workers in Thane have approached the High Court, challenging the use of the prefix Doctor by NCP candidate Sanjeev Naik, who they claim is just 12th passed. Naik says he got his doctorate from International Tamil University, Maryland, USA. Now the High Court will decide on Naik’s doctorate. But putting `Dr’ ahead of their name seems to be the latest trend among politicians. Besides Naik, the BJP’s Kirit Somaiya and the Congress’s Nilesh Rane have acquired doctorates. Now, who knew a doctorate was such a high priority for our netas?
The Shiv Sena seems to be using the time-tested formula of politicians. In 2005, the Sena had picked up cudgels against Vijay Chougule, who was accused of murdering a Sena activist in Navi Mumbai. At the time, Chougule was the ‘right hand’ of NCP strongman and Sena’s bete noire, Ganesh Naik. Now, things have changed and the same Chougule is the Sena’s candidate opposite Naik’s son Sanjeev.