Even as Hema Malini tries to exploit the desi soft spot for Sholay’s ‘Basanti’, others are looking to firangi shores. Dissatisfied with hard-hitting critiques of their performance back home, politicians and parties seem to be finding solace in the pages of the foreign publications. So, when the Congress’s Digvijay Singh dug out a recent copy of Economist, and waved its one-line endorsement of Prime Minster Manmohan Singh under saffron noses, he had no idea that the other camp would toss back a befitting reply from the magazine’s sister publication, the Financial Times.
It seems that while the Economist would, ‘if it had a vote’, prefer to give it to Mr Singh, Razeen Sally, commenting in the FT, would rather keep our scholarly PM “on tap” but not “on top”. But without trying to get to the bottom of it all, these rival claims have ignored the slightly uncomfortable fact that both articles are also a scathing attack on non-performing politicians of all hues. Yet, a single page does not an endorsement make. But it seems to have rustled up quite a bit of excitement, much to the chagrin of us diligent people back home. When was the last time you saw our netas brandishing copies of a kind word or two from our carefully crafted editorials?
In an election campaign that has seen the political discourse reach a veritable nadir, with bizarre promises, targeted personal attacks and generic threats involving killer lotuses and road-rollers, what’s a mild-mannered invocation of two foreign publications that many voters are not likely to have heard of? As for us, we prefer not to read too much into it.