In a nation where State projects take forever to complete, it is but natural that there will be a flurry of excitement when any task is finally completed. Who’ll cut the ribbon? Who’ll pull the cord? Tied into any inaugural ceremony is the given that the project will forever be associated with the chief guest. The start of the Sonia Vihar water plant in Delhi has triggered a race to the chief guest’s post. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s well-wishers want her to press the button. But others want the party chief to do the honours.
Similar scenes were on display just before the Delhi Metro’s launch, with the much-acclaimed Metro Chief, E. Sreedharan, relegated to the wings. A more recent incident has demonstrated the immense importance that political honchos attach to being a ‘chief guest’. Advertisements appeared last week announcing the inauguration of the first unit of the Tehri Power Station by Minister of Power Sushil Kumar Shinde. Apparently, he pipped Uttaranchal Chief Minister N.D. Tewari-nominees to the post.
Now, the public that should be celebrating uninterrupted water supply in Delhi forgets — or doesn’t care — who it should be beholden to. Brand managers in the GoI must realise that endorsements (which is what inaugural ceremonies are) are best left to non-partisan celebrities. So why not a Delhi boy who made it big like Shah Rukh Khan? After all, he could do with some endorsement of a pesticide-free liquid. And everyone can be happy.