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MLAs walk ramp to promote khadi

The new-gen MLAs sashayed on the ramp rubbing shoulders with one another to promote Khadi, reports Vijay Swaroop.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2007 02:26 IST

They engage in a verbal duel at the drop of the hat. On Tuesday, the new-gen MLAs sashayed on the ramp rubbing shoulders with one another to promote Khadi.

It is another matter that controversy followed them like a shadow on the ramp as well. Kicking off the controversy by questioning the glitz and pomp that accompanied the show was none other than the chief guest agriculture minister Narendra Singh.

He minced no words to express his displeasure with the ostentatious show to which the Bapu’s name was appended. “Gandhiji’s Khadi cannot be propagated in this manner. People are still obsessed with English ways and this not what the Mahatma taught,” said Singh. Ironically, his son, Abhay Singh (JD-U) was among those walking the ramp.

He also did not spare those who experimented with the fabric that had become the symbol of India’s yearning for self-dependence during the freedom struggle. “Only 10 per cent people are wearing asli (real) khadi. The rest are wearing the dhongi one,” he said referring to the synthetic-mixed variety.

As the minister continued his tirade the panic level among the participants rose. Soon one of them, Rameshwar Chaurasia (BJP MLA from Nokha), held the mike. “Let me assure the minister and the people that this show is intended to fulfill Gandhi’s dream. We want khadi to become the symbol of peace.”

The thunderous applause proved the minister was out of sync with the times forcing Singh to clarify, “I did not want to criticise the show. In fact, more of them should be held. Only, they should not go adrift.”

Sanity restored, the show began with six models walking down the ramp. Then came the Gen next netas. Dressed in different shades of khadi kurta-pyjama along with the non-Gandhian angvastra(stole), they made the ramp their own for the next 30 minutes. Again the remix of Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram was too much for the minister to bear. “I am opposed to this. Just see the song,” he told Hindustan Times.

Those who walked the ramp included Anil Singh, Jitendra Kumar, Bablu Singh, Munna Singh and Neeral Bablu. But there was more in store. In round three the MLAs paraded in khadi shirts and denim jeans of a branded company. By now Singh seems to have lost his ‘fire’ and sat through quietly.

Though the family members most participating MLAs preferred to skip the event, a few who had turned up were delighted. “I was really excited to see bhaiya walk the ramp, he could have been a hit in this field also,” said Namita, younger sister of Nitin Navin, BJP MLA from Patna West.

“Like me, my mother was also elated. This has renewed my feeling towards swadeshi goods,” said Prem Ranjan Patel, BJP MLA of Suryagaraha. “It seems time I took out my charkha again,” said a nostalgic Urmila Patel, his mother.

The wife and daughter of the lone RJD MLA, Sunil Kumar Pushpam (Hassanpur) watched his performance but declined to share their feelings.

Email Vijay Swaroop: vswaroop@hindustantimes.com