No cowing down
Over the years, Indian elections have become restrained affairs: no cacophonous processions, late-night fiery speeches, dramatic booth capturing or amusing posters on the walls.india Updated: Oct 12, 2010 21:42 IST
Over the years, Indian elections have become restrained affairs: no cacophonous processions, late-night fiery speeches, dramatic booth capturing or amusing posters on the walls. Though the Election Commission has changed the action-packed pre-poll activities, it has not, thankfully, managed to change certain characters and their antics. On the top of the heap is, of course, our dear old Mr and Ms Lalu Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal. When it comes to adding colour to a drab electionscape, you can always bet on the earthy charm of the two former chief ministers of Bihar.
This time around, ahead of the Bihar assembly elections, former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi has filed nomination from two seats — Sonepur and Raghopur — and has grandly declared that she owns 60 cows and 42 calves worth R17.8 lakh. Of course, this is just a fraction of her kitty: she owns ornaments worth R7.62 lakh, has R2.29 lakh worth bank deposit and has invested R11.78 lakh in the stock market. Her immovable property includes agricultural and non-agricultural lands worth crores of rupees. But her husband, according to the affidavit, has no immovable assets! He owns a 1990-model Maruti 800, an old military jeep purchased in 1977 and jewellery and precious stones worth R81,600.
Of course, of all the things they own, what made to the headlines was their bovine collection. The duo has always used the humble domesticated ungulates as a prop in their careers just to drive home the point that they are one of unwashed masses. Each time they have underlined their mass connect, the press has lapped it up. Remember how once Lalu Prasad posed for celebrated British photographer Lord Snowdon milking a cow in true desi style? Will such props get him votes this time around? Only time will tell.