What is it about wives being their husbands’ brand ambassadors when it comes to politics? Just the other day, Samajwadi Party wannabe Sanjay Dutt described his missus’ decisions being “limited to the kitchen... she decides between biryani and chicken”. Now, with Mr Dutt barred from contesting the polls, it turns out that wife Manyata may be getting the SP ticket from Lucknow.
So how does this transference of qualities work? Well, going by the old jodi of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi, it works like water with milk — or is it milk with water? For those in the business of semiotics, the science of reading and understanding signs, Rabri Devi as Chief Minister was the public face, the mascot if you will, of the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief who couldn’t officially do the job because of becoming prime fodder in a controversy. The party leadership, as well as RJD supporters, were never in doubt about who was calling the shots.
Mr Yadav may have got the idea of letting his better half handle the steering wheel, while his licence was docked, from cultural notions of the husband-wife entity. With Mr Dutt, however, the question was whether the actor’s decision to enter politics was actually taken by his wife. If indeed Mrs Dutt fills in for her husband this elections, it may be a curious, and perhaps not unwholesome event in which we may find a Lady Macbeth using her husband to enter the political limelight.