Big fish plus small fish plus good old red herring
(Arun Shourie: BJP govt is Congress plus a cow; Jayant Sinha: Sorry, we are not UPA with an animal attached)
The BJP is unlikely to be cowed down by Mr Shourie’s remarks. For the opposition though, the comments are a political cash cow, to be milked till the cows come home. But if Shourie is wrong about BJP = Congress+cow, we serious researchers must take the bull by the horns and find an answer to the question: What then are the right equations?
Analysing Shourie’s formula further, we can state the proposition: Congress=Gandhi family+sheep. The next step is to separate the sheep from the goats. We accordingly have BJP = Modi+goats, although they may have a beef with that. It would be fitting to leave personalities out of this scientific enquiry and substitute ‘top dog’ for ‘Gandhi family’ and ‘big banana’ for ‘Modi’. The equations now are: Congress = Top Dog+sheep and BJP=Big Banana+goats. That should get their goat.
Putting aside the question whether goats eat bananas and whether the sheep are actually lambs being led to slaughter, it is clear the Congress and the BJP are neither fish nor fowl. But we have other fish to fry. The obvious formula here is Trinamool Congress = Big fish+small fry, denoting Mamata and her minnows. Whether the big fish is a shark is uppermost in the minds of the minnows. A horse of an entirely different colour would be Trinamool Congress = CPI(M) +Rabindrasangeet. But the CPI(M) too has a fishy equation, possibly CPI(M) = Red Herring. Experts opine the Communists are more bird than fish, with dodo coming uppermost to mind.
Down south, the equation AIADMK = AIA+DMK is an identity, with AIA, of course, standing for Amma Incredible Amma. But purists point out the continuing relevance of animal equations in AIADMK = DMK+free milch cows+free goats during the last elections. DMK= black sheep of the UPA family, but there is much confusion, with the party claiming it is not a black sheep but a dark horse, which others say is a cock and bull story.
Don’t forget the elephant in the room and it’s no white elephant: BSP = Blue elephant plus statues plus handbag. RJD, naturally, equals Congress+fodder. The Samajwadi Party = JD(U)-Nitish+Mulayam or, zoologically speaking, JD(U)-Cool Cat+Big Cheese. That should put the cat among the pigeons.
We now come to birds of a feather. The Shiv Sena claims it is a tiger, although some say a paper one. But it does flock together with the BJP and recent events suggest the appropriate formula is Shiv Sena = BJP+black ink.
Matters are more fraught with the Bajrang Dal and the Hindu Mahasabha, with the relationship best expressed by the simultaneous equations BJP+ goose that lays the saffron eggs and BJP+ albatross around its neck. But they do bring home the bacon.
As for the RSS, the equation is BJP = RSS minus khaki shorts. Ugh no, that’s disgusting. Let’s put it this way instead: RSS = BJP+khaki shorts. That’s much more respectable.
After this erudite discussion, we conclude there is more than one way to skin this cat while monkeying around and having a whale of a time.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed are personal.