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Dilli ka rishta

Maharashtra?s new jumbo state Cabinet is like My Big Fat Greek Wedding ? large, loud and, considering the old Sharad-Sonia divorce, it?s still Greek as to how the Congress-NCP marriage works.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2003 03:01 IST

Maharashtra’s new jumbo state Cabinet is like My Big Fat Greek Wedding — large, loud and, considering the old Sharad-Sonia divorce, it’s still Greek as to how the Congress-NCP marriage works.

But last Wednesday another blockbuster came to a cinema near you. The changes in the Union Cabinet could as easily have been titled Analyze That. This is what every political pundit and his/her palm-top Pomeranian have been doing ever since the much-awaited announcement. Significantly, the following morning, the fog over Delhi was even more impenetrable than it has been this winter.

However, while looking for ways to describe the recent mantri-shuntri, we should turn to Bollywood rather than foreign movies. There is more reason to do so because this was such a very swadeshi week — starting with Republic Day and including the anniversary of the Mahatma’s assassination.

For starters, I would lust to compare the musical chairs of Delhi to the musical beds of Jism. But, while several Ministers, both the incoming and the stripped, are sexy in their own way, it’s difficult to imagine any of them as a sultry ‘Bips’ Basu. So, all I can do is to think of this Cabinet as a Ji’ism. Which, in any case, is what politics has been about ever since I started watching.

We’ll have to forget Jism as a political ism. We’ll have to find parallels to the reshuffle in some other Hindi films or even their songs. Arun the attorney is the most talked-about returnee. Jaitley-ji has returned in triumph and a triumvirate of portfolios, not just Law, but Industry and Commerce. The other familiar face is that of ‘CP’ (not to be confused with Chittaranjan Park or Connaught Place) who hasn’t got his Health back, though his new charge, the North East, definitely needs intensive nursing. Seeing Messrs Jaitley and Thakur at the swearing-in, a bystander could well exclaim, Aapko Pehle Bhi Dekha Hai.

Talking of Health, both the incoming and the outgoing ministers are highly contagious; both are known to have spread their importance by mouth. Sushma-ji may not be as much of a Shotgun, but she’s no tongue-depressor either.

Her move from I & B will offer instant relief to those who have had occasion to brand her a ‘Sari-don’. But her once-targeted media has now simply passed its head-ache on to NGOs working in the fields of AIDS and Population. Their most effective barrier method is going to run head-on into Ms Swaraj’s strong moral stand on the protection of traditional Indian values.

We’re extremely glad that Arun Shourie, far from being divested of his controversial portfolio, has been invested with new responsibilities. Smooth, seductive and oozing appeal, this Arun has, for a long time, been the ‘IT girl’ of the thinking classes. Many consider him The Guru.

The jobs of political correspondents depend upon how much they can read into every development. Commenting on this latest reshuffle, they will furrow their brows, purse their lips, stroke their chins, stab the air with their Mont Blanc pens, and, looking the viewer and the teleprompter in the eye, announce self-importantly, Kucch To Hai.

However, the cynical aam janata is more likely to dismiss the latest Dilli upheaval as having no Dum. Hai kya? is a rhetorical question.

Politics is as fickle as a film star’s moods. So, neither the Prime Minister nor his so-called deputy can ever seriously tell their cabinet colleagues, Tujhe Meri Kasam. Ironically, Maharashtra’s Chief Minister himself bore the brunt of this harsh truth. Vilasrao Deshmukh flopped from grace days after he played the preening Papa at his son’s starrer of this name.

Many of those who’ve fallen from the Union Ministry are going around looking like lovelorn youths, and singing Chura liya hai tumne jo Dilli ko. They are desperately jockeying for ways that will raise them back to positions of ministerial control, and can also be heard humming that Adnan Sami number, Lift kara de.

In this reshuffle, it’s not as if only the nonentities have been dropped, and the biggies have remained unscathed. All levels have been affected — from the jan to the Mahajan. Indeed, the smooth and smart Pramod-ji is the man forced on the most painful bed of Kaante.

But that’s politics for you. One day you are on the swaggering pinnacle of power, and the next day you are in the ‘Out TRAI’.

* * * * * *
Alec Smart said, “Shiv Sena’s Raj — heir today, gone tomorrow.”

First Published: Feb 02, 2003 02:35 IST