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Political UP-manship

Jhooth boley, Media katey, Mayawati se dariyo. Mein mikes lekar chala jaoonga Tum phenkte rahiyo.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2003 01:15 IST

Jhooth boley,
Media katey,
Mayawati se dariyo.
Mein mikes lekar chala jaoonga
Tum phenkte rahiyo.

If we didn’t have MLAs, news channels would have to invent them. The latest edition of Bribes, Lies and Videotape and the fisticuffs in the UP House that followed nearly did what Shoaib brashly boasted about: it almost bowled Sachin’s historic performance off the TV screens. Stroke for stroke, drama for drama, if not quite finesse for finesse, nothing matches Sachin Centurykar as much as MLAs hitting their sixers — and a passing presiding officer —way, way beyond the boundary of Assembly etiquette.

The current face-off in Uttar Pradesh clearly puts Mayawati into the Super Six league. Can you think of another Chamar girl who has managed to shoe out the Brahmins of the game? Last week’s display of killer instinct is consistent with her batting average. She’s consistently scored run-ins with the Opposition — and more so her alleged allies. Ever since coach Kanshi Ram spotted this promising kid, mentored her, and finally bestowed captaincy on her, she’s created more upsets than in the entire history of the World Cup. After all, she had her training in the raw gut of gully cricket.

If you think Shaun Pollock looked sledgehammered at his one-run defeat, you should have seen Vajpayee’s face when Ms Mayawati famously sat examining the finer architectural points of the Parliament hall ceiling instead of throwing in her promised vote for the BJP government in Apri1 1999.

In fact she has washed out so many matches that one may well ask why she should not be subjected to the Duckworth-Lewis method.

I don’t want to compete with Mandira Bedi, but I do wish to raise some questions about the latest fixture in UP.

l The trigger was the tape which showed Mayawati alleging that party MPs and MLAs creamed off a part of their constituency development funds, and her demanding a share. Does this prove that politicians always want to be a ‘cut’ above the rest?

l Did the ensuring fracas prove that if they don’t get all-for-free, there’ll be a free-for-all?

l Who is the less preferred politician, the one who does nothing or the one who won’t do anything for nothing? In other words, what would you rather damn him for — sins of omission, or sins of ‘commission’?

l Following the defeat of the no-confidence motion, the UP House was adjourned sine die. Would you be naive enough to believe that this means the whole issue will get a decent burial?

l Since this is the most electorally influential state, maybe its leaders are justified in always wanting to outdo their counterparts elsewhere. Is this why jockeying for power is called political UP-manship?

l Newshounds have had so many stories falling into their laps that they should be called lapdogs for quite a different reason. They had the budget, the Pakistan rout, the HP defeat, the Savarkar scrum, and then along came the icing on the news-cake, Mayawati. Should we say that journalists really are in Luck now?

l From Gunj grunge to salon chic, from perfidious ponytail to Bobbiting ‘bob’, Mayawati has done much to groom herself for power. Or, despite all that image-sprucing, would you say that she has instead proved that the un-groomed look suits her best? Hasn’t she embarrassed a whole swayamvar of suitors, from Brahmins to Banias, and hasn’t she also sent packing the whole Yadavon ki baaraat?

Quite fittingly, she has shaken the male bastion of power in the week that culminated in International Women’s Day. She reduced Mulayam to impotence, and, as cavalierly, made her swaggering BJP partners look like distressed damsels — damned with her and doubly damned without her.

l So, my last question is: would you say that it’s about time we stopped calling politics ‘rajniti’ and began referring to it as ‘rani-niti’?

* * *

Alec Smart said, “The US deadline: Whose funeral?”

First Published: Mar 09, 2003 01:15 IST