PUCL Bulletin, August 2002

Humorous Angle of Politics -- Celebrations, Political 'Business'
By Y.P. Chhibbar

The political scene in Delhi these days is, and has been for sometime, that of celebration. Not because criminals in politics may be exposed via the Election Commission. Not because Human Rights have become secure. But, for totally different reasons. Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam started the current phase of exuberance and celebration after the announcement of his name as the NDA candidate for the President of the country. It was reported that a message had to be sent to him to tone down. Immediately after that came the changing of guard in the National Conference. Current changes in the BJP and the Union Cabinet followed.

The National Conference held the Taajposhi of the junior Abdullah. The BJP also performed the Mukut ceremony for Venkaiah Naidu. Uma Bharti was so exhilarated at Jena Krishna Murti becoming a Minister that she jumped on his back, replaying her act with Murli Manohar Joshi on December 6, 1992. Minister after new minister distributed sweets, touched the feet of this and that leader. Even Advani and his wife offered laddoos to each other. One minister's wife accompanied him to his office and was wiping his eyes with her palloo. All this was on camera!

One remembers that when Gobind Ballabh Pant, the then Chief Minister of UP, was drafted by Nehru into his cabinet, a political correspondent had written that the practice of touching feet came to Delhi.

One also cannot ignore the fact that what many new ministers said after being inducted in the cabinet, was probably said for the first time by Chaudhary Charan Singh, after becoming the prime minister ("my life ambition has been fulfilled").

Political 'Business'

Globalisation, and in its wake business, seems to have over-powered the political tactics of the Prime Minister to keep the NDA in saddle. He seems to have learnt that everything and every person have its or her/his price in political dealings. What is more is that these things are open secrets (Transparency?). Jayalalithaa, Mamta Banerji, Chandra Babu Naidu, Mayawati, to name a few, have shown their skills at extracting a price and the Prime Minister has shown that a gainful bargain can justify any payment.

It is a common phrase about USA that 'America's business is business'. In Delhi we can say, 'PM's business has become business'.

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