Jul 132009
 

I have met Sushma Swaraj once. She was in brief political exile, and had agreed to inaugurate my television channel. I say mine, as though i owned it – I didn’t :) but, it was mine in that a whole lot of my dreams and aspirations were tied up with it ! But,  I digress. We had requested her to symbolically launch the channel. She agreed – very graciously. She was witty, intelligent, fun, classily dressed – without intimidating you, warm, and decent.  – just the kind of person you would want your favourite periamma to be :) . She cut the proverbial red ribbon – and declared the channel launched & she left.  A nice lady.

But, then i saw her political avtaar. Just post the BJP defeat last time around, she sort of lost it. Kaikeyi rather than kaki :( threatening to shave her hair and sleep on the ground in white. My grandmother – was appalled. How can a sumangali behave like that she asked – emphasizing the disconnect between Hinduism & Hindutva.

In the fallout post the last elections, she has been flip flopping around like a gold fish out of water – trying to provide a voice of reason to the outside world – when the men in her party disappeared to wallow in self pity and self indulgence – instead of acting like an Opposition. But, she has still not got the hang of things :

“Congress first plasters a city with posters and hoardings of its leaders. Then it takes these chocolate faces to the city. Obviously, glamour has its own attraction among the youth and they join the party.” Swaraj, who became a minister in the Haryana government at 25 years of age, said BJP had always encouraged young leaders. “But we did not sing about it. We treated it as natural. Congress flaunts these chocolate faces while our young leaders are not even noticed by the media,”

Auntyji – your young leaders are ignored by your own system. Where are your young spokespeople (unless you include yourself – after all you are younger than Mr.Advani & Mr.Joshi). Maybe, you need to appoint young BJP spokespeople to shadow each of the main ministries and get them to come and debate policies in the public space. There is no point in having these leaders, and get us the public to see the same worn, tired, defeated faces.

When 70% of your Target Audience is below 35 – pray why will you not make a song and dance about young politicians. Age may have virtue in our tradition – but after a certain age, the elderly leave it to the youngsters and enter vanaprasthna . Besides with the elderly of the BJP behaving like peas porridge in the pot, 9 days old – its is hardly surprising that the youth prefers chocolate.

An advice to Mrs. Swaraj – Shrillness & sarcasm don’t really suit you. Go back to being nice and warm and decent. That may actually attract more votes !

  13 Responses to “Sushma Swaraj & Chocolate (faces)”

  1. Hi Harini

    Theatrical style of Sushma might have managed to distract from the larger ,more relevant point that she has raised.

    That ascendancy to key party positions is pre-determined by winning the genetic lottery of birth in to dominant political dynasties is something that vitiates very essence of democratic polity.Cursory perusal of the credentials of these so-called gen-next Congress leaders from privileged political dynasties reveals a stunning bankruptcy of accomplishments.Add to this left-liberal media’s unabashed efforts to catapult vacuous babalog politicians to the centrestage of Indian politics.

    You could go and ridicule Sushma’s over-the-top rhetorical sytle but there is now way you can deny gist of what she says

    I detest the lunatic fringe of BJP but let me know one national party in India were the nearly every top leaders have come through the hard way(years of obscurity doing grassroot work with no foresseable rewards of political power)

    Do read Swapan Dasgupta’ take on this http://is.gd/1xh5b

    • that’s is really the tragedy. the valid points get squashed under the melodrama.

      i liked the point about leaders from the slums making it, or the fact that people with no political heritage can get to the top – but this kind of ‘chocolate face; silliness is not needed. It diverts attention, it makes her look petty & shrill, it makes her party look ruderless. I think that a toning down on the personal attacks, and the focus on policy will help.

      They are the opposition and they need to use that role to rebuild confidence. Tell you what i mean, Rains are 60% in the food basket of India – who is taking the Government to task ?

      On Swapan dasgupta’s article – i don’t disagree :) i don’t completely agree – but i don’t disagree :)

      If i am not mistaken Meenakshi Natarajan is the only one without a political family who has made it to Parliament :(

      • I fully agree with prasanna.
        The media is left liberal and most media folks including u are far more forgiving of the Congress than the Right of centre BJP.

        I also agree with ur reply especially
        I think that a toning down on the personal attacks, and the focus on policy will help.
        But then again, does the upa care? are they any different? do they even pay attension to what the opposition says? they buldoze their people and their opinion, without the slightest regard to democracy.

        • all in all this is a mucky business … and as the aam janta says sab sale chor hai , mile hue hai!

        • i am miffed that the BJP cannot be an alternative party. they may have great policies but all that drowns under rhetoric & grandstanding. They are actually behaving like the Congress in the 1990′s – with every petty leader staking a claim to leadership – and there being little or no discipline.

          Would you really want such an undisciplined ragatag bunch who can’t agree on who they are – to be in charge of anything ?

          If there was blogging in the 1990′s you would have heard the same kind of criticism on the Congress.

          you are right about the aam janta – two days ago, when it was raining heavily in mumbai, i took a rick home. the rickshawalla was venting venom at the system ‘ek hi jaat waale hai – sab chor hai :” types :)

        • well to tell u the truth it doesn’t really matter…

          i see policy, and actions not just the rhetoric talk etc …

          lets take mah and gujrat – economically/policy wise modi is way better performing than chauhan or his predecessor
          the actions of this new govt – the new finance bill don’t seem to be very much in nations interests, but more so in political interests of a party

          they may be a bit unruly but the other alternative means a whole bunch of people even intelligent people who are not subservient to the public but to the madam.

        • this is in direct relation to my comment and my budget post.Congress took full pat on its back for India not being in as bad a fin crises .. when Reddy was really the person who did not let his guard down and save the country the pain, even at the expense of cordial relationship with the them fm… now both rakesh mohan and reddy is out and who is the rbi gov – a person from the finmin

          http://www.moneycontrol.com/india/video/stockmarket/04/24/newsvideo/406484

  2. Does politics as a career make one shed one’s humane qualities? Does one become thick-skinned? Develop an in-built amplifier to increase decibels in terms of shrillness and volume in speech?

    Many children are often taken aback when they see their Dad in his professional environment the first time. The funny, warm, caring person at home seems to become a stranger – with a stiff upper lip, sometimes cold-blooded, a straightforwardness and no-nonsense attitude, that they’ve never seen at home before.

    This is what happens when you see a politician up close and personal vs. see him/her in the public domain. But the difference is not more striking and the contrast not so great, than say would be the case with police officers. It’s just that since politicians are in the public domain, those who’ve seen them up close are more likely to spot the contrast.

    What am I blabbering about? :) Well, Sushma Swaraj. Yes, liked the flip-flopping like a fish out of water part. Doesn’t it apply to the whole BJP right now than just her?

    I just hope someone doesn’t come up with chocolate not being mithai, that ‘Bharat’ never had chocolate, that it’s an Italian import! ;-)

    • lol – i didn’t catch the chocolate not being mithai bit :)

      i get your point – but there is a difference between being relaxed & being professional (as most of us are at home & at work) and being nice & badly behaved :)

  3. Here is Sushma Swaraj blasting your favourite Manmohan Singh’s mindboggling capitulation in front of Pakistan yesterday.

    I will take Sushma Swaraj ANYDAY over this coward called Manmohan Singh who signed a ridiculous joint statement with pakistan delinking credible action by pakistan with the dialogue. MMS has just spat on the bodies of Mumbai victims with this shameless sellout.

    • i was appalled when i read that crappy declaration. I am a Mumbaikar and i feel betrayed :(

      but, Ms. Swaraj and her party need to provide the alternative. they need to snap out of their collective sense of loss and provide opposition, not words or rhetoric !! and that needs to be out of national interest not party interest.

      we are back in a 1.5 party system – and for people like me who belong to neither party (or support one or the other blindly) its a let down. where is the alternative ??

      • What else is the BJP supposed to do about this? They raised the issue in both houses of Parliament. After the govt did not allow a substantative discussion immediately, they walked out of Lok Sabha. They have raised the issue in the media.
        The BJP, when in power, allowed the Agra summit with Musharraf in 2001 to FAIL, rather than be a party to a compromising joint statement.
        I wonder what the hurry is with the Congress in resuming dialogue with pakistan without caring for credible action on terrorism?

        By the way, you proudly proclaim that you wont forget 26/11. Guess what, your favourite UPA govt already has.

        Read this interview of SM Krishna (our foreign minister) who has effectively absolved pakistan of any requirement to prosecute Hafiz Sayeed.

        “NDTV: And on the issue of Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan foreign secretary is saying that India should not hold talks on this single issue, but you know public opinion is following this case very closely back home. So, your thoughts on this?

        SM Krishna: I agree with whatever the Pakistan foreign secretary has said. The formulation is that it is an internal matter of that country, if they feel and if they have taken a position, then we have to go along with that position.

        NDTV: But he’s said to be a perpetrator of the Mumbai attacks?

        SM Krishna: Subject to the caveat that Pakistan did make an attempt to go at him and the courts have released him. Wisdom would have dictated that they took the matter to a higher court, but let us wait for the unfolding of events further.”

  4. this is how our govt works .. dna

    US may get to check Indian military bases
    US inspectors would be given access to Indian military bases to inspect American military systems in service with the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, under the text of the end-use monitoring agreement agreed upon by the two sides on

    The ministry of defence maintained a worrying silence on Tuesday, while the government evaded any direct response in Parliament over the agreement’s text. However, spin doctors from within the establishment were trying to project the agreement as a huge victory for them, saying there was no direct reference to “physical onsite inspection”. But military sources who have studied the American agreement, better known as Golden Sentry programme, say that “physical verification” was integral to it.

    The Golden Sentry programme is a cradle-to-grave inspection mechanism governed by the US department of defence (DOD) to monitor all military equipment sold to foreign countries. The aim of the mission, according to Pentagon, is to “minimise security risks” and to satisfy its “foreign policy objectives.”

    For many in the military, the setback to India’s LCA (light combat aircraft) programme and the forced cannibalisation of Sea King helicopters of navy because of sanctions after the 1998 nuclear tests are grave lessons in dealing with the US militarily.