24 October, 2020

Raj Dharam?

Who wants to hear poll speeches when Sholay's Veeru takes the stage?

T. Narayan
Raj Dharam?
Kitne aadmi the? Monday, 11.30 am, Jhalawar (Rajasthan). The usual setting for a poll meeting in a public park with wooden barricades and a larger-than-life stage adorned with posters of senior BJP politicians. Only about 100 bored people waiting for the spectacle to begin. A local BJP leader comes to the mike: "We have just got the news that the famous cinestar Dharmendra has reached Jhalawar. Please help us maintain discipline. There are separate enclosures for women, journalists and vips on my right, and for other leaders on the left. Arrangements for cold drinking water have been made in three different locations." He keeps repeating the lines like a parrot every two-three minutes. When he's not talking, the public address system plays patriotic songs and pre-recorded campaign speeches ridiculing Congress leaders. For instance, "Yeh dekhiye Vajpayeeji ke khilaaf kaun hai. Mummy aur uske bachche! (Just see who's against Vajpayeeji! Mummy and her kids!)." And threats to pack Sonia Gandhi off after these elections with a one-way ticket to Italy.

By 1 pm, about...


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