Friday, May 15, 2009

The Biggest Reality Show – Elections 2009

I sometimes wonder why the IPL is so famous, and what is the core reason for its success in becoming such a big brand with the first edition itself? It spurred "marriage between Bollywood and cricket", now add politics to it and it becomes a bigger brand, and it would continue to draw more crowds.

Trivia: Dhoni's brother has joined politics, if you are searching for a recent link to politics and cricket.
Why? The Indian Junta is crazy only about these three – Movies, Cricket and politics. Mix them and you have a bestseller (idea for my 4th book!). So in such terms, this summer was perfect to lift up the spirits of the common Indian with a lot of entertainment available on news itself. The IPL, and the Indian Elections – Perfect match. Attempts to mix these two were futile, as each was worried about the others rising popularity, so much that the politicians or the authority concerned drove out the IPL to South Africa to set the stage free for the politicos.

The irony here is that elections itself were blatantly given as the reason for shoving IPL off, and along with it, its revenue, to South Africa. The Slap on the back came when people realized that South Africa also was having their own elections, but was more than enthusiastic to accommodate IPL. (Why should it be called Indian PL anymore?). Considering the Security agencies incompetency, it would be no surprise if the 2015 republic day parade and the hoisting of the Indian Flag ceremony (is it allowed?) was held in London.

Now getting to the elections 2009 – they have been very well timed, and have given lots of fun and fodder for talk during the past two months. The last two months were like the most jobless period I have ever been in, and thanks to IPL and Elections, I was not really very bored.

This election was no less than a war, albeit in a different way than the neighboring Sri Lankans. The elections seemed like a full fledged movie, and I am sure there is a potential for at least a reality show on prime time covering all the politicos. Action, Drama, Emotions, Comedy, and loads of trauma are perfectly juxtaposed to give out the correct masala for the "breaking" news.

Of course, the climax is still awaited and I am sure my brother is waiting even more for that coveted date – may 16th. It is his birthday, and last year he was gifted a sony Digicam. So, his anxiousness is justified.

Now a complete summary of the happenings in the movie till now, like they say – "Ab tak, Kahani… mein ……"

It all started off with the big weights – BJP and Congress. Advani's blog, and subsequent online foray by everyone worth his salt, wrote a complete new chapter in the way a party or its candidate be promoted.

The UPA faced its first confidence vote in the Lok Sabha, after the CPI (M) led Left Front withdrew support over India approaching the IAEA for the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. UPA won with a 19 vote record victory. The government winning the vote of confidence proved crucial, since this allowed Manmohan Singh, to finish his full term.

The split of the communists from the ruling party led to considerable fourth estate space, with speculations rife if the government would stay or fall. However, the septuagarian Advani ji had long plans in hand and wanted to be in competition with complete preparation.

Then, the inflation, which shook all the parties and everyone, made people forget about the nuclear deal, as this was hitting their pockets. All parties joined hands to control and also started blaming each other. The UPA had so many divine interventions, that sometimes it makes one wonder – were these events orchestrated by UPA itself? Inflation, Stock market sliding, Mumbai attacks, Malegaon …

The soon to retire N Gopalaswami, chief election officer wanted to achieve some place in history, and so he announced the polling dates in five phases for the 15th Lok Sabha all over the country. 

The competition was tight - UPA vs. NDA. Manmohan Singh vs. L.K. Advani

Now the stage was set, the actors ready, and thus began the biggest reality show in India. The actors wanted to play it independently and the UPA was again disintegrated back to congress with very few alliances left with them. Same thing happened with NDA, leaving BJP alone.

The biggest hit was in Andhra Pradesh (My Home State), when Mega Star Chiranjeevi launched his own party Praja Rajyam Party without joining any of the existing party. The veteran acting schools – Congress and TDP were shaken, as Chiru commanded a huge popularity and history could be repeated. (NTR, founder of TDP, entered politics in 1984 when his popularity as an actor was at its peak. The elections was a landslide victory for TDP then)

Now, the split acting schools had to form something common to brave the behemoths called BJP and Congress, so they formed the third front, with JD chief Deve Gowda gathering all parties and waking up the third front - AIADMK, PMK, CPI, CPM, TDP, RSP, Forward block, JDS, TRS, BSP…

Behenji, the popular Mayawati of UP (My state of residence for two years), was rising in charts. It was rumored that she wanted to be the PM candidate, for the third front. This rumor was later calmed with the pretext that it would be discusses later after results. (It is common knowledge that that the decision would have resulted that the party with highest seats would have the PM post, the next highest could get Home, and so on...)

Now, if Andhra and UP were making such marches could Maharashtra be left far? NCP lead by Sharad Pawar, joined BJD to contest. BJD is now a part of Fourth Front. One more front? Fourth Front is the combination of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh, Ram Vilas Paswan, Amar Singh. Add Sanjay Dutt, the General Secretary for the Samajwadi Party, who met with PRP leader Chiranjeevi, and now they too are part of the Fourth Front, more popular as Yadav Front. Now these people know that they themselves probably can't form the government, but they would form a vital support for the ruling alliance.

Yeah, my watchman is contemplating forming the 1428th front.

Now after all the five phases of the polling are completed, and the verdict is still awaited, most of the leaders are out holidaying. They know, it would be hard core business again from tomorrow once the results are declared. Buying MPs, forging alliances, setting up people and negotiating, giving up HOME for CM, and also creation of new posts like Chairperson would be the talk in the newspapers from tomorrow.

Now during this run up to the actual polling there have quite a lot of controversies and entertaining scenes. Before we reach to the last episode of this reality show series, let us go back to the famous scenes and episodes which created lots of TRP for the series.

Jaago Re Campaign: For the first time, a lot of media was dedicated to the task of getting people realize the importance of voting. Complete Media campaigns from TATA tea, Dharma productions, and various organizations really created a stir. In Spite of many famous people showing their middle finger, there was an abysmal turnout in many constituencies. Mumbai was around 45%, Lucknow 35%…
Varun Gandhi: He was one person, who would go down in the history of Pilibhit. No MP from that place could get this much publicity to this constituency that he has brought. Pilibhit has now entered the common parlance of people, and it is identified as well as Hyderabad. All thanks to Varun, and his speeches. Of course, the Muslims are all still afraid of his party.

Black Money: We have heard about swiss bank, and seen it in movies. Swiss bank had such a glamour quotient that having an account there implied that the person has arrived in life. Well, no more. Advaniji probably realized that Swiss bank was offering too low an interest rate, and it is better to park his money elsewhere. So he vowed that he would get all the money back from the bank, to be disbursed in india.

Election Commissioner Imbroglio: N. Gopalaswami, the chief election commissioner, recommended to the President of India Pratibha Patil that Navin Chawla be sacked for behaving in a partisan manner.

This recommendation in itself was controversial, as it was unclear if the Chief Election Commissioner has the legal and constitutional right to provide such a unilateral recommendation. As expected, Chawla refused to resign as he was expected to take over the post of Chief Election Commissioner a few months later. (Eventually, he was not sacked and went on to become the next election commissioner after Gopalaswami)

The above controversy also resulted in speculation that the Election Commission was unable to agree on the polling dates, with the incumbent CEC Gopalaswami preferring that at least one phase of elections be held before his retirement. Navin Chawla, on the other hand, wanted the election to only start after Gopalaswami retired.

So, for the first time in the history of Indian politics, two different people oversaw different phases of the same election.

Jaya Prada porno cds: Jaya Prada, the SP candidate from Rampur, accused another SP leader Azam Khan of circulating material to sully her image. JayaPrada claims that Azam Khan is like her elder brother, but is sullying her image by involving in cheap campaigning. CDs and posters were released to scandalize her image. There were even reports quoting Amar Singh that Jaya Prada may commit suicide if she lost the elections.

Well, now this is some nice entertainment for Rampur inhabitants. A lot more people would be sure wishing that Azam was in their constituency or maybe, at least he should have been web savvy to circulate the content online. Also, would have been better if some other better looking younger female was contesting from Rampur.

Shoe Throwing: Indians admire everything American, and they have shown it again by aping the treatment meted out to former US president Bush. There have been many cases of shoe flinging at the politicos in the recent past. "If it fits, throw it" seems to be the mantra. Now you know why bata stocks are rising?

Some questions of thought here - Why can't journalists aim better? What happens to the shoe after the show? Should shoe hurling will become a required subject at journalism schools?

First off the mark here was local reporter Jarnail Singh, who got into a heated exchange with Home Minister P Chidambaram this month. At the height of the heated discussions, Sikh launched his size 9 Reebok sneaker at the minister, who was standing five feet away. His questions were on target, but his shoe was not. The Shiromani Akali Dal, offered Singh a $4,000 reward and several people pushed for an auction so they could acquire the offending item.

Singh was quoted saying, "Hurling was a not-for-profit activity aimed at making a point. And anyway, the police who grabbed it for evidence still haven't given it back". So now, the police are treasuring the shoe, should get it from the will sure fetch a decent price at crosby's.

A few days later, a 64-year-old retired school principal threw a shoe at popular Congress Party lawmaker Naveen Jindal during an election rally. The principal, again a Singh, said the shoe was more aimed at the Indian political system – needless to say, it did not hit any of the target.

Now Mr. Advani realized, he is losing his importance, and needs to do something. He probably planted someone, and got flunged upon by a slipper by a member of his own party angry at being pushed out of a leadership position.

Even the Chinese were not spared, when protesters threw shoes at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi after Beijing sentenced to death two Tibetans for their role in March 2008 riots in Lhasa.

The authorities are now contemplating not allowing any footwear for the cricket matches, to be secure. So till now, Cricket was only considered a religion, now on the grounds would be held as a holy place too ala temples.

These were some of the noteworthy incidents that happened during the last couple of election months. I am sure there are many more, and would appreciate if they could be discussed out further.


  1. Amazing..Felt like reading the entire indian history in one page...very succinctly put.

  2. Quite brilliantly put and yes, dear friend, politics is the ultimate drama in India; also in reference to your previous post, dude, who needs Indian soap operas to be watched and re-watched, when u have the mother of them all soap operas in the Rajneeti of India! :P

  3. baap re... what length man!poora history likh diya tune toh!

  4. @ Srivastav : Thnk u so much dude!!

    @ AB: actually. should hav included this point in this article. Politics could b the reason for non performance of the indian soaps!! lol

    @ IIM: han! Comprehensive!!

  5. Shweta8:28 PM

    Hey Bharat... have been reading some of your posts lately, thought of posting a comment today :)
    you write well and are getting better at it! keep the spirit going...

  6. @ Shweta: Thnk u so much!!! Keep the comments pourin in.. Helps to keep up the spirit!!