Delhi Musings: Politics at Bharat Darshan Park and competing billboards of men, not products

What is common between the Union Government and the Delhi Government is the penchant of both for splurging on publicity of political messages. How one wishes to see more advertisements of products

Delhi Musings: Politics at Bharat Darshan Park and competing billboards of men, not products

Giraj Sharma

When a Union cabinet minister, a Delhi resident by default, goes to inaugurate a park in the national capital, is he a politician first or a Union Minister? Dilliwalahs are as confused as the ruthlessly ambitious politician, who wore his party’s badge of pride and lashed out at the Delhi government and ridiculed the chief minister of Delhi in his inaugural speech.

The number two man in the cabinet indulging in petty politics in order to garner a few votes of Dilliwalahs in the not-yet-announced municipal elections? Sadly, this is becoming the norm in the current state of our nation. It is perhaps apt for that reason that the park he inaugurated is christened ‘Bharat Dharshan Park’. Oh! Should one be saying ‘naam-karan’ instead of ‘christened’? And sorry for the Freudian slip. It should be ‘Darshan’.

This 8.5 acre-park has replicas of Politics, park and billboards seventeen monuments made out of scrap. Ironically the theme of this Bharat Darshan Park is ‘unity in diversity’. The only unity or unifying bond that ties the Union and the Delhi Governments is the manner in which public money is being spent by both on advertising.

The Union Minister, oblivious of the ad-spend of the Union Government, took a dig at our man AK on the public money being spent on billboards in Delhi. This was ill-advised and badly timed because the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) went on an over-drive to point fingers at over 800 hoardings in Delhi with the PM or UP chief minister or both staring down at Dilliwalahs. As against this, the Delhi government had put up just 108 hoardings, claimed AAP. The war of words didn’t stop there. While the Union Minister called the AAP government as ‘corrupt’, AAP quickly counter attacked by alleging that municipal corporations in Delhi run by the BJP were the ‘most corrupt civic bodies in the world’. While all this is worth a laugh, the joke, unfortunately, is on Dilliwalahs!

The billboard war was not the only one that we witnessed in Delhi this December. Not long ago the medical fraternity, which garnered accolades from all sections of the society, had the Union government going overboard in showering it with praise on television and petals from choppers. But Delhi Police, which incidentally reports to the same minister who inaugurated the ‘unity in diversity’ themed park apparently is not on the same page as its bosses. Or maybe the cops took the ‘warrior’ bit from ‘corona warriors’ tag a little too seriously.

So, when there was a face-off between the cops and the Resident Doctors who were protesting over delay in NEET-PG 2021 counselling in the capital - the cops cracked down on them as an army would against opposing warriors. A number of doctors were injured. And what seems to be a standard operating procedure now there were some arrests made with the cops claiming injuries to their own men. This is a pattern that has become so predictable that even film-makers and web-series directors are now reluctant to use it.

As we move on to a new year one hopes that such issues get resolved and that unity in diversity is not just a theme for stacking up of replicas of monuments made of waste. One hopes that the economy bounces back and the billboards in Delhi carry advertisements of products that make life better and not of questionable claims from political parties.

One hopes that doctors, teachers, farmers, municipal workers and solders do not have to face water cannons or arrests in order to get their due. And if life is to continue the way it was in the national capital in earlier years, the authorities must at least ensure that the spirits to lift up the mood are available to the eligible Dilliwalahs without much ado. Have a great year ahead, Delhi!

(The writer blogs at Views are personal)

This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday.