Reality Bites: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the bravest of them all?

Temple tours by politicians are par for the course these days, but there are very few who dare to call out the persecution of non-Hindu citizens

Reality Bites: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the bravest of them all?

Rupa Gulab

I see Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal daily, except when it rains because all the employees of Tata Sky huddle under their desks at the very first growl of thunder (what they need is a governess like Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ to comfort them with hugs and songs).

Not that I miss seeing Arvind Kejriwal on my telly on rainy days. My days would be nicer without him informing me about all the wonderful things he’s allegedly done for Delhi in an annoyingly earnest Mummy-I’m-such-a-good-baba-no voice. I also do not like his taste in shirts, but that’s none of my business.

What is my business though, is where he gets all that money from, and why he squanders it on self-promotion instead of actually doing more for the people of Delhi. We read enough reports of healthcare workers, municipal corporation employees and other people weeping about not being paid for months.

Of course, the money Kejriwal wastes on PR is nothing compared to the Dear Leader’s stupendous PR splurges. Jay Shah’s papa recently jumped into the PR game too, when he visited J&K for the very first time after the mess he made in 2019. While Shah proudly spoke about his “strong” actions in Parliament, and urged businessmen to rush there, the dear man was far too frightened to visit J&K himself. When he finally did gird his loins a few days ago, he got a few people to accompany him and hold his sweaty hands. These included “Top counter-terror officials from IB and RAW, DGs of CRPF and NIA”. Gosh.

This was greeted with so much scorn and laughter that Shah’s sentiments were hurt (these Hindutva people are terribly sensitive). His PR consultants hastily gave him a script to salvage his pride. So, when he stepped on to a stage at a meeting in Srinagar, he dramatically ordered stage-hands to remove the bullet-proof glass shielding him from the public.

Sadly, no one was impressed because news reports had informed us that over 20 additional companies of paramilitary forces were deployed in Srinagar alone! Anyway, the poor man was still so frightened that he had dinner with CRPF soldiers that night. Of course, it was spun to make it sound that Shah was a humble man who is happiest when eating humble food with humble soldiers, but we know the truth: It’s impossible to hold spoons or forks when your hands are trembling so much.

Meanwhile, just before West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee visited Goa, hoardings and bill-boards with her mugshot were splashed by the TMC and then slashed by the BJP. I’m now waiting for the TMC to tape her photographs together with sticky surgical bandages. A nice reminder to the BJP of that sympathy-inducing leg cast she hobbled around in for months before the West Bengal elections.

Those casts are terribly itchy, and she truly was brave to wear it when she didn’t really need it! Braver than Shah and as devious as him, at any rate.

Campaign strategist Prashant Kishor is in Goa too, helping her poach people from the Congress. It looks like his discussion with the Congress did not end with the clinking of champagne glasses, so he’s thrown his weight behind the TMC instead.

I’m now wondering if he’s drowning his sorrows in Feni, because he’s been throwing little tantrums every now and then, saying that rising prices and the utter incompetence of the Dear Leader’s government will not help the Congress win elections.

Pity, because I have grown fonder of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. He was one of the first politicians to speak out against the online attacks on cricket player Mohammad Shami (singled out because he’s a Muslim) after India lost to Pakistan, and also one of the first to talk about the dreadful VHP violence in Tripura, when he said, "Our Muslim brothers are being brutalised in Tripura. Those who perpetrate hatred and violence in the name of Hindus are not Hindus but hypocrites.”

Temple tours by politicians are par for the course these days, but there are very few who dare to call out the persecution of non-Hindu citizens. Call me peculiar if you will, but I find concern for fellow citizens far more inspiring than PR.

(Any resemblance to real people or events is a coincidence)

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