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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Political Comics!

Article first published as India's Comical Political Antics on Technorati.


The struggle for votes becomes acute at the time of elections. Pursuing this severe urge for amassing maximum possible votes political parties are pushed to the extremes of antics. The common onlooker gets maximum entertainment in the bargain.

India’s Election Commission recently ordered covering up of the statues of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in light of the forthcoming assembly elections in this most politically strategic state of India. There were around ten statues of Mayawati and more than hundred statues of her party symbol—the elephant--in the state capital of Lucknow apart from numerous ones in other parts of the state. The logic for this order was fully justified since the statues might indeed impact the voters who could either be motivated or irritated to vote or not to vote for her. With a set deadline the work began in great haste and the statues began to be draped in tarpaulin sheets of the pink color. Pink was said to be Mayawati’s favorite, but it was okay since it did not represent any other political party. One regional party from the state reportedly demanded the cost of covering up be borne by the ruling party only. It was tantamount to saying;’ If you are spendthrift megalomaniacs you must bear the cost of undoing your aspirations too!’ To give a more jocular twist to the episode someone filed a public interest litigation contesting the Election Commission’s decision since the elephant represented one Indian deity Lord Ganesha!
The main national opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that had been reeling under tremendous pressure from both within and outside due to its recent decision to induct a tainted and expelled ex-minister of the Uttar Pradesh government finally decided to put the decision on hold. Why and how? Because in the first place, it never wanted to reverse its decision maybe due to the unavoidable interplay of big egos or maybe fearing a possible loss of votes. The tainted member himself turned magnanimous! He wrote a letter to the party high command requesting to put his membership on hold till he was cleared of all charges and allegations. In a classic case of clutching for a straw in time of emergency the BJP accepted his request!

And, at the time of too much preoccupied politicking the time could have been just right to push in some economics. So, the government of India, on January 10, 2012, notified rules to allow 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Indian single-brand retail sector paving the way for big international brands like IKEA to enter Asia’s third largest market and also allowing tie-up players like Adidas, Louis Vuitton and Gucci to have full ownership. To give a boost to Indian industry a condition was kept for the players to source 30% of the goods from Indian small and village industry.
This FDI move was said to be less controversial and maybe due to this the preoccupied opposition parties were yet to give their reactions. This was interesting in light of the tremendous political opposition to the Government’s earlier decision to allow 51% FDI in Indian multi-brand or supermarket sector. The opposition forced the Government to put the put the decision on hold. Though there were genuine concerns regarding the roles of supermarket giants like Wal-Mart farmers’ communities from different parts of India had in fact welcomed the policy.
Political comics are set to entertain you more till the counting takes place on March 6, 2012. Meanwhile the cover-up was completed by 5pm today--the deadline set by the Election Commission. The public interest litigation was also dismissed as 'withdrawn' due to technical faults. 


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