When all else fails, try PR!

Published: October 3, 2011 - 14:57

Aha! The BJP has finally decided what cutting-edge strategy they are going to use to win the next general elections: cosmetic surgery and PR services. Taking a cue from TMC party leader Mamata Banerjee, who literally ran for the West Bengal elections on a treadmill to ensure that no unseemly triple chin marred her victory photographs, BJP party president Nitin Gadkari recently signed up for bariatric surgery. His stomach has been stapled so that he can just about manage to consume one samosa with his evening cuppa instead of his usual 307 (I'm putting a modest estimate here). I'm dead certain no one is happier about this than his overworked family cook — my heart goes out to the poor chap who has slaved over a hot stove from dawn to dusk to feed a bottomless pit.

Several critics have sneered at the surgery, but of course: they've pointed out that Gadkari's a lazy man with no self-control — he just wants the easy way out. Hmm, they do have a point but let's look at the bright side too: there may be no more food shortage in the country, hooray!

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wants an easier way out: an instant image makeover without surgery. Sad, because the only way secular Indians will even consider him as a human being is if he has a heart and brain transplant. A little bird on a news channel told me that he's hired an American PR firm to whitewash his image — I think the PR dudes got the brief wrong because it seems more like an exercise in hogwash.

Anyway, a report from the US Congressional Research Service has suddenly surfaced that says glowing things about Modi's skills at development, including the fact that they expect to see him as one of the frontrunners for the post of prime minister in the 2014 general elections. If this really is true (you can never tell when PR agencies are involved), all I can say with a smirk is, America loves dealing with dictators. They've lost quite a few they were rather fond of in the oil-rich Middle East recently and replacements are required. Autocratic Modi would be an excellent choice, there's no doubt about it. Admittedly he can't deliver oil, but he's got tremendous reserves of natural gas.

As a result of this PR exercise, the nation has been cruelly subjected to a couple of open letters from Modi, announcing his Sadbhavana Mission in terrible English. This Sadbhavana thingie turned out to be a public fast-for-harmony, performed on a stage with deathly dull speeches by some of India's creepiest fascists. I valiantly tried to watch this event on TV, but it was the most boring freak show on earth ever. All my schoolgirl notions about fascists being electrifying speakers have been dashed to smithereens.

Weirder still, the nation was expected to applaud as controversial politicians like MNS leader Raj Thackeray gave Modi wonderful character certificates. On the final day of Modi's extravagant party, one thing was clear — it's not working. For starters, he looks like he needs bariatric surgery as well — his clothes still fit him rather too snugly for comfort even after three days of fasting — tsk, he's probably been snacking on the sly. Also, let's not forget that the 2002 riot victims and several activists who attempted to protest were detained — so much for mutual understanding and harmony, hah! And I'm not even going to get into the fact that some of BJP's alliance partners like the Janata Dal-United absolutely refused to participate in this sham. Or that VHP and RSS were not exactly enthusiastic about it either. Those are just minor details.

And now on to yet another wannabe prime minister from BJP: LK Advani. He's proved to be the laziest of them all by riding piggyback on the India Against Corruption movement with grand plans for an anti-corruption rath yatra, yawn. If he really wants to make us sit up, he should participate in the Formula One Grand Prix in Noida instead. That will be more fun and, who knows, it may do wonders for his image as a doddering old sod as well!

Ah well. Typical, isn't it, that the BJP has to con us with tacky PR initiatives in an attempt to win elections? 

This story is from print issue of HardNews