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Following Advani: Sachin and sun at Wardha
Pankaj Upadhyaya |
March 20, 2004 10:59 IST
Last Updated: March 20, 2004 11:14 IST
If you are a fan of Sachin Tendulkar, and I believe every sane man is, I am sure you have been through this torture. The torture of listening to people whose favourite sport all their lives has been saanp-seedi blaming Sachin for everything that is wrong with Indian cricket. If Sachin scores a big hundred and India loses, they say he should have taken the team to victory. If he scores a duck and India loses, they say he should have scored a big hundred. If Sachin scores a big hundred and India wins, they won't look up from their computer terminals the whole day. When they do, they ask why he doesn't score in pressure games.
Does Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani's rally in Wardha sounds like a safe place for a Sachin fan? It is not. On Friday, a farmers' leader (I told you) blamed Sachin's batsmanship (huh, as if batting is a combination of urea and pesticide in the ratio of 1:3) in the India-Pak match then on in Peshawar and the sun for the poor attendance at the rally. There were murmurs of protests from the crowds. Sachin was already out for duck. And the sun? Didn't they know it would be out in the sky at noon? I told you, these guys are
Raymonds and Advani what's the story?
Advani has often been heard saying that the term 'feel-good factor' to describe the change of mood brought about in the country by his government was inspired by an advertisement for Raymonds suiting, which uses a similar line. But is that all to this story? Advani and his team spent Thursday night at the plush Raymonds guesthouse in Yavatmal. He addressed a press conference on Friday morning at a conference hall within the guesthouse, which is all fine what are friends for? But what were two posters of the Raymonds advertisements that inspired the copywriter in Advani doing pasted on the dais as Advani addressed the press conference? Isn't that taking the connection a little too far?
Press conference at 0600 am
This is unheard of journalism in India. A press conference at 0600 am? We checked and rechecked. Don't the BJP media managers know that 6am is midnight for most journalists? But that was it - we were supposed to gather at the Raymonds guesthouse at that unearthly hour for a press conference with Shri Advaniji. I, of course, did not make it. But some journalists, mostly local, did. I reached the venue at 0730 am and there was still no sign of Advani. At around 0815 am came a sniffer dog and the Special Protection Group with its intimidating gadgets. But by this time the local press was so angry, even a Daisy Cutter would not have intimidated them. As soon as the main organiser of the Bharat Uday Yatra - Prakash Jawdekar - arrived, the journalists picked a brawl with him. Things cooled down only after senior BJP leader, Nitin Gadkari, intervened.
What's it in Shinde's smile?
Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is a happy-go-lucky man.
Who would have thought a police constable would one day become the chief of one of India's most developed states? One should not be surprised then that Shinde laughs a lot and almost always sports a smile. That's what makes him such a likeable man. But the opposition has problem with his sunny disposition and they have of late been targeting him on this count regularly. They narrate incidences when they went to the chief minister to discuss serious issues - drought, unemployment, farmers' suicide -- and all that he did was smile or laugh. Come on people, give Mr Shinde a break. Isn't laughter the best medicine?