Close encounters of the third kind
The general elections are round the corner, and once again, the only people who seem thrilled about it are our politicians. Unlike the US presidential elections where people cast their votes for the person and party they like the most, given the dubious nature of our politicians, we are forced to vote for coalitions we dislike the least. I can say with a great deal of conviction that the only country in the world that is envious of our corrupt democratic system is our crumbling neighbour. And frankly, that's not saying much. We, the people of India, would prefer that the elections were postponed instead of the IPL matches. Heck, at least those matches give us a sense of fair play.
And how sad, really how sad, for CPM general secretary, Prakash Karat, that the nation is not sitting up and exclaiming, "Ooh fantastic! This is what we've always wanted!" at the creation of the Third Front. It's been dismissed as a ragtag bunch of shameless opportunists by all columnists and political analysts I admire. We all know why Karat did it. It gives him a fabulous opportunity to say "nyaah nyaah nyaah" to the Congress. The poor fellow is still looking for a face-saving act after his 'nuke the nuke deal' debacle. Sorry old chap, but most of us firmly believe that you deserved what
At the same time, I must concede that the Third Front is not an entirely wasted effort. It has great entertainment value, and may well go down in the history of India as a desi remake of Steven Spielberg's '70s hit flick, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. For those who've forgotten their sci-fi GK, this is how it goes: Close encounter of the first kind - sighting of a UFO. Close encounter of the second kind - physical evidence. Close encounter of the third kind - contact. Yes, we now know that we are not alone, not with Deve Gowda, Chandrababu Naidu and other aliens making their presence felt. How spine-chilling is that?
What I enjoy most about it though is the Mayawati factor. Women can learn a lot of valuable lessons from the UP chief minister, particularly those with commitment-phobic boyfriends. The diva has put all her womanly wiles on display - playing hard to get, looking interested but coyly not making a commitment, saving herself for the big day when she can wearily sigh, "Okay boys, you've got me - if you make me prime minister, that is". And, if she does eventually become prime minister (God forbid), expect a war with the United Kingdom - she'll want the Kohinoor diamond back, won't she? That will probably head her to-do policy list for the nation. Fortunately, we won't have to squander our hard-earned money on trips to the museum to view it. The diamond-holic will be wearing it, of course. She's shrewd, that one. She's probably aware that flaunting diamonds is the only way she'll get to be described as a gem of a person.
Equally fascinating is the little drama playing out between Mayawati and AIADMK chief, J Jayalalithaa. The first thrilling episode we witnessed was over an invitation to a dinner hosted by Mayawati. I'm still confused as to why Jayalalithaa refused to permit her representative Maitreyan attend it. Is it because:
Mayawati didn't talk to her long enough on the phone? Tsk.
The invite came too late? Tut tut.
She wanted to remind the nation that Mayawati isn't the only diva around in a dramatic Kyunki Ex-Chief Minister Bhi Kabhi Chief Minister Thi way? Aah! now this sounds more like it.
If I were Maitreyan, though, I'd have defected from the AIADMK post haste for being done out of the dinner. The lavish spread was created by ITC Maurya Sheraton and it has been described in mouth-watering detail as 'the best of Indian food'. Heck, even I wished that I'd been invited to it.
I must say that I'm looking forward to the following episodes in the Jaya-Maya (how sweet! They sound like twins.) soap opera. It's only fair to give the devil his due. So, thank you Mr Karat, thank you from the bottom of my heart for livening up the general elections.