Monday, March 16, 2009

Everyone's talking...

Right now, every politician, wherever he may be, is ready to talk if you call (on) him.

If they don't, it means they're either really snooty or really important. Don't expect Sonia or Rahul Gandhi to grant you an interview right now, unless you're CNN or BBC or somebody equally firang. Even Mayawati and Modi will not take your calls right now. But the ones below them certainly will, and they do.

I went to the BSP office in Mumbai the other day with Mamta, and the guy manning the office was as thrilled as dammit to see any visitors; naturally he was tickled pink to know that both of us were journos looking for information and that we were actually asking him questions. After holding forth on the party and how it does things, he actually invited Mamta and me to join the BSP. "You work as journalists because you want a career, right"? he smirked. "This is also a career. Just stand for the elections, we'll help you win."

I mean, really. Go looking for a snippet and you get the entire story book plus the offer to become a Member of Parliament.

The other day I met a senior BJP leader who reduced the Shiv Sena to worse than dust once he was done criticising them. "Sharad Pawar has, customary to his style, ditched the party that was willing to help him. But these (Sainiks) don't get it. Uddhav is being advised by all the wrong people. Trusting Sharad Pawar would be the last thing Balasaheb would do, but nobody's listening to him, despite whatever the Sena may say."

And then there was the BJP party worker representing the Matang community, whose various causes Gopinath Munde espouses (at least, he started espousing them about two months ago). I was passing Azad Maidan and heard the usual shouts of "Vijay aso! Hum tumhare saath hain!" Walking in, I almost head-butted a guy who came charging at me from the opposite direction. "Media? Media?" he asked. I nodded. He handed me a bunch of papers, saying "Press release. Press release." After I'd given him my visiting card, he launched into a marketer's spiel about how the community was being harassed and how Munde would show them all. For over 10 minutes.

You meet all the different types during election time. All want to be heard. Most have nothing to say.

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