Tag Archives: RAHUL GANDHI

DEEPIKA PADUKONE & THE “IT’S MY CHOICE” VIDEO: MISFIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS!

“Vogue” roped in Homi Adjania & Deepika Padukone for its Vogue Empower video on women’s empowerment in India. A seemingly fantastic mix of editorial, production and marketing choices indeed, which were bound to spur skywards the prospects of all involved. But after 22 million hits on You Tube, strangely, none of them is sure if that happened. So what went wrong?

Vogue India decided to celebrate their 7th anniversary by launching a social awareness initiative, #VogueEmpower, with the aim of drawing attention to women’s empowerment issues which (as per the Vogue website) “touch and impact the lives of both urban and rural women”. As part of the campaign Vogue India planned to include features in the magazine, get its ambassadors to espouse causes, to tie up with Give India to fundraise for various women focused organistations and to finally be a “conduit of change and champion of women’s rights to empowerment of mind, body, thought and action.” The chosen medium were the magazine, social media, multimedia, digital and off line activities with a simple message “It starts with you.”

To reach out to the social media, Vogue made its first video on the theme on the issue of women’s safety, titled Going Home, a film by Vikas Behl, it featured Alia Bhatt and received wide acclaim and was an inferno on the social media.

Emboldened by the response the next video was boldly titled “Its My Choice” and was about a woman’s ability or inability to freely exercise her choices. It’s a slick 2min:35 sec video with a catchy back ground score which had a montage of Deepika Padukone and 98 other women, in various expressions from joy to anger, with Deepika providing the voice over. The art in the video is predominantly black, for greater impact and to also go with the aggressive theme.

The opening lines go along fine when it talks about letting women wear clothes they want to and whether they want to be size zero or 15, because after all these actually are personal choices.Few controversial issues follow such as whether the woman wants to marry or not, whether she wants to have sex before marriage, outside of marriage or not at all, and whether she wants to love temporarily or lust forever, or if she wants to not to love or love a boy or girl- and in all of this Deepika says -it’s her choice. And her (woman’s)choice alone!!! And when adulterous behavior is simplified as a mere matter of mere choice, devoid of sensitivity , then the video would naturally lose appeal.After all havent the men been accused of the same callous attitude?Then how is the same behaviour a sign of empowerment for the fairer sex?Something doesn’t quite click, isn’t it?

The confrontational and “me versus you” undertones become OVERtones when Deepika says “you are my choice, I am not your privilege”. The apparaent trivialisation of the male hardly wins the video support from the “oppressors”, ironically, this is what the video set out to achieve.Instead of thoughtful reflection most men would easily,and damagingly, end up construing that “women’s empowerment = women’s supremacy” !When the reality is just the opposite.

Deepika reveals naivete when she associates empowerment with freedom to return home late and the offensive tone bars the father, brother or partner from even being concerned !The best (or the worst) is saved for the last when Deepika says it’s “her choice”  (alone) whether she wants to have “your” baby or not, and if the male wants it then he is being “cocky” (pun intended?).Now what kind of logic is this??Since when has having a baby been an individual’s choice alone?Isnt it a collective decision?

Finally,Deepika delivers the coup de grace by stating that the women’s songs, order or virtues are essentially a man’s noise, anarchy and sins respectively !Mercifully,the video ends soon after and all that lingers is the scent of controversy.

This Amul ad / topical on the Its My Choice video shows the Amul Girl depicting the montage of Deepika Padukone with open and windblown hair from the video itself. Designed against a black backdrop it is consonance with the black setting in the video too.

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The Tag Line …Its My Choice… is a play on the theme of the #VogueEmpower video.The all yellow “O” is a take on the traditional “bindi” which has been chosen by Vogue as its symbol of women empowered.

The Punch Line … To Use a Butter Knife or to Use My Fingers… is a witty play on the theme of the video while playfully endorsing the inviting and delicious taste of the Amul Butter.

So why did the video not click with the audience?

Vogue went off target right from the start. It chose mostly bourgeois topics to raise awareness. It totally panned to its upwardly mobile clientele and overlooked issues such as equal rights to education, health, support for seeking employment, more representation in public services, work – life balance, dowry, domestic violence, safety and security and respect in public places. So what was covered was essentially the peripherals to the debate.It seems someone at Vogue did his or her studies on women’s empowerment from IIN and goofed it up royally!

Next, the meaning of empowerment is mutual understanding, trust and respect which should lead to equality between the sexes. Whereas the video reduced mutual coexistence between the sexes to the realm of imagination.It alienated its target audience and was rejected across the sexes for being offensive, insensitive, missing the point and portraying an untrue and incomplete dimension of the espoused cause.Instead of a “me and you” approach the video embarked on a “me versus you” trajectory.

The above was exemplified by the controversy over the two most contentious issuse in the video – adultery and child bearing.

The entire agenda got hijacked when the video was seen to endorse adultery – “sex outside of marriage”- as a matter of choice for a woman.The men ofcourse turned around and asked if it was open season for them as well, with no questions asked?Is this what Deepika had in mind when she says “my virtues, your sins”?

The line adopted on the issue bearing a child was another sticking point which exposed the flawed logic and the misplaced sense of empowerment being espoused by Deepika and Co.And here she rings the death knell for the compassion sought to be generated.Women’s empowerment cannot happen without mutual undestanding and factoring in of each others sensitivity.

 As is obvious, the arguments were vacuous and the lines hollow and this undoubtedly damaged the espoused cause substantially.

In the aftermath, the men now, gleefully, demanded that they be not judged when they exercise absolute freedom of choice to love temporarily, lust permannently, to be adulterous and to consider everything about a relationship temporary. This retort and the line of argument by the men not only turned the logic of the video on its head but also exposed its hollowness completely. Seriously, I think Rahul Gandhi did more for women’s empowerment in his disastrous interview with Arnab Goswamy, than this video. At least in his case there wasn’t any hostility associated with the concept! Only hilarity.

The lines on returning home at 4am totally obfuscated the intent behind the video. It was as if the woman was saying that I will do whatever and you, the guy, can neither question (still understandable) nor have the right to be worried. And this in a country where crimes against women are committed on the streets, in the by lanes, homes, neighbourhood, trains, buses, fields, public parks and of all the places – Police Stations! So is being genuinely worried about a woman mutually exclusive with her sense of freedom??? If yes, then for me this is – #VagueEmpower!

The topics spoken about in the video are hardly mirroring rural concerns. Was there any mention of female infanticide (it happens in urban India too) or of the necessity to provide proper ablutions to the women or about the atrocities of the Khap Panchayats? If not then Vogue failed in its stated intent as mentioned in the beginning of the Post.

If it’s about absolute freedom, then let everybody do what they want. Let rapists run riot, let murders be committed, let eve teasing be the norm, let wife beating and marital rape not be cognizable offences, then don’t drag boys to court on charges of rape when they walk out of relationships – as in all these cases it was all about “their” choices and they exercised it. So, whats wrong with it?

Everything.

There is a fine line between freedom of choice and absolute freedom. The latter will lead to chaos and anarchy. Choices have consequences and the ones who make them have to be accountable for it, as these always impact lives of those affected by these choices. Even the universe, which Deepika has alluded to, conforms to rules to maintain order and eschews chaos.

The utter gibberish dished out by Vogue led to numerous spoofs. The best amongst them was the one titled #DogueEmpower, where the cute little canine politely tells us about “his/her” choices. And believe me, the canine’s assertions for exercising “his/ her” choices are far more convincing than those of Deepika Padukone. The video has thus far received over a 100000 hits.

For her part in this charade, Deepika Padukone of course has proven that she is competing with Aliya Bhat for the “new blonde in town” title. She comes across as comfortably dumb, to have not realized the implications of the hollow lines she was parroting. And she can’t seek refuge in the fact that here she was merely in her “on screen” avatar. Doesn’t she add value to her dialogues and roles, in a movie, by sharing inputs with her director? Then we expect her to have exercised her discretion in this case too. Thus she is equally responsible for the fiasco and is also a poor choice as a feminist poster girl.She speaks of the uncaged female spirit and the expanding universe but then in reality does everything that signifies enslavement of a woman’s mind, body and spirit – just to stay on top of in the film industry, which happens to be the most exploitative of the women who are part of it ! Ironical, isnt it?

Padukone’s association with the #VogueEmpower campaign is extremely hypocritical as she is herself endorsing figure slimming cereals and skin lightening creams and perpetuating myths and stereotypes about the way women should be seen rather than want to be seen (choice.. Remember?) So, Deepika, see if you can differentiate between “real” and “fake” feminism!

As for Homi Adjania – “yeh hi hai wrong choice baby”. In the Bollywood flick “Cocktail” he has trashed the freewheeling “snowflake” (girl), in favour of the nice “snowflake” who is the exact antithesis of the “coming-home-at-4am-sex before marriage-sex outside of marriage” type endorsed by him as the poster girl for women’s empowerment. So, Mr Adjania, what do you have to say about this? After all, a director’s work also mirrors his beliefs.And yours appear as hollow as the video you dished out !

The in-congruence of the video also lay in the choice of the 99 women. Though successful in their own right, they are all from privileged backgrounds where they would have hardly ever experienced the denial of a choice. Vogue had hoped to carry out a marketing blitz and cash in on the latest big thing – Indian Feminism. And the fact that the video was a result of a marketing ploy rather than a reflection of the realities of women empowerment explains why it did not resonate even with the mere 30% percent (english speakng) of the population that it targetted.It also suffered due to the poor credibility levels of fashion and life style magazines as they are known to perpetuate trends and stereotypes which are totally against their professed stand on issues such as empowerment !

The video was an utter failure and i really wonder how much #VogueEmpower can do for women’s issues especially when the campaign is floundering and misfiring on all cylinders!

In the end, my heart goes out to Jiten Ram Majhi, who was pilloried when he endorsed the extra marital affair of his son as a consensual relationship. But here , #VogueEmpower wants us to believe that it is a sign of women’s empowerment.If this video would have happened a few months back Majhi could have cited it in his support.

Its never too late though.Makes for good copy and some more juicy controversy !

THE ADVENTURES OF JITAN RAM MANJHI: WHERE GOOFY AND GAFFES GO HAND IN HAND !

In politics neither are there permanent foes nor permanent friends. Those who follow this to the “t” form a league of extraordinary gentlemen excelling in the art of survival. Lalu Prasad Yadav was an icon of this league and Jitan Ram Manjhi, a seemingly daft and ridiculous politician, who shares the ex CM tag with Lalu is now carrying his legacy forward. And that too in style.

The advent of “Modi Sarkar” spelt doom for the Nitish Kumar dispensation in Bihar and Janata Dal (United) – JD (U)- faced rapid erosion of its support base. To assuage the disenchanted electorate, Nitish then played a “mastercard” and stepped down as CM and instead anointed Jitan Ram Manjhi , from the Mahadalit community, as his successor. The decision assured Nitish of the “sacrifice” tag and also underscored his credentials as a champion of the downtrodden.

The unremarkable and unassuming Manjhi, a party hopper from the Cong (I), to the RJD and then the JD (U) had helped draw the backward class votes for the JD (U). Nitish obviously considered Manjhi trustworthy enough otherwise a politician can only trust his wife to keep his “seat” safe as Rabri Devi did for Lalu (else a Chandra Babu Naidu is always lurking around the corner). It was also assumed that Manhji would be fed instructions by Nitish Kumar to do his bidding and be suitable “remote controlled”.

The new CM started his innings so slow, that the only thing slower than that was an Akash Chopra innings. He was the quintessential “ever-so-grateful-I-am-so-indebted” type of second rung leader who made the right noises about his political mentor. But he had a strange penchant for the foot in mouth syndrome.

Manjhi once, controversially, quoted a minister travelling with him to a Temple that the idol and the temple were washed clean after his visit, hinting at untouchability being inflicted upon him.He was later contradicted by the minister himself. Manjhi angered his own colleagues when he likened the upper castes to foreigners, implying they were essentially exploitative ! Coming close on the heels of this was the warning to the doctors in the state that if they denied or delayed help to the poor, Manjhi would “chop their hands off”! When informed of people in flood hit areas eating rats he retorted that in his childhood he had eaten rats many a times and they were very nutritious!! He then went on to admit that he had paid bribe to get his electricity bills reduced and that he had accepted commissions from engineers/ contractors and to underscore this he even suggested that small time traders can go about black marketing and it won’t be considered a crime !He controversially exhorted Dalit youth to marry out of their castes to perpetuate greater power.Eventually his family too contributed, his son was involved in a sex scandal which was defended by Manjhi and his son-in-law came in for undue attention when Manjhi appointed him his personal assistant, flouting government regulations.

By now Manjhi had developed a reputation for being a buffoon, bumbling along in the corridors of power. When a week passed without a controversy, JD (U) leaders probably felt underemployed as they weren’t defending Manjhi’s utterances ! The controversies created a negative image for the JD (U) and threatened to reduce the CM’s office to a caricature. He was fast becoming a liability for the party as well as Nitish. Rumblings for Manjhi’s removal grew stronger but it wasn’t easy to replace him as it would have sent negative political signals to the disparate but 30 percent strong backward class electorate.And also cause severe embarrassment to Nitish for the comical turn of events.

But the wheels of fortune were turning and for Nitish they turned for the worst.

Manjhi started coming into his own. He cited his bribe giving as an example of how corruption was rampant in the State in spite of the efforts of Nitish Kumar. He also blamed “powerful” politicians and “well connected”bureaucrats of stifling him when he tried to chart an independent course. The hint was strong and not-so-subtle and eventually he and Nitish drifted apart. The alarm bells sounded when Manjhi started taking action against bureaucrats and officials (known to be close to Nitish) for a stampede in Patna. Not only was this in complete contrast to Nitish’s way of functioning as he had seemingly shielded officials in spite of previous stampedes (chhath puja, Nov 12) and bomb blasts (Narendra Modi’s “Hunkar” rally, Gaya) but also signaled Manjhi’s inclination to dump the “remote control”.

Hereon, Manjhi took off.

He declared his ambitions to be PM one day and pushed aggressively for Dalit, Mahadalit, EBC unity to be powerful stakeholders in the State. He also claimed to have done more in an year for the poor,sociaaly backward amd against corruption than Nitish had done in his 10 years as CM. Manjhi was now eroding Nitish’s credibility and standing faster and more effectively than the BJP ever could. Manjhi had now gained political traction by posturing himself close to Nitish’s bete noire, Narendra Modi , and foe turned friend, Lalu Yadav.

Finally after months of dithering Nitish belled the cat and Manjhi was asked to resign ad CM. He refused. The JD (U) then became the first party to expel its own CM!Nitish was made the leader of the legislature party but Manjhi managed a stay order on Nitish’s election and both of them approached the Governor to be allowed to prove their majority.

The political narrative gradually transcended from the ridiculous to the sublime. The JD (U) now demanded the status of the Leader of the Opposition (?) to demonstrate its distance from Manjhi while it was still the ruling party its members would also sit on the treasury benches!!! JD(U) –united- stood disunited and Nitish who had once borne Prime Ministerial ambitions was now struggling to even be CM and the undisputed leader within his own Party!

Bihar plunged into political turmoil with the status of the CM and his administration being reduced to mockery. When Manjhi recommended dissolution of the Assembly and fresh elections an unprecedented two thirds of his Cabinet colleagues resigned in protest! Manjhi then pushed for a secret ballot during the no-confidence vote banking on the BJP’s support plus a substantial chunk of MLAs breaking away from Nitish. 

This Amul ad/ topical on Jitan Ram Manjhi came out at the height of his exploits and shows two caricatures depicting Nitish Kumar and Manjhi involved in a tussel. Nitish is shown trying to wrest the CM’s seat while Manjhi is shown desperately holding on while the Amul Girl watches in bewilderment. The strip shows Manjhi and Nitish in their trademark attires and also captures the disgusting spectacle of power hungry politicians squabbling in public.

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The Tag Line…O, Manjhi re,Kaun Hoga Paar?…. describes the uncertain political situation and literally translates into asking the boatman who would manage to cross over to the bank from a rocking boat in the midst of the river.Manjhi is also hindi for a boatman.

The Punch Line… Utterly-Biharterrly Delicious… is a play on the famous Amul ad line as well as indicating the state of affiars in Bihar politics.

Eventually, the secret ballot wasn’t allowed and even more fortuitously for Nitish, the BJP lost the Delhi elections.To prevent further damage to its imageBJP drew its hand from openly supporting a split in the JD (U) and did not want to be seen as the ones rocking the boat. Devoid of his backers,Manjhi resigned without taking a floor test and in his own inimitable style announced thay he did so under rhreat to his and the lives of his supporters. Nitish Kumar was once again sworn in as the CM after 8 months of chaos.

Nitish had read Manjhi wrong just like Nawaz Sharif had read Musharraf wrong. Born in 1944 to homestead workers, Manjhi had learnt his political lessons way back in the 70s.While securing votes for others he realized he could do it for himself and did just that when he won his first elections in 1980.He simply applied the same theory when made the CM.A six time MLA and having always been with the party in power Manjhi wasn’t as pliant as he seemed. After all Clark Kent is seemingly harmless too!

Manjhi proved a deft judge of the political scenario.He correctly identified that to defeat the BJP the RJD, Cong (I) and the JD (U) will need the backward class votes.He being from the Mahadalit community (Musahar) could become the rallying point of this grand alliance in case he was able to posture himself as the undisputed leader of the downtrodden. This made his removal difficult as both Lalu and Nitish did not want to be seen as anti-backward classes. And his dalliances with the BJP should surprise none as Manjhi’s son is already a BJP member and way back in 1991 Manjhi had garnered the BJP workers support in his bid to win in the Gaya Parliamentary by elections. The BJP saw in him an opportunity to engineer elections in Bihar and to capitalize on the chaos in the JD (U). Manjhi too saw a great chance to be the CM in case the BJP backed him outrightly.

But for Arvind Kejriwal, Manjhi was almost home !

Manjhi in his brief tenure emerged stronger and his actions to increase quota for SC/ST in government contracts, appointing 45000 safai karamcharis, increasing land allocation for the landless from 3 to 5 decimals and hiking of government subsidies upto 80 percent for SC/ST farmers clearly presented himself as the last, best and only hope for the reinvigorated backward classes. His seemingly gibberish utterances were after all well thought out and had a subtle and telling effect.It is he who is the victim now and has survived his mentor. Clever indeed. After all, survivors are thinkers too.

In the end, Nitish Kumar emerged weaker and lost political capital. Lalu as lost as ever. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress totally marginalized (they may well consider joining Manjhi’s newly floated Hindustani Awami Morcha). BJP emerged devious but stands to benefit by this split in the backward class votes.

Whatever happened in Bihar shows us the ugly side of India’s caste based politics which trivializes development and governance at the altar of caste based politics. It’s always about vote bank. After all that’s why Manjhi could shout down protestors by saying that it’s not their votes that make him win. Simply means, if you matter you get benefitted otherwise languish right where you are and suffer goofy and gaffe prone clowns. Kashmiri Pandits and the victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy are a case in point.

For those who want to be remote controls let me share an updated list compiled by a columnist, of those who defied the gadget,dumped their “controlling hands” and successfully charted their own political course – Pervez Musharraf, Suresh Prabhu, John Major and now Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Feom the chaos in Bihar what I have learnt is that politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently.

They stink.

POST SCRIPT  

11 March 15; Nitish Kumar expectedly and comfortably won the Confidence/Trust Vote in the Bihar Assembly when he garnered 140 votes.There was slight but predictable drama with the BJP staging a walkout and Jitan Ram Manjhi stay in away from the proceedings.

Manjhi had earlier sat on a dharna at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna to protest the revocation of 39 of his administrative orders by the present Bihar CM. Manjhi claimed that had Nitish persisted with the policy decisions they had the potential to rid Bihar of all its ills.

Mr Manjhi, pardon my ignorance but does this include politicians too ?

MAHACHAOS: EXIT CUPID;ENTER AFZAL KHAN !

To be allies for twenty five years in Politics is a ‘Nirmal Baba’ miracle of “kripa” proportions.So,“breaking up” is not only unthinkable but also spells certain doom. But in Maharashtra, its not doom ,but “Dhoom Macha Le” time as the four principal groups seem to be enjoying their new found status –“Single Again”! But only on the face of it, for there’s more to it than meets the eye!

The Indian National Congress (INC) – Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine had been thrashed in the general elections & Narendra Modi’s ascendancy had thrown up a tremendous opportunity for the BJP-Shiv Sena combine – to assume leadership in the upcoming State elections.

However in a classic example of putting the cart before the ox, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine hurtled towards a shocking & quarrelsome split! Elections were barely announced & the protagonists were already squabbling over installing their own Chief Minister!

Shiv Sena had mentored the BJP in the state & were a larger state party with a broader appeal & thus felt they had rights over not only the larger portion of the electoral cake but also the cherry on top of it. Whereas an ascendant BJP was unwilling to play second fiddle to its longtime ally & also staked claim to greater number of seats than before & also to the Chief Minister’s position. The recent by election results had not gone in favour of the BJP & this too had strengthened the Sena’s case.

Many rounds of tea, bhel puris & bondas & 25 years later the two partners, BJP & Shiv Sena decided to go it alone in the elections.

Certain of losing power in Maharashtra after a 15 year rule.Sharad Pawar, party chief, NCP, was desirous of ditching the sinking INC Titanic to save his outfit.For the INC – NCP grouping there best bet lay in imitating the actions of their rivals & the very first thing they did to follow in their rivals’ shoes was- to part ways – after a 15 year rule during which they presided over Maharashtra’s collective deterioration.

With no coalition in the fray the stage was set for an humdinger of a four cornered contest.And also for some bizarre storytelling..with some modicum of truth as well.

Its rumoured that to better his electoral prospects, Udhav Thackeray,the Shiv Sena Chief sought the blessings of Nirmal Baba.The God man has purportedly advised Udhav to act childish & immature if he wants “kripa” descending on his electoral ambitions. Udhav has since been steadfastly following the advise.

The BJP has been reveling in its single status & is riding high on the popularity of the Prime Minister.Such is their confidence, they have now demanded that the Democrats & the Republicans in the US get into a seat sharing arrangement with them in the upcoming US senate elections.

Raj Thackeray has been having a whale of a time.Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena (MNS) is unlikely to win anything substantial & so he has a lot of time on hand. He has bought the full set of Amar Chitra Katha & Indrajal comics.He is sharing his joy & the plots of the comics with brother Udhav,just as they did in their childhood. And Udhav is then selecting the most bizarre ones & attributing them to the BJP, like it was the BJP that Shivaji fought against in the battle of Singhgarh! Also that BJP was on the side of the Mughals in the Battle of Haldi Ghati & that Afzal Khan, a turncoat Mughal chieftain from the 17th century was responsible for the BJP – Shiv Sena split.

The INC has been busy doing nothing to further its prospects. To rid themselves of the agony of campaigning & losing, Congress leaders have requested Rahul Gandhi (aka-Pappu) to campaign for them. The “Shehzada” obliged & in his first speech forgot the name of the candidates he was endorsing. The audience have not come to know of the candidate thus sealing an emphatic defeat at the hustings!

The NCP for its part is working so discreetly that even its supporters don’t know whether the party is in the fray or not! They are waiting for Ajit Pawar to utter some “utter non sense” so finally the party can have some hope of gaining visibility.!

The Amul Ad/ topical on the Maharashtra Elections has been well timed & conceptualized.It shows two gransdiose looking chairs depicting the chair of the Chief Minister which is being vied for by the political parties.On to the right of the Amul Girls are erstwhile allies Prithvi Raj Chauhan & Ajit Pawar (INC-NCP) & onto her left are Narendra Modi & Udhav Thackeray (BJP-Shiv Sena).Each of the individual is carrying their respective electoral symbol as well.The Amul Girl is seen handing out equal measure of butter from a deliciously golden block of butter and unlike in real life, in the scrip the “allies” seem satisfied with their respective share !!!

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The Tag Line….Can’t share seats?Share eats…is taking a swipe at the inability of the political groupings to arrive at a satisfactory seat sharing arrangement. It exhorts the readers to “share eats”, an obvious reference to Amul butter & the numerous dishes this butter supports!

The Punch Line…Allied with Bread..is a take on the fickle mindedness of the political parties to not be allied to their long standing allies. It also stresses upon the loyalty aspect of the butter to the bread & hints at the fact that its consumed best with bread!

These elections are a watershed event in Maharashtra & for the nation. If the BJP forms the government then Modi shall be firmly seated in power. For the Shiv Sena too these are a make or break elections as a defeat will marginalize it further in the state politics. As for the NCP , it can hope to retain some strongholds & luckily is not seen allied to the INC, who in these elections are going to be DECImated!!!

None of the rivals have ruled out coming together after the elections.So..i guess…Picture abhi baki hai mere dost!!!I predict an outright BJP victory.What say?

19 October 14; the results are out & the BJP is the single largest party with 124 seats but short of the 145 majority mark.The gamble has paid for them but the intrigue & suspense persists.

BJPs astonishing win – result of its bold gamble plays out on yet another Amul ad strip.It depicts two caricatures representing Devendra Phadnavis & Pankaja Munde (of the BJP) along with the Amul girl announcing their win with a traditional Marathi trumpet.The CMs chair,finally belonging to the BJP, is shown with a yellow block of butter.

Sweeping winners indeed!!!!

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31 October 2014; Much drama has already unfolded in Maharashtra since the last update.Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the first ever BJP government in the State, albeit without the requisite numbers !

The split with the Shiv Sena widened to a seemingly disastrous level. And the scam tainted NCP offered outside support to the BJP led minority government in a display of opportunistic pragmatism and shockingly the BJP accepted it too !

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12 November 2014;Much chaos preceded the vote of confidence. Shiv Sena’s brinkmanship cost it heavily and the state level acrimony spilled on to the national stage when Modi inducted Sena dissident Suresh Prabhu as the BJP nominee in his cabinet.

The vote of confidence took place on the anointed hour but was controversially passed by a voice vote rather than a division of votes. The Shiv Sena sat in the opposition and staked claim for the position of the leader of the oppositon. The voice vote was a departure from convention and sullied the BJP government’s image to a great extent. It certainly has not put its best foot forward.A credibility crisis has already gripped the nascent government.

08 December 2014; Good sense prevailed and the BJP and the Shiv Sena have now patched up, albeit on the BJP’s terms, and the Sena has now joined the Maharashtra government.The NCP is out of reckoning for now.And the Congress is no where to be found.Probably the undercurrent of the publics disapproval of the political wranglings and a scary prospect of going to elections again has impelled the principle protagonists to come together.Shiv Sena stood to lose the most especially after being relegated to the second place in the State’s saffron politics.And this development also augurs well for the NDA in the Lok Sabha and more so in the Rajya Sabha where it is in minority.

Hopefully the government will complete its five year term.But be prepared for an even larger round of Mahachaos in 2019, if not earlier !

OMG! DEEPIKA PADUKONE & THE “DIRTY TIMES”!

When a leading daily decided to “showcase” the cleavage of actress Deepika Padukone ,it had no idea of the furore about to unfold.Spurred by a spirited counter attack by the actress herself,celebrities & netizens tore into the reputation of the Times of India (TOI).

On 14 September 2014, TOI Entertainment tweeted a link to a web photo gallery with the caption: “OMG: Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show.” The clips shows Deepika wearing a low cut dress designed by Anaita Shroff Adajania for the trailer launch of Chennai Express in 2013

Padukone responded by tweeting -“YES! I Am a Woman. I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??”.

Within no time Deepika was hailed as a crusader.Her reaction was re tweeted more than 7,000 times & #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone started trending.

The newspaper has since tried to backtrack telling her the tweet was intended as a “compliment” !

Padukone came up with her Point of View,titled -My issue is objectification of a real person!In this the actress essentially arguing that the media & the society in general should differentiate between the “REEL” world, depicted by the characters she portrays & the “REAL” world wherein she is woman & deserves to be treated with respect & not objectified by showcasing parts of her body for the sake of head lines & leveraging the power of “influence to proliferate recessive thought”.

TOI came up with its defence wherein it accepted the actresses’ “reel versus real argument” but accused her of hypocrisy especially since she has been photographed “flaunting her body off screen” in “real” life.

Not accepting the faux pas & facing the heat from rivals (who have themselves indulged in similar “objectification”), TOI put forth a vacuous argument & justified its actions by disregarding the actresses’ reservations & confirming the notion that they totally ignored the fact that Deepika is a woman first & an actress later & she needs to be respected.

Media houses need to survive & sometimes they adopt reprehensible tactics (News of the World is a case in point) & justifying their scrupulousness by laying the blame on the society, that they present what is likely to be read or watched more!

Bollywood too is under the scanner for constantly raising the bar for indecency & vulgarity & relying on raunchy “item numbers”, in the name of artistic expression & that “the script demanded it”. Though Bollywood as an entity rallied around Deepika but it continues to perpetuate the very actions which are leading to the increasing objectification of women.

Shakespeare never needed a rape or an intimate scene or an “item number” to progress his script, yet he is known as the greatest playwright ever. Food for thought?

The women in Bollywood too need to stand up against being depicted as “Pinky hai paise walon ki”, or as ” Main to tanduri murgi hoon yaar,Gatkale saiyan alcohol se ” or inviting the hero with ” Aabroo ke silaayi khulegi, Sharm ka bhi lifafa phatega ,Kaddu katega to sab mein batega”.And please stop taking pride in being “item girls”..for an item is essentially an object!!!

Sadly, Deepika, you fumbled when Barkha Dutt asked if you would take the issue of objectification of women in films to its logical end? Your answer was the same banal “if the script demands”….

This is getting too serious!

I have realised that there are some who willingly get exposed & dont mind getting ripped of all dignity as well.And remain thick skinned enough to repeat their ridiculous acts.

Some of the “guests”  on Arnab Goswami’s News Hour are the chief culprits.

Peerzada from Pakistan, is a classic. Almost gullitioned each time that he appears on the show, yet in his exposure lies publicity & may be financial interests.After all “muft mein koi itni beizzati kyon karwayega”..okay i am not game for it !

Next – the spokespersons of political parties.

Rahul Gandhi tears an ordnance in public & gets kudos from his media team!!! Sakshi Maharaj rant about Love Jehad & their party spokesperson defends it by invoking everything under the sun & still doesn’t sound convincing! Stout defence can after all get them in the political fray itself!

Ajit Singh shamelessly tries to blackmail the government into letting him be a regularised “squatter” in a bungalow, by unleashing hordes of “distressed farmers” on New Delhi & its water supply. Exposed totally!! But appears next instant as the “lokpriya kisan neta”! And the closest that Ajit Singh has been to the word ” farmer” is when he orders the Farmhouse Pizza from Dominoes!

Kapil Sibal stated that there was zero loss to the exchequer in the 2G scam when the CAG pegged it at Rupees 1lakh 76 thousand crores!You see in a hurry to make brownie points ,Sibal saw 176 on one page & a pageful of zeroes on the other..and showcased his inteligence!!Then he wanted to be re-elected in 2014!!!

The nation & the crocodiles demand an answer for the secret of the thick skin on these stalwarts!!!!

Coming to the Amul ad/ topical on Deepika Padukone.It depicts a caricature of the actress wearing a similar gown as the one which generated the controversy.A bit of the cleavage too is shown to draw parallels.The Amul girl is the likely assistant while reporters are obscenely vying for odd angles to take sneak pics of the actress.

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The Tag Line…Newspaperazzi…is an apt take on newspapers crossing the line & including tabloid & paperazzi content in the name of news.Thus the inglorious correlation of serious reporting with that of the paperazzi kind!

The Punch Line…Star Power…is inspired by the power of a star to stand for a cause & rally massive support.It also draws a parallel with the Amul butter being a star product with the power to pull customers!

Lastly, Deepika..Shah Rukh Khan..Hrithik Roshan..do take up cudgels against excessive violence, vulgarity & obscenity in films because most confuse the “reel for the real”!

And unlike all papers which reported the incident – I am not tagging this as the “Deepika Padukone cleavage row” .I don’t need publicity at the cost of a woman!

MARS ORBITER MISSION: MANGALYAAN AND THE FOURTH ROCK FROM THE SUN !

Everyone sat anxious and tense, at the Mission Operations Complex-2 (MOX-2), the nerve centre of India’s Mars mission.There was just one question on everybody’s mind: Will it happen?When Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan nodded calmly,the gesture made it official. At 7.59 a.m. on 24th September 2014, India had accomplished a gigantic feat of putting a spacecraft in orbit around Mars in its first attempt.

The space odyssey of the “Mangalyaan” (Mars Orbiter Mission – MOM) commenced on 5th November 2013 when it set out on its journey to Mars onto an indigenous and improved PSLV-C25. It would travel 78 crore kilometers in a 300 days journey towards the Red Planet for its eventual date with destiny.On the anointed day the LAM engines & the thrusters roared into life and placed Mangalyaan in the Martian Orbit.

The entire project cost USD 74 Million (Rupess 450 crores) (Hollywood flick “Gravity” cost USD 900 Million).This is the cheapest ever inter planetary space mission.The improved PSLV-C25, LAM engines, the AOCS thrusters, Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA),Gyroscopes & Accelerometers are some of the critical components designed & manufactured indigenously in India. ISRO is the fourth space agency after the Russians,NASA & the ESA to reach Mars & the first to do it right in its first attempt.India & the USA are now in an agreement to share the findings of the mission with NASA.

Such a feat will always attract acolytes & detractors alike.Its the latter which keep me in business!

New York Times (NYTimes/ NYT) published a cartoon showing members of the Elite Space Club reading a newspaper with a headline about India’s Mars mission. They appear unhappy with a seemingly impoverished Indian man dressed in a a turban,with a cow,knocking at their door.This is a self goal by NYT. The caricature has nothing to do with contemporary realities & it failed to register the fact that no other country has managed to enter Martian orbit in its first attempt & that NASA is relying upon “Mangalyaan” to improve upon the findings of its ultra expensive “Curiosity” or “Maven”.

In case ISRO is succesful in launching a cow,a certain Lalu Prasad Yadav is already working on the contract to supply fodder on Mars.May God -or Martians- save the cows & the fodder!!!

Incidentally, the Chinese are still looking for their Mars bound “Yinghuo 1” in the Pacific & the Japanese “Nozomi” is declared lost as it could not place itself in orbit around the planet!

The ruling BJP has gone gung ho with the launch & trumpeted it as the biggest success of the Modi Government.They are  now hopeful of reaching an agreement atleast with the Martians on seat sharing arrangements for any elections taking place on Mars!

Some of the Congressmen are upset at missing out on a Golden opportunity.Realising only now that this was a one way mission they are ruing their chances of not convincing Rahul Gandhi aka Pappu to undertake a Martian tour for championing women empowerment on Mars!

One Arvind Kejriwal has demanded that amongst the many probes in the spacecraft which one is probing corruption on Mars?On being answered in the negative he has claimed this to be a sign that the NDA Government is not serious about tackling corruption (??)! He is demanding that ISRO send him to Mars so he can sit on a Dharna & protest!

The al Qaeda isnt happy with this Indian achievement & they have asked Hafeez Saeed to send suicide bombers after Mangalyaan.Not to be out done, the Islamic State has in a recent interview to some western news channel ordered the beheading of Mars (???) for hosting an infidel spacecraft!

To out do ISRO , Bilawal Bhutto of Pakistan is planning a rocket to the Sun (???) He is now managing Bajaj engines to power the flight.His scientists are presently figuring out how much to tilt the rocket to get it kick started? Any guesses?

Narendra Modi is also being credited by the RBI for smart economics.The timely fine of Rs 100 crore on ex CM, Jayalalitha lowered the effective cost of the MOM to Rupees 350 crore!This has found favour with the credit rating agencies & India has been upgraded from it present status of “negative”!

Coming to the Amul Ad/ topical on Magalyaan or the Mars Orbiter Mission.It captures the ISRO feat of putting the Mangalyaan in Martian orbit.It depicts the Amul Girl in a space suit & in a Superman like pose she is guiding the speeding “Mangalyaan” towards Mars, which is seen in the background.

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The Tag Line…Mangalkhaana..is a spin on the name of the spacecraft “Mangalyaan (Mars-craft)” . “Mangal” in hindi has two meanings.It means the planet Mars & also means Auspicious.And the word “Khana” has been used to depict the Amul butter as being equally pleasant & auspicious as the ISRO achievement.

The Punch Line..MOMs love it..is a take on the anagram of the Mars Orbiter Mission & is a subtle endorsement of the Amul butter as being the favoured choice of mothers for pampering their children with generous dollops of the yellow delight!

Amul had previously commemorated the start of the mission too.

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In the midst of all the accolades the real significance of the mission lies in the future exploration & eventual attempts to colonise outer space for its resources.Mars is flush with Methane & the leading nations already have their sights on the resource.ISROs success implies that the neighbouring countries will not make a beeline for China to assist in launching satellites & this has massive security & economic implications. ISRO has contributed immensely through remote sensing & now the MOM will further stabilise its credentials for additional financial commitments to explore outer space.It is definitely a feat worth commemorating & has invigorated young minds to take up scientific studies.

The most unbelievably low cost of USD 74  Million was achieved by keeping the Mangalyaan payload down to 15kg, compared to the complex MAVEN payload, to complement and not duplicate what the other missions to mars already have in and around Mars.In conjunction with the Maven and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express, Mangalyaan will provide a three point measurement of the research on methane and the presence of methane producing microbes on Mars.

So,India simply played it smart ! And for NYT,whether you like gatecrashers or not,  snake charmers have now mastered the fourth rock from the sun…and can teach you a thing or two as well !

NYT has since retracted the controversial cartoon & apologised as well.Reality Bites…or should i say..Moos (like a cow)!

19 December 14

ISRO and its team of scientists have made a major breakthrough.The space agency has achieved the successful launch of the GSLV Mk III.The launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota on 18 December 14 of the heaviest Indian rocket,also known as LVM3/CARE, was carried out to validate the complex atmospheric flight regime of the suborbital experimental mission.Its two solid S 200 engines and a liquid L110 engine performed as expected.The rocket also carried a passive (non functional) cryogenic upper stage.This has brought ISRO closer to carrying out the first development flight with a functional C25 Cryogenic stage,also known as Cry engine or cry stage.Success of the LVM3-X will ensure heavier payloads of up to 4 tonnes for Indian satellite launch vehicles and will eliminate the need to depend on foreign agencies to launch such satelites.

The CARE stands for Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment.This module was integrated in the upper stage of the rocket and separated at approx 126 km and after 730 seconds splashed in the Indian Ocean at a controlled speed of 7m per second.The success of the CARE module in meeting all flight and re entry parameters augurs well for the future.And thirty years after Rakesh Sharma, India is now definitively closer to putting together its first manned mission to space.

Success begets success and after Mangalyaan each leap is now bigger than the previous one.

PAPA KEHTE HAIN PAPPU BADA NAAM KAREGA !

Once Rahul Gandhi had been seen as the future of a youthful India & his 129 year old Indian National Congress (INC) Party.Soon,he led his party to disaster at the hustings and mutated from the biggest hope to the biggest dope -aka Pappu! To compound issues, he was found sleeping through (oh so blissfully) a heated debate being led by his Party men on the Railway Budget to corner the Narendra Modi led NDA government.

Wwy would Rahul Gandhi ,the designated “Gladiator” of the Congress Party ,doze off in parliament & expose himself to the daggers & sarcastic barbs of his rivals?How could be he so dumb?Did it happen?

The answer to all of this is a big & hilarious – YES!..and it happened while he was sitting right behind the party colleague making an impassioned case against the government! Rahul probably emulated a certain Arvind Kejriwal, that it pays to be in the news,somehow, for good or bad reasons.So he conjured a controversy! This is sacrifice in the best Indian traditions.He sacrificed himself for the Party as otherwise who would notice the 44 seat rump of the INC in a humongous 544 seat Indian Parliament. Mommy Sonia Gandhi, of Italian ascent, had sacrificed the Prime Ministership in return for a zero accountability position as the Puppeteer in the UPA dispensation headed by a mute puppet named Manmohan Singh!!!

Rahul Gandhi probably slept to escape the misery of his actual life.In his dreams “impossible is nothing”.

He dreamt that his mother had finally allowed him to chase his ambition..of being a gardener in the Parliament lawns…in a dhoti & gamcha and his Venezuelan girlfriend bringing him a spartan meal of chapatis & onion (what else would a gardner eat after the UPA government’s legacy of price rise!). He also found the secret of dealing with his nightmare Arnab Goswami, hidden in jack fruit ! In his dream, uncle Manmohan had a tongue & it was recovered from the deepest vaults of the kingdom of Psycho-fancia, ruled by an evil Queen (any guesses?). Furthermore, uncle Digvijay Singh is seen having a zip lock on his mouth which is configured to open in 9999 AD.

But in his dream he still had his bad moments.He dreamt that he was plucked from his gardening pursuits by a Robert Vadra when the latter bought the garden to develop a Pub!

Where’s sister Priyanka Gandhi?She was still campaigning in Rae Bareilly & Amethi & exhorting the people to vote out (!) her brother & mother!

How did things come to such a pass for the Gandhi scion that from “Shehzada (Crown Prince)” he transformed into “Pappu” – a disrespectful sobriquet used to describe a juvenile & incompetent nincompoop! Even the Amul ad line had earleir captured the euphoria surrounding his elevation to the post of INC Vice President and the possibility of being named as his Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate.

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Rahul turned out to be a “dud” largely on the back of his bizarre actions.In an effort to connect with the people & their distaste for a controversial government ordnance, Rahul tore the document in a press conference which had been promulgated by his lParty’s PM nominee.This immature behaviour was compounded by his inability to articulate a coherent response to his Party’s defeat in the Delhi Assembly and stressed by his confused choice of words.He gradually lost ground when he refused to take on the BJP & NDA Prime Ministerial candidate,Narendra Modi, in the build up to the elections.As the campaign progressed in comparison to a stuttering Rahul, Modi emerged better prepared,organised & focussed.

The final nail in the coffin was the interview with a famous & aggressive TV presenter,Arnab Goswammy,known for unsettling his guests.In the interview Rahul Gandhi failed to present any substantial views and vision for an emerging India.It was as if Rahul knew the questions to be asked…but it seems the interviewer changed the order & Rahul still answered in a prepared sequence! It was an unmitigated disaster and Rahul came out battered & bruised from the his first ever interview in 10 years.(Sometimes it is better to stay quiet and let the world think…we know the rest!!)Whereas Narendra Modi emerged stronger and aggressive from the same bed of burning coal in another interview with Goswamy.

These and many more incidents cemented the opinion in the country that Rahul Gandhi was just a famous name & possessed none of the abilities of his illustrious family members (Jawahar Lal Nehru,Indira Gandhi,Rajiv Gandhi). He was a political novice in the tumultuous cauldron of Indian Politics and brought nothing worthwhile to the table and was’nt coming up to the expectations of his family and party members

For his immaturity,juvenile behaviour & lack of initiation into politics in spite of 10 years in the arena he earned the sobriquet “Pappu” on the social media & his reputation was ripped & tattered mercilessly day in and day out in a net savvy India.

The featured Amul Strip is amazing to the last detail as it depictis Parliament benches and a sleeping Rahul Gandhi falling over to his right and in the spot light (denoting live TV coverage) while the Amul Girl attired in a combination symbolic of Indian politicians is making a sincere effort in a debate replete with a clutch of notes and has a bewildered and aghast expression while attempting to wake up the Party leader!!!

The Tag Line...Duty Sleep?… is a question asked (almost rebuking) and a catchy spin on the concept of sleep working towards enhancing the beauty and complexion of a person as also a pun intended on the fact that the Gandhi scion was sleeping in Parliament when he should be participating in debates and discharging his responsibilities & duties as a political leader.

The Punch Line is simplistic and simply exhorts Rahul Gandhi to wake up literally and figuratively as well as endorses the Amul Butter by exhorting the readers to wake up to its superior taste and quality and to adopt it as brand of choice.

As I sign out,Rahul Gandhi has done it again.While responding to a visual of Narendra Modi playing drums (dhol) during his Japan visit.Visiting a parliamentary constituency bereft of electricity and basic facilities he quipped to the media (as if alluding to a burning Rome & Nero) that while the backward constituency languishes, the Prime Minister is busy playing the “dhol”.It would have been a perfect sound byte by an opposition politician but for the small detail that the constituency in question was Amethi – represented by Rahul himself since 2004 (!!!!Time to wake up Pappu!!!)and which has been represented by his father and uncle since the 1980s!So how is Modi guilty?????

While this goes to print it is reliably learnt that Congressmen have secretly requisitioned the services of Leonardo di Caprio to carry out Inception in the dreamy and drowsy head of “Pappu” – to convince him to take a solo voyage to the Bermuda Triangle!

But has anyone ever made it back from the Bermuda Triangle??????  

 

BUDGET 2014; OF ELEPHANTS,LAPTOPS & BACK ACHES

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The maiden annual budget by the newly elected Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance dispensation was an obvious choice for the Amul ad.Partly for the significance of the event and partly for the balancing act the Finance Minister (FM) was required to do (as depicted in the caricature above).In the process there were some nuggets of humour embedded for us- Aam Admi -the common people!

The Union Budget for 2014-15 was due two days after the shocker of a semi final –Brazil vs Germany-  at the FIFA 2014 World Cup.Similar expectations were there from the Union Budget being presented by the FM, Arun Jaitely.Not so much for the bitter pill that was promised by the Prime Minister (PM) but for the fact that the previous government of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had been comatose for so long that nothing other than a jump start can revive the Indian economy.  

But what was going to be in it for me and the common masses?All that I was interested in knowing was how much was the tax slab reduced by and what became expensive and what got cheaper.Somehow by whatever amount the tax gets reduced I have never felt the extra wad of notes in my wallet? Have you?And when cigarettes become expensive and matches become cheaper – well that’s what has happened – I am inclined to think that the black humour iinstincts of the FM are now firmly out in the open – at our expense!!!

You know how the economy functions? I dont either except for the very obvious And thats how it is for most of our politicians.The criticism & the accolades ,by political figures, for the budget are on party lines & not based on an objective assessment & turn out to be an exercise in hilarity. Without going into the merits and demerits of the budget i would like to take on what probaby went on through the minds of the regular opposition.Though most of it is a work of fiction yet the theme is based on the reactions of these leaders to the Budget Proposals of the Narendra Modi government.

Starting with the Indian National Congress (INC/ Cong (I)).

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They have been asleep for a long time, overtaken by a thought paralysis (why else would they project Rahul Gandhi as their choice for PM!!!).They never understood the budget process when in power so the prospects dimmed further, now that they are all but wiped out at the hustings.After the hiding in the General Elections 2014 ,Congressmen have been hoping that the next five years would be like a dream and they would want to continue with their slumber.However, sleeping pills haven’t formed part of the free medicine package being unveiled by the Government and will get more expensive.Now the worst nightmare of  the Congressman will come true – Rahul Gandhi will stay awake and make sure that the INC doesn’t remain a force to reckon with within its own office premises let alone anywhere outside its confies!!!Hence its a bad budget for the INC and they have stated as much.Some of the Congressman have come under the scrutiny of their High Command for pitching for a waste management plant in the Congress Head Quarters!Any guesses why???

Other than the Cong (I) a certain Mr Arvind Kejriwal was expecting a few concessions of his own as well.

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He was expecting that the Government would cap lawyer fees and make them affordable for him to hire for his numerous litigations.That didn’t happen.He was also expecting property rentals to come down so he could rent one now that he is out of the Government alloted residence.That didnt happen either.He was expecting victims of ink splattering , shoe throwing and slapping to be elligible for added tax exemptions.That too didnt happen.By the way, secretly Mr Kejriwal had pitched for an income tax waiver for the top 10 individuals who can make the most vacuous claims and get away with it.He of course bags the first five ranks amongst the ten!!!Overall a poor budget for Kejri dear.

Coming to a very lonely and unusually quiet certain Ms Mayawati.

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In the run up to the Union Budget she had canvassed for a hefty allocation of funds for the conservation of wild life!!!Wait a sec…why his turn around in Ms Mayawati’s portfoilo especially as she authored the infamous Taj Corridor Plan which would have ruined the ecology of the area.It’s likely because the Elephant (the BSP’s electoral symbol) is nearly extinct in the political jungle of Uttar Pradesh! Reports also came in of an elephant being held illegaly at Mayawati’s residence. BJP MP, Maneka Gandhi wasnt too amused about this and ordered confiscation of the tusker. When the inspectors reached Mayawati’s residence they realised that she had none and was now herself wearing a costume to look like one!!!!The extent that people can go to for their political fortunes!!!

Spare a thought for the senior members of the BSP forming the hind legs of the dummy elephant.Wonder if they are expected to produce elephant shit too..same colour,volume and stink as well!!! So a bad budget for her too and a horrific one for her party colleagues.

Akhilesh Yadav of UP is not amused with the budget as well.

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This inspite of heavy allocation by the NDA government in his pet projects such as the Metro Rail & Ganga Action Plan.Though Akhilesh too has been decimated in the General Elections 2014 he is not pitching for a special cycle factory to revive his political fortunes.He had expected massive financial concessions and grants as well for states having inefficient Chief Ministers (CM), lawlessness and Jail Ministers themselves being claimants of life imprisonent! This didnt happen as other states too would have immediately replaced their CMs with inefficient ones and rushed to meet the criterion as well.( Infact the INC was supporting Akhilesh’s demand as in Haryana they already had met the first two conditions).When Yadav saw none of his demands being met, he made a call to the FM,Arun Jaitely to atleast grant him enough funds to buy a lap top so he could play his favourite games since there wasnt anything much he could do while in office!!! I believe even this was turned down.Bad budget indeed.

Similarly other political outfits too have spoken against the budget provisions and if their contentions are anywhere near the ones listed above then we might as well skip them.The Left Parties and the likes of Sita Ram Yechury are in agreement with me as what they had to say they themselves couldnt bear to hear!!!Jayalalitha has come out in support of the Budget as ,though not known to many,there were embedded provisions for research & development of a machine which turns your political adversaries into whatever you want them to turn into (Alagiri into an Ostrich and Stalin into a raven- and Karunanidhi..well thats classifed!!!). 

Coming to the Amul Ad.

It depicts a very portly individual seated on a desk (typically seen in government offices with green velvet cloth stuck on them).The gentleman is balding and is wearing a kurta-pyjama along with a sleevless jacket.He has a briefcase on to his left and is poring over some documents.The brief case is synonymous with FMs as when they enter the Parliament House on budget day they show the brief case to the waiting media as it ios supposed to have the future of the country locked in it.The portly man depicts India’s FM,Arun Jaitely and the Amul Girl is shown depicting a bureaucrat getting some documents signed.The scene is typical of budget days when FMs are shown leaving their offices and signing last minute documents.Its a scene that most of us can relate too.

The Tag Line…Budget utterly bujaitely delicious hoga?..is a spin on the Amul tag line of ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ used for years to describe the Amul Butter.The ‘Butterly’ has been replaced by ‘bujaitely’ to factor in the FM’s name.The tag line asks a simple question that will the budget live up to the pre budget expectations & be delicious enough for investors to bite into it??? (Luis Suarez, dont get interested please!!!)

The Punch Line..Bank on it !…pitches the credibility of the Amul product line against the budget and emphatically established the reliable credentials of the brand on which millions of Indians can bank for its quality products.

Not-with-standing-the above,the Union Budget 2014 has been a balanced budget with the Government laying equal focus on growth, fiscal discipline and reigning in inflation.The middle class being encouraged to save as well as spend more by enhancing returns on savings as well raising tax slabs.The manufacturing and infrastructure sectors have been given due concessions and certain policy measures have been put in place to reduce government and increase governance.There was much more that could have been accomplished but then this budget was saddled by the previously presented Interim Budget of the UPA and the state of the economy.

Well the FM was the first ever to take a break on account of a backache while delivering his speech!!!If preparing the budget broke his back then whats going to be the fate of he people carrying its burden?Hope its all just the fault of the speech writer of the FM & not associated with the provisions of the budget.

Some interesting trivia.This was the second longest speech by an FM while presenting the budget.It generated 119000 tweets in a single day, surpassing the 84000 on the day of the results for the General Elections 2014. The FM used the word ‘I’ once in 81 words, up from once in 55 times for his predecessor P Chidambaram (no wonder there wasnt much else in his specches).And the FM ended up allocating the same IIM to two states.To Maharashtra in the English version of the Speech and to Rajasthan in the Hindi version.Smart thinking for sure! Kill two birds with one stone!And this was the first time that a FM finished his speech sitting!!!

Keeping in mind that there were suggestions galore after the Budget the FM should seriously consider allocating funds for a National Institue for Suggestions, where flights of fancy could be turned into reality such as turning Rajnikant into an un-sinkable air craft carrier!

By the way the FM treated himself to a Chicken Curry and Roti lunch after the Budget speech.Well, Mr Jaitely not the right kind of dietary discipline for your health condition (bad back).Hope you are more disciplined when it comes to the finances of the nation!!!And next time don’t forget to provide concessions to the spinal pain relief industry so you can complete the speech standing!!!!