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The Sea Link De-link

By Deepak Nagpal | Last Updated: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 17:46
Deepak Nagpal
The Wanderer

In India, political parties are never short of controversies. If a controversy is not running after them, then they are running after one.

Take the case of Amitabh Bachchan. He attended the opening ceremony of Bandra-Worli Sea Link on the invitation of the Maharashtra government. Newspaper advertisements are proof of that. The Chief Minister of the ruling Congress-NCP government in the state, Ashok Chavan, was there too.

Now, the terms shared between the Bachchans and the Gandhis are no secret. So, a Congress CM attending a function with Amitabh as the chief guest was bound to stir a hornet’s nest.

Though Chavan tried to later save face by claiming that he wasn’t aware that the Bollywood superstar would be present at the function, it is highly improbable that a CM of a state would not know he is going to share the dais with Amitabh Bachchan!

So, a needless hullabaloo was created, which has embroiled the entire Congress party, the BJP, and its star face, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Amitabh too shot back at the Congress, at a Marathi <i>Sammeelan</i> (literary meet) where Chavan clearly tried to avoid another run-in with him by altering his schedule.

Now, the nation has another juicy story to read about, watch, discuss, debate and spend time on. And all this at a time when the common man is finding it impossible to understand how he is going to survive with back-breaking price rise.

I am not aware if such debates consume precious time of the nation in other countries too, but the episode has again brought to the fore the immaturity of our political parties.

If the Congress high command had problems with Chavan sharing space with Amitabh, it could have reprimanded the CM in private. Letting the issue become a topic of public debate and a mud-slinging match between the two main national parties goes on to highlight the priorities of the ruling party, and also of the opposition.

Modi took the issue one step ahead by likening Congress people with the Taliban. And his party, BJP’s suggestion that Amitabh be made the brand ambassador of Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 has given the tale another twist and is leading to nothing but becoming an unnecessary hassle for the superstar. With the Congress categorically debunking the suggestion, Big B’s name is being needlessly dragged to score political points.

We in India have a lot of time to spend on trivial issues, but hurry through matters that concern the common man, the poor of this country.

This is the same country which infamously boasts of having probably the largest below poverty line population in the world, with the national capital alone having 30 million such people living in slums. This is the same country where a mother in a rural area is still not sure if her newborn would survive the first few days of his life. This is the same country where children, especially girls, still dream of going to school. This is the same country where girls are still being murdered before even taking birth. This is the same country where a Dalit family is still being stopped from entering a temple and worship his God, who is one and the only one.

The issues that need to be taken care of with utmost seriousness are many, but the priorities in India are different. If there are any, they are Amitabh Bachchan, Sania-Shoaib marriage, IPL, cinema, fashion week…

First Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 17:46

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