That, my dear, is the question.
The curious case relates with the Election Commission of India whose fancy has been caught quite unexpectedly to cover up the already adequately dressed Mayawati!
There have been elections and elections. Never has one heard the suggestion, even in the subtlest of whispers, that statues in India need to be put in purdah because their grandiose may beguile the Indian voter to press a button on an EVM for a party for which he was not intending to vote.
As if the Indian voter is so gullible, or that there were not already enough people who needed clothing.
In the kingdom of naval gazers, these are eccentricities of the extreme that we can little afford.
Not just the tyrannical lady known for fanciful tantrums, her elephants are to be clad as well. When the Election Commission announced that all these copious carvings in stone are to be veiled, I wondered what they were thinking of.
Surely not about the 30 odd crore people, who live in extreme poverty in this democratic nation of ours. Nor must they have been pondering over the real life story of those two ladies in a village of Bihar who share one saree between them. And so only one walks out in public at one time, as the other is guarding her modesty behind the four walls of their ramshackle hut!
To say that the decision has been taken in response to a petition seeking “appropriate steps" by the EC to ensure a "level playing field" in the elections, is a bit much.
A country that has been used to casting ballots for the last over 60 years, the sudden urge to “cover up” seems like a bad joke on a fair chunk of the population. It’s not just plain bizarre, it is crudely insensitive.
And what is the material that the EC is using? Cloth and seams of non-biodegradable polythene, which has been banned in Delhi for being environmentally hazardous. Maybe the cloth can be better used if it is washed and tailored and distributed to those shivering in this winter chill.
Or alternatively, how about just deploying security forces for elections a bit better, so that there is no money laundering or boot-legging? Or murders in daylight!
While the EC has been doing a laudatory job all along, loopholes in our system have allowed political parties and candidates to have a field day when it comes to flouting the spending limit.
Or making a sham of the declaration of assets. Or fielding people with criminal background.
Samajwadi Party wants to go a step further. It is allergic to the very idea of statues, and says it will not just ask for veiling them, but will demolish them if it comes to power! And how much would that cost the state exchequer – a few crores more.
And what better can it do with that money – feed people, clothe them or provide them medicines, surely these are better options.
Let’s get our priorities straight.
Our self-absorption should not make us blind. Our polemical hatred of others should not make us vindictive or pure silly.
A park that should not have been constructed with so many crores of rupees in the first place is already made. Let it RIP. Let people sit in its gardens. It’s always possible that rather than being influenced into voting for Mayawati, they may see through her hubris and wonder why she didn’t spend money more constructively. The sight of the statues might just propel people to vote against BSP than act as tools for propaganda!
That would automatically ensure a level playing field, wouldn’t it!!