Olympians, politicians and babus

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18 Aug 2012

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Photo op for politicos

Politicians love to bask in the glory of others. They fought over the six medal winners of the London Olympics like Kilkenny cats, with each VVIP wanting exclusive photo op with them. The Indian Olympics Association saw a divide down the middle on the question as to whom the six should be taken to for the so-called felicitations over tea and samosas. When those habitually inclined towards the establishment suggested that the first stop for the winners has to be 10 Janpath, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, officiating chief of the IOA in the absence of Suresh Kalmadi, put his foot down, saying in that case they will have to call on LK Advani as well. Trapped, they agreed reluctantly to escort the six along with the rest of the contingent to Advani’s house after the call at Sonia Gandhi’s.

Of course, the Prime Minister had to be on the itinerary of the harassed lot who haven’t had a moment to themselves after their return from London. But how the Speaker of the Lok Sabha  Meira Kumar figured in this conducted tour of Lutyens’s Delhi remains a mystery. Since she has most unabashedly exploited her office and the television channel under  her control to promote herself as also  to build a cult around her late father, Jagjivan Ram, Kumar, in turn, sent out invitations to other VVIPs to join her when the Olympians came calling. You could watch obligatory extensive coverage of her mingling with the six medal winners on the Lok Sabha TV.

Meanwhile, the winners should not to be taken in by public announcements of various awards in cash and kind. After making a splash in the media, more often than not politicians are known to fail to make good these promises to give plots of land, flats, cash etc, making the winners run from pillar to post. Some of the awards announced by State Governments for the 1983 World Cup winning team are yet to reach its members who have abandoned the idea of pursuing them with the successor regimes.


Spurning an honor

This is a first even for our permissive politicians. In Karnataka politicians of all hues seemed to have joined hands to  spurn the Unesco proposal to declare the Western Ghats a world heritage site. This is an honour most nations seek, nay, work behind the scenes to get because it bestows international recognition on ancient monuments, old cities, pristine ecosystems, etc. But in Karnataka there seems to be a conspiracy to reject the Unesco offer because it would then prevent politicians from milking the Western Ghats through unbridled exploitation by friendly real estate developers, miners, etc. Can one rely on BJP president Nitin Gadkari to put drive sense into the heads of whoever in his party is in control of the Government at this moment?

Movers and shakers of Delhi          

As usual, the list of undesirable people the CBI updates annually, and expects  top bureaucrats and Ministers to keep at an arm’s length,  has more people from the capital than any other city in the country. Quite clearly, Delhi is also the national capital of dalals, isn’t it? Of the 23 who figure in the latest list as many as 14 are from Delhi, with Mumbai coming next followed by Kolkata and Chennai.

Lest you think that politicians would shun these people, it should be noted that they are most sought after because without them there would be no one to oil the political machinery. Indeed, the more undesirable you are in the eyes of the CBI, the more sought after you will be in the courts of venal Ministers and bureaucrats.

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