I gaped at the screen in horror. The Prime Minister was addressing the nation – an unscheduled talk announced just 30 minutes back.
It was ten minutes into the speech and my despair grew with every word he uttered. On the screen, he adjusted the mics and hiked his sleeves for the nth time, shuffled through his written speech and, unable to find what he was looking for, gave a dimpled smile to someone off screen. A hand appeared and passed on a sheet of paper to him. He looked at it, adjusted his mics and continued.
“From midnight tonight, we are abolishing hunger and poverty in this country. My government has pledged to work for the poor, the minorities and the backwards. And tonight we are fulfilling this promise.”
He shuffled his sheets again and, without any details of how he intended to achieve this, went on, “My next scheme is Bake in India. When Mrs. George Bush goes to buy a cake for her son’s birthday, she will see lovely cakes and ask, “Where are they from?” She will be told they are from Supreme Bakery in Sector 8 Market RK Puram New Delhi. I want to see cakes from every bakery of India in US markets, European markets. Let them eat cake.”
He went on for 30 more minutes, announcing scheme after scheme. The RaGa Gujarat Mahila Dugdh Yojna. The RaGa Dalit Escape Velocity Yojana. The RaGa Coconut Juice Promotion Scheme. The talking heads were already waiting, champing at the bit in the television studios, and the cacophony began the moment the speech ended.
“We heard the PM, but the nation wants to know, what is the implementation plan?” the anchor yelled, directing his question to the family loyalist spokesman of the ruling party. “I will answer if you allow me to speak.” The anchor nodded, and the spokesman continued, “Ours is a 150 years old party and we have given sacrifices for the independence. One family has given sacrifice after Independence als…”
“Yes, but what has that got to do with implementation?” shouted the anchor. “We want to know what’s the roadmap for…” The spokesman yelled louder than the anchor, “You can’t shout me down. We represent the poor, downtrodden, minorities. You’re suppressing the voice of….”
The shouting got louder and louder. I woke up with a start, realized that I had fallen asleep listening to the election speech of the Congress party vice-president. I shuddered remembering my nightmare. Thank God voters have better sense, I consoled myself and switched to ‘2 Broke Girls’ on Star World.
A former Army officer, now a Learning and Development consultant, Author of ‘Delhi Durbar 1911 – The Complete Story’, ‘Riding the Raisina Tiger’, ‘Brave Men of War – Tales of Valour 1965’ and ‘In the Line of Fire’. Currently also a research fellow at Ministry of Defence, engaged in writing official history of India’s participation in First World War. Blogs at swordarm.in