Politics is all about optics and messaging. One of the most enduring moments of the Assembly election in Maharashtra was that of Sharad Pawar holding his ground in a heavy downpour in Satara. And this, even as other leaders were seen trying to take refuge from the rain.
"The rain god has blessed the NCP for the October 21 election. And with the blessings of the rain god, Satara will create magic,” Pawar had told the gathering. The words were prophetic -- the BJP’s much publicised
NCP-turncoat and Shivaji Maharaj's descendant Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale lost the seat.
Incidentally, Bhosale had joined the BJP with much hype in the presence of PM Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. All three had also canvassed for him, repeatedly invoking the name of Shivaji Maharaj.
For Pawar, the rain was god send: it helped conjure the image of a 79-year-old cancer survivor who was fighting against all odds in the autumn of his life; on the one hand, he was being deserted by cronies whom he had groomed in politics; on the other hand, he was being hounded by the political class on a trumped up charge of money laundering.
It was this barrage that Pawar withstood and the rain battering him on the dais became its motif. If politics is all about symbolism, this elec-tion was all about the Rain Man.