Mumbai Masala: Election Circus Comes To Town

Mumbai Masala: Election Circus Comes To Town

Those doing the business of preparing banners, posters, printing pamphlets, hiring tourist taxis, etc, will rake in huge profits.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, March 18, 2024, 11:52 AM IST
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Mumbai Masala: Election Circus Comes To Town | representative pic/ANI

Mumbai: Now that the elections are with us, politics will dominate our lives for the next couple of months. A whole new industry will emerge giving jobs to thousands of people. Those doing the business of preparing banners, posters, printing pamphlets, hiring tourist taxis, etc, will rake in huge profits. In this era of outsourcing, jobless youths are hired to take part in rallies, padyatras and door-to-door campaigns.

There is this woman who hires out any number of people for rallies. She charges anything from Rs500 to Rs1,000 per person. Vada pav, biryani and bottled water extra. The amount of money that will be pumped into the economy is mind-blogging. It’s happy times in the slums with candidates wooing voters with freebies in the form of saris, T-shirts etc. The election code of conduct is violated in several ways. But then who cares. In the past polls were dignified affairs with neatly-dressed candidates with no criminal records meeting voters at railway station entrances, housing colonies, etc, seeking votes. The debates were dignified. Not any more.

A Heavy Price For Having A Democratic Polity

Talking of elections, the candidates must be the most pressurised persons. He or she has to sport a smile permanently whether one likes it or not and fold hand in neat namastes. The biggest problem is money. Each candidate in a Lok Sabha election is required to spend at least Rs10 crore to come near the finishing line. Parties do give some funds to nominees, but that is not even 20% of the requirement. So candidates have to perforce approach builders, big businessmen and even the underworld. There are even reports of the ISI of Pakistan funding certain candidates. It’s all very scary. The deep state too is known to be active during the election period. All of these makes one ask: aren't we paying a heavy price for having a democratic polity?

Fasting And Feasting

Ramzan is here. Even though the holy month is a period of fasting and praying for hundreds of millions of people, ironically this is time foodies look forward to. In the evening the narrow and densely congested lanes of Bhendi Bazar, Kurla, Jogeshwari and other Muslim-dominated areas in the city are invaded by foodies. They gorge on the nalli niharis, sheekh kebabs, teetars, dabba ghosts, mutton biryanis, malpuas, firnis, dry fruit faloodas, sherbets, etc. At the end of the holy month many put on weight like nobody's business.

Tailpiece

A wag said: “Election is the time when netas touch your feet and for the next five years you touch theirs.”

(Compiled by S Balakrishnan)

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