Yatras, fasts, bandhs, gheraos are old political tricks inherited by an independent India; last century’s tactics to deal with this century’s problems. And, yet, India has moved on. Why then have our politicians failed to come up with new ideas, writes Namita Bhandare in Hindustan Times.
Uh-oh, there he goes again.
Like an Annual Day school theme, every edition of L.K. Advani’s rath yatra comes with its own slogan. This one’s against corruption. And black money. Heck, it even has its own rock anthem: Ab bus. (Bus? What happened to the rath?)
If you’re looking for novelty, look elsewhere. In the past one month, six different politicians will be rolling out their own yatras. There’s a sewa yatra by Nitish Kumar and a kranti yatra by Akhilesh Yadav. Even yoga teacher-turned anti-corruption crusader Baba Ramdev has a yatra – no word yet on whether comely girls in eye-catching leotard will perform roadshow asanas.
There’s a sense of déjà vu: been there, seen that. Advani is a veteran; this is his sixth roadshow since 1990’s Somnath to Ayodhya tour. The story goes that Advani was planning a padyatra, or walking tour, to drum up support for the Ram mandir when Pramod Mahajan came up with the idea of converting a truck into a ‘rath’ because a walk would take too long. The plan worked; newspapers reported how people were flocking to the rath, smearing dust from its tyres on their foreheads. The BJP won the next election, even though it was A.B. Vajpayee not Advani who became prime minister. Continue reading ‘Ab bus karo, please!’