I’ve always assumed that politicians are, to put it nicely, soul-sucking leeches. Of course, by this I mean no offense to actual leeches. I’m not alone – ever since the birth of the first political system in Greece (93% of which is currently owned by Sharad Pawar), people have placed politicians on the top end of the Scumbag Scale, followed closely by telemarketers and people who call you ‘Dear’.
But now, at the end of 2010, even cynics like me are marvelling at the likes of Kalmadi, Chavan, Raja and co., who’ve exhibited a brazenness otherwise seen only at wet T-shirt contests (try getting that image out of your head).
An analysis of the various scams will take a while, but I have beer to drink, so here’s a quick look at some of my favourite happenings from Scamfest 2010:
1. Reports claim that the now-empty Games village flats are set to be handed over to the same officials who scammed the nation while building them. Legal experts agree that this is like handing over Shiney Ahuja’s bai back to Shiney Ahuja.
2. Manish Tewari, after having extricated his face from his bottom, denies the misappropriation of the flats. It seems India is not the kind of country that goes around providing free, comfy housing to criminals (unless their name is Kasab)
3. Soon after, Open Magazine reveals that a top journalist (herein referred to as Darkha Butt for the purposes of media silence) was in constant touch with lobbyist Nira Radia, spending hours discussing important matters such as Karunanidhi’s uncanny resemblance to Ray Charles, and where to get the best ‘Middle-Aged Justin Bieber’ haircut.
4. Darkha Butt bides her time, finally inviting the editor of Open, Manu Joseph, into her TV studio for an unedited debate. Manu agrees, only to find himself being whipped by Darkha’s jockstrap on national television.
5. Meanwhile, the UPA is under pressure to act on all the scam-accused. Since this is about 98.7% of their workforce (the rest were on holiday) they have no choice but to try and distract the Opposition. Limited success is achieved with a Rahul Gandhi wardrobe malfunction.
6. The Opposition, appalled at the prospect of actually having to work, decides to press for a joint probe into the telecom scam. The Centre refuses, claiming that there are bigger issues plaguing the telecom sector, such as that fugly new Airtel logo. (A phone tap reveals its origins: The Vodafone logo had sex with the Videocon logo, and the resultant mess on the floor became the new Airtel logo.)
7. Amidst all this chaos, the UPA also has to be a gracious host to Wen Jiabao. Bored reporters play a cruel joke on the Chinese Premier by asking him to pronounce ‘Nira Radia’.
8. The CBI kicks into raid-mode, hitting more than 34 offices and residences of the 2G scam-accused. It turns out that all these properties belong to Ashok Chavan. Manmohan Singh’s head explodes.
9. In keeping with its tradition of not giving a damn, the Congress changes its symbol from an open hand to a middle finger.
This pretty much sums it up at the time of writing. Maybe things will change if Manmohan Singh mans up. Darkha should be able to help him out with that.
(Note: This is my HT column, dated 19th Dec 2010)