‘Congress’ to counter ‘Modi Chai’

The Bharatiya Janata Party has never let the Congress forget the tea vendor comment by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, having it turned into campaign strategy. But a party worker of the Congress in Tumkur has found a counter to this. Party loyalist Karunesh has been freely distributing “Congress” (local name for groundnuts fried with salt and chilly powder).

He says that groundnuts are snacks of the masses, inexpensive and tasty. Distributing “Congress” at the party’s rally in Tumkur recently, he said: “As a sincere Congress party worker, I have decided to counter ‘Modi Chai’ with ‘Congress’. One can have a chai sitting in a tea shop, but our ‘Congress’ can be consumed on the move.” The idea has caught on. “While campaigning, we will share ‘Congress’ with every party worker; if possible, we will carry this during the door-to-door campaign also,” he said. Might be quite a feat for aam aadmi, considering that chai and “Congress” go well together.

Jarring note

The number of people who turn up for an event organised in memory of someone is surely no measure of the achievements of that person. A programme organised by the government to mark the birth centenary year of the legendary Hindustani musician Gangubai Hanagal was an illustration of this.

The poorly-publicised event in the middle of a working week, marked by celebrations over extension of deadline for hotels and bars, had barely 50 people attending it. The minister in-charge of the Kannada and Culture Department did not turn up for the event, with the election code of conduct coming into play minutes before the programme. It could very well have been a meaningful event without any politician being part of it, if only it had been well thought out. The unmatched Kirana maestro certainly deserved the respect of at least 100 Bangaloreans to mark the end of her birth centenary year.

Speech therapy

Like politicians, some bureaucrats, too, love to talk. Listening to their long and boring speeches, you often learn how not to speak in public forums. If only all officials did their homework on what to say on the dais and how to say it!

A recent meeting with a few European participants was one such squirm time. The meeting began an hour late. The same speakers were due to attend another conference next door. Yet, the officials ranted on well beyond their two minutes. Not only did each speaker merrily address the European guest by his first name, each one also mutilated it to different forms of it.

When the poor foreign guest got his turn after 40 minutes, he sarcastically said: “My talk will last one hour.” He also gave a priceless tip to his predecessors: “When we don’t remember names and surnames of people, we use their official titles, so please excuse me if I don’t mention names.” Hope his darts reached home.

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