Smile, please

Even before the countdown for the 2014 Lok Sabha poll battle began, politicos had kept themselves busy wooing voters, particularly the youth, with sops and schemes and even T-20 cricket tournaments. But Health and Family Welfare Minister U.T. Khader adopted a brilliant idea to win over not the young but the aged. The Minister decided to provide free dentures to toothless senior citizens (60 and above) free of cost. “Senior citizens without teeth are unable to relish the food of their choice. They also hesitate to laugh heartily,” he had said just a few days before the model code of conduct came into force, justifying the scheme. Subsequently, the first-time minister from coastal belt has chaired a meeting of heads of all prominent dental colleges and institutions to adopt primary health centres for implementing free dentures scheme for elders belonging to BPL families.

A sum of Rs. 2 crore has been allocated to the scheme in the year 2014-15. Will the wide smiles of the elderly help his party at the hustings?

Content analysis

Health Minister U.T. Khader appeared to be at his jovial best at a recent function held to lay the foundation stone of a high risk pregnancy unit. Trying not to be the usual Minister who delivers long speeches, he tried to deliver his speech by keeping the crowd of doctors and medical students entertained. Looking at the poor media turnout at the event, he said, “When private hospitals conduct a small surgery, the newspapers blow it up. But we are planning to construct such a huge building and only a few reporters have turned up.”

To substantiate his argument, Mr. Khader gave several examples, and health reporters were stumped as it appeared that the Health Minister had done a media analysis of all the articles.

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