Monday, June 18, 2007

A Billion Votes

Generally, politicians in India do not do anything that does not cater to a mobilisable group of people and they get reviled for their vote bank politics. On that note, is there any other kind of politics? However, politicians the world over do exactly the same.
I usually do not write on current affairs - but two recent events have left me wondering on the concept of vote banks.

The first is the 'Indians for Hillary' episode. The Barak Obama camp spoke what was evidently a pro-America option, which is when somebody reminded him what happened to John Kerry. Now they are strenously denying that he ever wanted any jobs not to be outsourced. Obviously, the Green Card Lobby is fast becoming the strongest vote bank in the US.
Also, Obama's campaign database is probably being managed by TCS!

The second is the 'Vote for Taj' campaign initially run on Internet, which has now been extended to SMS and all the FM radio channels in the country have taken it upon themselves to ensure that the queen's tomb remains in the Top 7.
Overtly patriotic souls (like my mother, for example) is exhorting all and sundry to vote. However, the telecom companies do not share her patriotism and they are charging Rs 3 for every SMS. PSUs MTNL and BSNL are loyally charging only Re 1. And if you vote (which I did - I always listen to mom!), then you get a return message of thanks from Fair & Lovely. Obviously, some more money is being made!
Anyway, the happy outcome of Taj retaining its 7 Wonders tag is the tourism boost that would ensure India's Golden Triangle does not become a straight line.
Breaking News: AR Rehman has even composed a Taj anthem, which is surely the worst tune he has ever composed!

Cynical souls are quite convinced that Taj won't make it (as it is currently No. 20th in the list). But somehow, I am immensely trusting of the power of a billion people. Given that so many of us are there and even more have mobile phones, I don't think Acropolis and Sydney Opera House really have a chance! Like always, Great Wall of China is about the only one which can beat us.

Actually, my confidence stems from this poll, which had shown the world what a few Indians with internet connections can do!
This is the poll in which Amitabh Bachchan beat Olivier, Chaplin, De Niro and Marilyn Monroe to become the Star of the Millennium. Everybody knows about that! What is lesser known is the star who came at No. 10 in the same poll.
It was Govinda. Yes, our very own Virar ka Chhokra beat Brando, Cruise and Jack Nicholson to the list. The bigger surprise is that he beat even Shah Rukh to it!
And it all happened probably because a group of Indian software engineers decided it would be a lark if the Hero No 1 got the honour.

Last year, the entire nation broke into fisticuffs over the devate whether Silchar Assam ke Debojit should win Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee TV. All this while, a few good men in the Eastern part of the country diligently worked on their T9 keyboards to elbow out a slew of more-talented contestants from UP, Andhra and Haryana.

Its all about the vote bank.
A group of reasonably dedicated people must decide that their candidate must win as it will accord them some (in)tangible benefits. It is critical that this group coalesces and starts acting for the desired result to emerge.
I am sure there is a Babloo Sharma who wants female tourists to come to Agra so that he can rape them in his tinted-glass Maruti van. I am sure Bharat Rastogi wants tourists to come to India so that his bread-and-breakfast setup can start making money.
And of course, there is my mother...

So, N7W - here we come! And next time, we will nominate Bangalore's Forum Mall as the Indian entry - just to make it a little more difficult - and still win!

Babloo - are you voting or not?
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