Politics on the sidewalk

(This post contains inaccurate information. The intention is to show how everyone in India claims to be an authority on politics)

In Kailash Colony, there is a small stall where a man sells home-cooked meals. The stall is right in front of a Patanjali Ayurvedic Shop. A very beautiful homely environment except that the shop next to it is a meat shop and disemboweled carcasses are seen hanging there. Stepping aside from the irony, let’s talk politics.So, the municipality elections are about to be held in Delhi and all major parties have started their door to door campaigning. There are leaflets and rickshaws with loud speakers everywhere. People are going to shops and houses with folded hands, asking for votes.

The food stall guy was sitting, minding his own business when a political supporter of BJP came and handed him a leaflet. This triggered something inside the man. He was an Oriya and didn’t really have a voting ID for Delhi but, just like every Indian, had an opinion on politics. Now, I am not here to tell you if he is right or wrong. Make what you want of it. I just caught him in a fit of sarcastic rage and here’s the account-

The man stood up saying, ‘At least in my state, BJP would never be in power. And neither would there be any Congress. I have always hated Congress.’

I asked, ‘So, BJP is not a popular party there?’

‘Not after what they did there,’ he said.

‘What did they do?’ I asked. And as he packed my lunch for me, he began telling me the story –

“Long ago, there was a much loved Chief Minister in our state – Biju Patnaik. He was from BJP and he was working for the people. We never liked the cheating ways of Congress and were voting for him, over and over again.

But then he died.

His son Naveen Patnaik was studying in London at that time. He was declared the Chief Minister by the party and was elected smoothly. Young Naveen did not know the ways of politics so, the other party members seemed to be running the party for him. He did try and work for the poor but only in a limited capacity.

Soon, it was unveiled that there was a scam going on. Massive scam. Huge scam. Such big scam,” the guy’s eyes widened as he spoke like a seasoned story-teller.

“Oh, and then?” I asked. “Did the people start voting against BJP?”

The food vendor gave me a look like I was sabotaging what was HIS story. He said, “No, the CM himself ordered an enquiry and came to know of the inconsistencies. BJP was furious at Naveen for not consulting with the high command before conducting those probes. And then Naveen left the party. He formed a party called Biju Janta Dal.”

“Oh, so then now everyone voted for his new party – BJD?” the Patanjali shop owner asked.

“Exactly. Naveen won with a majority and ever since, we have never voted for any of the corrupt national parties. And this should be the way. State politics is always better understood by local people. Which is why Kejriwal won in Delhi. He is also an educated man like Naveen Patnaik. He is also capable of doing well. But then, I don’t know.”

“So BJP will never win in Orissa?” asked the shop owner.

“Not now, maybe 10 years from now. Maybe,” he said. My lunch was packed and left with this story of Orissa and my daal chawal.


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