Poll Musing: Of Pride, Dosti & Free Rice

Poor Odias! Do they have a place to run? Hindi-speaking non-Odias have been terribly busy preaching to them about their pride, Asmita, if you please. The people who are supposed to defend against this relentless attack make a mess of Odia when they speak. Grammar goes for a walk and so does pronunciation. What they want to convey comes as a garbled word bubble. The real Odias who listen to all this at the rallies grin and bear. Some are paid to be at the venue, some are party workers and the rest are casual onlookers with nothing better to do than hang around. Those away but interested have to suspend disbelief, wear a smirk and sigh. There’s no way of knowing whether Odias are being inadvertently insulted for lacking ‘pride’ by politicians on both sides of the divide, but if someone feels offended there’s enough reason for it.

Of Dosti, Dushmani & Transience Of It All

Ye dosti hum nahi todenge… That song from the iconic movie Sholay instantly reverberated in one’s mind when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ‘mitra’ (close friend) at a function three months ago. A few weeks later, he termed the Odisha CM as ‘lokapriya mukhya mantri’. The words of mutual praise and body language of both leaders left no one in doubt that the bond of friendship was unbreakable. VK Pandian, Naveen Patnaik’s close aide, hailed both leaders as great statesmen.

‘Dosti’ is apparently on a break right now. Elections surely do strange things to people. At a rally in Kandhamal, PM Modi challenged Naveen to name the districts of Odisha without reading out from a paper. He even asked the gathering whether they would entrust the future of their children with someone who didn’t understand their distress. Naveen has been giving back in kind, challenging Modi’s contribution to Odisha.

We know it’s a temporary phase. All deep relationships, including love and friendship, have their low phases. For politicians, it comes once in every five years.

Free Rice: The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

The cat is out of the bag, finally. Whose scheme is the free rice for the poor, the BJP-led Union government’s or that of the BJD-led state government? For those under the impression that it’s the BJD’s brainchild, Home Minister Amit Shah provides the clarification. According to him, the state government had rebranded the free rice scheme of Prime Minister Modi as its own welfare programme. To rub it in, he said the former was only providing bags (jhola) with the BJD’s symbol and Naveen Patnaik’s face to carry rice.

For those blaming the state government for promoting the culture of laziness among people through such schemes, Shah provides some food for thought. The real culprit is somewhere else. For the beneficiaries it makes no difference though. Rice will smell like rice and nice so long as it’s free, no matter whether it’s BJP’s or BJD’s.


Everything is fair in love and war, said the bard of Avon. He wasn’t possibly familiar with elections. Otherwise, he would have added it to his list. We know the polltime animosity will evaporate and it will be love all over again. Time, nay, politics is a great healer. So let us not get carried away by the barbed words flying around. But one good thing about the politicians spewing venom at each other is that they sometimes speak the unspeakable, what the ordinary us would like to but cannot. It’s good soul-pleasing entertainment.

(Courtesy: The PerspectiveBytes)

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