Aaah, it is finally over, I mean budget fever, post-mortem and so on. My learned views were recorded by 38 news channels and appeared in 58 newspapers. I can now close this secret diary till the next budget season comes along. I have been noting down for years my views and it has become my bible from January 1 to the middle of March. As a senior opposition leader, my sacred duty is to oppose everything the government does, including the budget. So it gives me immense pleasure to sit down with this secret diary and go through my learned comments today.
Now there are certain basic principles to be followed. In Indian politics, no budget presented by the party in power should ever be termed ‘good’ or even ‘fair’ or ‘average’ by the Opposition. ‘Anti-people’ always sounds strong and effective. ‘Lack of trust’, ‘lack of vision’ and ‘gloomy’ also come in handy. For us, the budget will always be a ‘damp squib, unimaginative and full of empty rhetoric’. When I talk to the sophisticated English media, I throw in a ‘lack of holistic approach’ though I don’t know what could be holy about the budget .
For us, the budget will always be ‘pedestrian’, ‘a missed opportunity’, always ‘paying lip service to the people’. (My teenage granddaughter once asked if the phrase meant the finance minister went around kissing the people. Since then I have stopped using this last phrase.)
Sometimes, the budget could be a ‘growth gamble’ which will ‘hit the middle class hard’. The ups and downs and almost weekly fluctuations in petrol and diesel prices enabled me to describe the budget as ‘tightrope-walking’, a cliche that really caught on! When the budget offered something to the poor, we termed it ‘populist’. When it did not do so, it was ‘nothing to cheer about’.
P. Chidambaram’s budgets are always ‘capitalist-oriented’. Once or twice, I told the media PC had once again failed ‘to pull a rabbit out of his hat’, before realising he didn’t wear a hat. And for a week I was skulking around fearing a rebuke from Maneka Gandhi and a demand for an inquiry on the alleged ill-treatment of rabbits.
Politicians do not live by bread alone, they needed cliches too. Our TV anchors just drink up my cliches and elaborate on them at much higher decibels. That said, I have plans. When I bring out my memoirs, one entire chapter will be devoted to my famous budget cliches. Who knows, with more cliches in the years to come, I could just publish this Secret Diary as a separate book.
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com
Actually, the opposition is doing a great disservice to the Indian people, by not comparing Indian growth in the Manmhoan Singh years to that of a comparable country like China.
And singing mushairas instead.
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