June 28, 2020
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Boozers are Choosers

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Boozers are Choosers
Vijay Mallya may never become Karnataka’s chief minister but his entry into politics has certainly ripped off the hypocrisy about it being some giant common man circus. As opposed to the put-on austerity of the khadi-clad kooks, the nattily-dressed national working president of the Janata Party presents a WYSIWYG picture: flitting around in his custom-made Boeing 727, hopping across in his Mercedes Benz, enjoying his cheroots, and generally conveying that What You See Is What You Get. And, boy, does it sound good when a politician says he pays Rs 9,000 crore in taxes each year?

In the end, Mallya’s millions (and minions) may achieve little more than dividing the Opposition, which should greatly please the Congress chief minister, to whom he is related, in the assembly polls next year. Nevertheless, at 48, Mallya has shown he is a quick learner of the political patois. When a chopper carrying him crashlanded recently, Mallya got up and proclaimed himself the real son of the soil (as opposed to his—and S.M. Krishna’s—bete noire H.D. Deve Gowda) since Mother Earth had saved him that day. And, in his fractured Kannada, he reminds public meetings that he also supplies 80 per cent of the state’s fertilisers, and a whole load of India’s pharmaceuticals.

Will it work? Knows God. But to paraphrase the ‘Absolut’ ad, Mallya reaches parts other political leaders don’t, can’t. And, hey, aren’t his primary products in our—and our nation’s—bloodstream? United Breweries, ladies and gentlemen, was launched in 1857.

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