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   Who would be my ideal candidate for the Lok Sabha elections?... (April 21, 1996)

Who would be my ideal candidate for the Lok Sabha elections? After careful consideration, I have come to the following conclusions:

He should be a man. After the experience with Indira Gandhi and Sheila Kaul and Ms. Jayalalitha, women are out. He should be between the age of 40 and 50, preferably 45, when a person is neither too immature or too fossilised. He should be married, happily, with two children. Not three and not one. He should be from an urban area, not rural, but not the big metros, somewhere nearer Nagpur, Cochin, Indore (no, not Indore), Hyderabad, Baroda. Preferably from the South, not the North, though I am prepared to waive that qualification.

He should haveq an income of his own, not a businessman, not an industialist, something that he does with his hands and mind. A professional, but not a lawyer, preferably a teacher, professor or doctor. But among doctors, not a general practitioner, not a specialist, but a surgeon. I fyou qwanqt to further narrow it down, an opthalmic surgeon. And he should be well know in his field, having a good practice.

He should certainly not be a career politician. Previous experiecne as a politician would immediately disuqalify a man, and the more experience the worse. The worst thing that a candidate can say is that he has served his constituency faithfully and well for three terms and would like to serve it a fourth term. He should be familiar with politics, but a new entrant to it.

He should be well dressed, not over-dressed, in shirts, trouser, etc., not a kurta-pajama, or a dhoti-kurta, which are the uniforms of a politician. He should smoke and drink, bet at the racecourse, kiss beauty queens and crown them, as Mr. Nelson Mandela does, and, if he does not do these things, he shoudlnot prohinit others from doing them. Besides Hindi, English and his mother-tongue, he should know at least one other Indian language and one foreign language. And he should use these languages, unlike the present prime minister, who is reported to be a linguist, but does not open his mouth to speak even one language.

He should not accept flowers, not allow people to touch his feet or speak in praise of him, never give darshans, preach to people, make speeches unless he has somethng important to communicate, unnecessarily travel about the country, always be in consultation with economists, businessmen, technicians, people who know his job better than he does.

His life should be an open book, his bank accounts public property. He should not have godmen around him, shoulc not offer prayers in public, receive blessings from sankaracharyas, etc. at the slighest hint of a scandal against his name, he should resign. And stay resigned, not stand for the next elections as an independent.

Find me such a candidate and I will give you a prime minister.

 
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