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   It seems that the voters in Amethi have been told to shut their eyes... (October 18, 1991)

It seems that the voters in Amethi have been told to shut their eyes, think Captain Satish Sharma is Sonia Gandhi, and vote for him. Most of the voters are practising this.

On a recent visit to Amethi I met an average voter sitting in a tea shop with his eyes closed. Sensing the presence of an outsider, he turned to me and said: "Ah, Bharat ki mataji, you have at last come to lead your poor orphaned children. Do not worry, we will all vote for you."

"Here, here, just a minute, who do you think I am!" I said.

"I do not have to think, I know who you are," said the voter, his-eyes shut tight. "You are Soniaji, our saviour and great benefactor, and it is because of you and your late husband and all the members of the family that Amethi has progressed so much and has a hospital and poultry oricessing plant in every village."

"If by Soniaji you mean Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, I am not her," I said. "Can't you make out from my voice, even if you insist on keeping your eyes shut for some mysterious reason."

"But of course you are Soniaji, you know that, your own party told us to think of you as Soniaji and vote for you," the voter said. "After all, all you are doing is you are keeping the seat safe for Soniaji or her daughter to take over when the time comes."

"I really do not know of what youare talking about," I said. "Who is this ‘you' that you are referring to who is keeping the seat safe?"

"All right, since you insist, though we have been told to think of you as nothing but Soniaji, you are Captain Satish Sharma. But, having identified you, you once again become Soniaji and you will remain that till after the elections."

"But I am not Captain Satish Sharma," I said.

"Of course, you are not, that is what I have been saying. You are Soniaji," the voter said.

"Look, there is some confusion," I said. "Just because I am not Captain Sharma, it does not mean I am Mrs. Gandhi. I could be myself, I could be anybody."

"I know that, all the voters of Amethi have to do is shut their eyes and think, and Captain Sharma can be anybody. But right now you are Soniaji, we don't want anybody else to represent us."

"Why don't you just open your eyes and see who I am!" I said. "This farce has gone on too lond, you can't run a democracy like this."

"I cannot open my eyes right now," he said. "In fact, if I keep them shut a little longer, I may even start thinking you are Priyanka beti."

 
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