Vote For Hollande –Mahagathbandhan’s Puducherry Candidate
Perumal Raphael vows never to eat boeuf bourgignon again as he twists and turns in his bed. Or maybe it is the cheap wine from earlier this evening. He has a sleepless night ahead, thanks to the buzz in his head, accompanied by a rumbling stomach.
“What the hell do you want,” he yells at the impatient knocker while dragging himself to the door. It is just 6 in the morning and FK Hollande is at his door, craning his neck above a thousand marigold garlands. “Vote for me, Raphael,” Hollande says and grabs the sleepy man’s waist as camera flashes blind the latter.
FK Hollande is the Mahagathbandhan candidate from Puducherry and sources say that he’s set to win. He’s also Raphael’s maternal uncle.
‘The Mahagathbandhan of the opposition parties has found an invincible candidate’, the headlines scream. The prime minister is in trouble now that we have Hollande in our team, claims R Rajkumar, in the lede.
Raphael didn’t care much for politics earlier but Hollande’s appearance on the election scene has changed it once and for all. His Tamil father, an air force officer, married an Auroville-born Frenchwoman and Raphael is their only child. The French influence is too strong to be ignored.
Mahagathbandhan’s Response to Govt’s Trump Card
Sipping beers by the promenade later in the day, Raphael explains to his girlfriend how Hollande has aced the art of stealing headlines. “It’s important to be in the news, Nirmala. Even your friend Arun knows it so well. Out of mind, out of sight. Tick-tock! Don’t be upset about Hollande’s flamboyance.”
“But surely he’s a liar,” retorts Nirmala. Raphael tut-tuts at her naiveté. They are deeply in love but the relationship has been strained for some time.
“Trump card, yeah,” she loosens up a bit. It’s easy for her to put 2+2 together now.
It’s All About Maya
After their date, Raphael trawls the internet to know everything about his uncle’s debut in Indian politics. The more he reads, the higher his interest soars. Now he knows that the Mahagathbandhan has been under a bit of duress ever since the prima donna of subaltern politics called out the arrogance of the self-styled leading party of the coalition. When Hollande was handpicked by R Rajkumar, the entire Opposition supported him, including the prima donna. Notwithstanding, even one day is a long time in Indian politics. After her exodus, Hollande’s role grew much bigger.
A gyani political commentator educates him on how it’s all about illusions anyway – sustaining or destroying them.
The illusion of corruption-free governance has been shattered and Rajkumar’s foot-soldiers have been going at it chanting “Ek dhakka aur do”.
Sarkaar Ka War
Raphael also figures out that the ruling party hasn’t been silent. The details of Hollande’s midnight rendezvous with his mistress are all over social media. Grainy pictures of him on a motorcycle outside the apartment of his mistress, another man’s wife, are shared with copy-paste templates of abuse. What else can be expected out of an adulterous man, seems to be the sentiment.
In this country, nothing works better than invoking sanskaar, muses Raphael. It’s easy to convince the voters that the un-sanskaari folk are also criminal-minded. Hollande’s mistress therefore, is not only an adulteress but also a wheeler-dealer. They are both given to sin. How can they be trusted?
Humaara HAL Achha Hai
Rajkumar and his team however, have decided to empower Hollande by bringing national pride into the debate. How dare anyone make fun of our sarkaari laziness! Raphael comes across column after column suggesting how a sarkaari company is being wrongly penalised for inefficiency. One columnist has surreptitiously recanted his scathing criticism of this company. (Only in national interest, mind you.)
Even the Big Brother doesn’t want anything to do with his under-performing chhota bhai, whose power, communication, infrastructure are all awaiting the good days.
A generous dose of feel-good news goes a long way. Battle cries need to play on this emotion. If in 2014 it was ‘Achhe Din’, why can’t it be “Humaara HAL Achha Hai” this time? Raphael thumps his fist on his table in excitement and cheers for his uncle.
He wakes up with a start and looks around. It isn’t dawn yet, and his stomach is still rumbling.