PINDARA: The road to the maidan is as bumpy as the elections, filled with the potholes of political ambition. Ajay Rai is the sitting Congress MLA from this constituency outside Varanasi, and the guest of honour is Lalu Yadav.
Around 4,000 denizens of this Bhumihar-dominated area have assembled in the school campus, most of them children and old men. Lalu’s helicopter was a major attraction. Lalu, familiar in a blue sweater and white mop of hair, is undoubtedly given to rustic humour which made his reputation.
However, this election, being funny is not enough or else the joke is on you. Rai was once dedicated to Rajnath Singh when the latter was the BJP President. He defected to the Samajwadi Party in 2009, after being denied the Lok Sabha ticket. He lost. In 2012, he became Congress MLA from Pindara after SP denied him the seat.
The constituency has many Yadavs, who were sworn rivals with Rai’s caste. Lalu was meant to be the glue. Bihar lies next door. The laugh-a-minute leader exploited the proximity. "I'm your neighbour," he started. "But not just that, I'm also your relative. My daughter is married into Mulayam Singh’s family. Which makes all your women my in-laws." The applause was genuine. It didn't last long. When he descended into the vilest invective against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the crowd's enthusiasm seemed to ebb. Modi betrayed his mentor, Advani. No response. Amit Shah is a beast.
No response. Sonia Gandhi is India's daughter-in-law. A few claps. It’s obvious that the Lalu type of politics which is loaded with crude humour sans political strategy or development talk is no longer working. He even got the candidate's name wrong. Once it wouldn't have mattered.
The jokes were enough. But today the fun and games seem to be over for those who talk more and do less.