Leaders who don’t smile

I know I will be flooded by hate mails. But let me have my say.

I recently asked a friend, who is in the RSS, as to why Narendra Modi wears such a stern and serious look when in public? Twice I went past him in Dehradun near chief minister Vijay Bahuguna’s official residence recently. Though it was night, his face was quite visible as he sat on a properly lit front seat of his vehicle. He wore the same ’snobbish’ look which some obsequiously describe as ‘officious business-like looks’- which, however, I find unpleasant. It smacks of arrogance and attitude. But that’s what his supporters again and again describe as his strength – someone who does not get rattled by media trials and volleys of criticisms.

All said and done, it appears humility is becoming a thing of the past, especially when it comes to politicians. One may have to accept Modi as someone who is liked or hated with the same intensity, but what about Amit Shah. Why is that guy trying to be another Modi , that unsmiling face that instantly puts one off — the BJP leaders of UP dancing to his tunes notwithstanding.

What a state of political affairs in the country’s most politically crucial state in the Hindi heartland? Both the Congress and the BJP borrow leaders and even ‘chase’ each other in doing so. The last when we had loose mouthed Digvijay Singh from Madhya Pradesh as in-charge of the Congress, the BJP brought in firebrand Uma Bharti from his state. And now when Amit Shah has come all the way from Gujarat to rejuvenate the BJP, the Congress has brought in an equally grumpy Madhusudan Mistry from that state to infuse some life in the moribund party. Why can’t they think of someone home grown?

It’s so irritating to see the veterans of the two parties bending and bowing before the ‘borrowed leaders’. May be they are experts in election management, but polls in UP is poles apart from that in Gujarat.

Shah could be a great poll manager but can he be better than Kalyan Singh who has nursed the state for over five decades. Can Shah know UP better than him or for that matter Kalraj Mishra or Lalji Tandon? Similarly, can Mistry understand UP better than eight-time MLA Pramod Tiwari?

Perhaps, the leadership feels haughtiness will work where humility has failed.

Now the endnote: Can the media stop speculating about BJP’s Ayodhya moves? They dumped the temple issue long time back. It is now a matter of faith for them. Even if Modi came to power, he will keep the issue on the backburner. Today’s generation has after all moved beyond temple/mosque politics, at least in the urban areas.

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