United Birthday Party
Some have their cake and eat it, others are left holding the laddoo
Politicians love their birthdays and so do their supporters. On their birthdays, netas really take the cake. Lalu Prasad usually celebrates his birthday with secular cakes – his 55th birthday cake was shaped like a church, masjid and temple showing that on secularism Lalu likes to have his cake and eat it too.
Mayawati celebrates her birthdays with gargantuan cakes, though an equally big vote share would have been the icing on the cake. However, given how caste politics is playing out, these days she has to be content with bites of the creamy layer.
Jayalalithaa once cut a birthday cake shaped like Parliament revealing that anyone who didn’t take her seriously on national politics was as nutty as a fruitcake.
On Narendra Modi’s birthday a Surat bakery baked a 700 foot long cake rooting for corruption-free India and in Delhi, BJP party MPs cut a 370 kg cake to evoke nullification of Article 370. However the situation in J&K is definitely not a piece of cake. Sometimes rulers have been heard to make statements that sound worryingly like French queen Marie Antoinette saying if the people don’t have bread, they should just eat cake.
The piece de resistance at Modi’s birthday was the 569 kg laddoo. This was some consolation to those who, after being hit by the economic downturn, are left clutching a laddoo. Modi also offered a Narmada aarti even though a few years earlier he had tweeted his beliefs on never celebrating his birthdays. Since then much water has flowed under the bridge. On Rahul Gandhi’s birthday his Congress fans always line up fervently outside his home even when he’s not there and is far away on holiday. Rahul earlier had always celebrated his birthdays away from India but Congress still wished him happy returns. Today Rahul celebrates his birthdays in Delhi but has shown no signs of any happy returns as Congress chief.
This year, when RPI leader Ramdas Athawale wished Rahul on this birthday, he however said he could not come to the party and preferred to stay with Modi’s party. Sometimes netas take birthday parties more seriously than their own parties.
Why do parties celebrate the birthdays of the politicians they adore with so much fanfare? Because political birthdays are a cake-off competition and those who do the best birthday seva hope to get the most mewa. If you’re a powerful politician, then duniya kehti happy birthday to you.