The great Indian Tamasha

Aug 20, 2008, IBNLive

This is the age of reality television. Any entertainment channel would tell you that. But I am sure during the trust vote these channels have suffered from low TRPs. Thanks to the reality drama that unfolded in the parliament. It had all the ingredients of a good reality show. The goal – The PM’s seat.

Now lets look at the contenders.

Contestant number one is Manmohan Singh – reigning king. He remains quiet, and makes his points only after consulting with his PR and political guru. He feels his dignified approach is all that’s needed to convince people. In a reality show you would probably call him an underdog too and though you don’t know how much he is capable of; your heart goes out to him and you think maybe he should win. But deep down you are not sure.

Contestant number two LK Advani – was number two in the previous contests also. He lost each time because people couldn’t for some reason picture him as number one. In the language of reality shows, he won many SMS votes; but the judges and organizers thought that his win wouldn’t guarantee the necessary popularity and so he was number two. And in fact, his over eagerness to be number one this time is putting even the SMS voters off.

Contestant number three Madame Mayawati – is the kind of contestant who didn’t create an impact initially, but suddenly out of the blue, seems to be the one who could turn the tides for both 1 and 2. The SMS voters don’t know what to make of this contestant. The mystery adds to the perception of this person’s victory. But its still a perception and not reality.

Contestant number four Amar Singh – is only there because he and contestant number three were rivals since school. They have spent their lives outdoing each other and so contestant number four can’t let go of this opportunity to outdo number three. He is the contestant who provides the Rakhi Sawant effect to the whole show. After all you need someone who is quirky enough to infuse some more drama here.

Contestant number five Prakash Karat – is the kind who wants things his way. And its not winning that he wants, he wants the rules of the contest to be just like he envisioned them. The SMS voters are divided on whether his formula is right or wrong.

Contestant number five, six, seven, – well, no one really thinks much about them. They could go anywhere, do anything, no one really knows or cares. But all the above contestants have to be nice to them because these people also hold the rights to oust the others should the occasion arise. So everyone tries to put up with their nuisance value.

Now like all reality shows, this show also has had its own list of celebrity appearances. Those one episode people who add some drama, sometimes give hope, sometimes topple things. There are supporters of the contestants, who give glowing accounts of the people they are voting for. There are 38 year ‘old’ kids who enthusiastically tell the whole world about new facts that they have learnt in the school of politics. They forget that all those shocking things are happening in their own backyard and they were the last to know. Poor innocent kids! Then there are those who give new dimensions to the word ‘risking your life for duty’ and spout philosophy while lying on stretchers. They are supposed to be the ones who teach absentee politicians a lesson by example. They are the ones who might participate in the next contest. The SMS voters can feel it. Then there are the ones who show proof of rigging votes, and expose the vote games of the others. And there is a poor anchor, the speaker, who doesn’t know how to contain all the venom all around.

And like every reality show, the SMS voter is promised that it is his vote that counts and will decide the winner. But in the end, the organizers decide their own winners. Every five years the voter votes; trusting his vote will make a difference. Only to realize that it’s finally individual and party agendas that will decide the rules. And the voter is reduced to a voyeur helplessly watching the whole tamasha.



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