Dhaka, Bangladesh
Say sorry for sari

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Say sorry for sari

Freebies help win elections. Like it or not, true or false, this is an article of faith in India. Sometimes it means mixer-grinders or farm loan waivers and sometimes itís just making sure that dry voting days get a dousing. These are not all birds of the same feather but they flock together, as far as political parties attempting to influence voting behaviour are concerned. Of course the precondition for pulling off this ruse is giving voters something they actually want or value. Any old rubbishy thing wonít do. This is where the Telangana government has stumbled this festival season, by first getting the ladies very excited at the prospect of free saris and then equally angry when the saris turned out to be rubbishy. The KCR government had announced it would distribute special saris for Bathukamma, a Telangana festival where women dance around flowers to celebrate the patron goddess of womanhood. So many women turned up for collection that in certain places the queues broke into hair-pulling and fisticuffs. But oh woe, like winter coming ere summer were half done, instead of the promised handloom these saris were just poor polyester. Some women made bonfires of them. Others complained these are not even good enough for cleaning floors. More sad than glad rags. Further north itís some Uttar Pradesh farmers who have gotten a rude shock, discovering that their much-anticipated loan waiver is only for less than a rupee. Geniuses who expect this kind of therapy to allure voters may need medicating themselves. On the upside, how thrilled would Indira Gandhi and Pupul Jayakar be at how the taste for handloom has gotten broadbased. If only broken promises would become passť like polyester. óThe Times of India

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