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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Being seen to be good

The Indian Express writes:
Over the past three days, as officials cranked up relief, there’s been a great, messy push among Congress MLAs, ministers, innumerable corporators and political wannabes to corner food, kerosene and other relief now being distributed by the state.

So being eight months pregnant did not deter prospective Congress MP Priya Dutt—daughter of late star and Mumbai North West MP Sunil Dutt—as she roamed the miserable bylanes of Kalina near the international airport. Thousands got handouts, leaving out those deep inside the dark interiors of the slum. "At least, aid is not falling into the wrong hands," said Dutt on Thursday, accompanied by husband Owen Roncon. "We’ve brought it to the people."

The next day, The Sunday Express received a call from an agitated aspirant to the same constituency—also from the Congress: "Why is she getting all the publicity?"

Across town, Sharif Khan, brother of Kurla Congress MLA Naseem Khan, slapped S Annamalai, husband of Congress corporator Lalita Annamalai, for not inviting the former minister to a relief-distribution function.

"He wanted to know why I had not invited his brother," said Annamalai. Countered Khan: "Annamalai has been bad-mouthing me and my brother in television interviews."

MLAs, corporators and others criticised heavily for their absence during the rain—citizens in the western suburb of Oshiwara offered a reward for their MP, film star Govinda, who defends himself on television—are now popping up with alacrity.
I like that bit about people who voted for Govinda offering a reward for him after he disappeared. Right out of a David Dhawan comedy. I don't understand what the newspaper is saying about Priya Dutt, though. Is it saying that she was sincere, or that she was opportunistic?

The article, titled "The 944-mm Lesson", takes a cursory look at what Mumbai's officials can do to turn the city around, and includes a nice quote from Anand Mahindra in which he says that Mumbai is "a blip on the world’s radar screen."

Heck, you look at how the sensex keeps going up and up, and you'd think that Mumbai is a blip on Mumbai's radar screen.