Is it just me, or are all of you who have read Chiddu's post-Budget interviews in the papers or watched him on TV feeling that Chid's has been in a bad mood of late. Not enough leggy failed models in his life maybe? But, his outburst at Raghav Behl beggars belief. I'm not a big fan of CNBC-TV18, but all that raghav did was ask a lot about the 'waiver' and how the government plans to pay for it. A few too many times, but since Chiddu has no clue about an answer, he could not give a straight answer and got pissed off. After he took his microphone off, we hear that the camera's kept rolling and interestingly, the Finance Minister suuposedly threatened the channel which created the 'Cult of Chiddu' with these words, "You see what I do to you." Even more surprisingly he did not blow up at Raghav but a poor cameraman doing his job.
The only reason I can figure out from Chid's is that he was pressurised into this budget by Madam and her coterie of ministers. Read this ToI story for an idea, of course the Prime Minister, who I can comfortably say has been India's most ineffectual Prime Minister ever, couldn't save him. You saw the adverts the next day!
Anyway, this is an election budget, the budget will get passed, and by the Monsoon session around August the Nuclear Deal will also go through. The Commies will withdraw support and elections will be called for September or October. Or so the thinking goes. I mean a winter election is so much better than a April-May election. Of course, it would be interesting to see if they still pull off an election if the monsoons are weak.
To answer a comment calling me a 'townie', no buddy, I have actually travelled more in the hinterland than most journalists, definately more than most journalists working under the cover of 'business journalism'. Hero Honda and Airtel between them have done more for the 'farmers' than decades of Congress governance. Why is there no public transport in backward parts of the country, because politicians and bureaucrats have siphoned off crores from State Transport Corporations and refused in some cases to allow private operators to run. Kerala is a good example (though it is the scariest state in the country to drive in, I once did a run through Kerala all the way to Aleppy and back in a Scorpio) where private operators operate a lot of buses at high-frequency and thus people use it. It might be a bad example since Kerala is also possibly one of the easiest states to organise transportation in. But when I was in Vidarbha a few years ago, our driver told me that farmers often blew up their funds on motorcycles and TV sets. Unbridled consumerism funded on debt isn't just a problem in urban areas. My Hindi is pathetic, not that it helped in Vidarbha anyway, but I ain't no townie!
There has been a failure of governance for far too long in this country, not just in the farms but also in the cities. And believe me, I also think that the BJP is as bad as the Congress. There is absolute failure of governance in Madhya Pradesh for example. And in cities, I think it should be mandatory for all city councillors, mayors and in Delhi's case the hare-brained Shiela Dikshit to master SimCity4, in fact, they should learn the Transportation Expansion pack of the game. I mean what next? A congestion charge in Delhi, a la London?
Did anyone see Papermint's fantastic hatchet-job/self-congratulatory pages today? Surpriosed at the Red-Dots that ET got?