Former cricketer turned ace commentator, Ravi Shastri, has embarked on a new innings, this time on the political pitch. Shastri contends that with political discourse – whether it be election eve poll manifestos, speeches during rallies, or even the PM’s addresses to the nation – saturated with clichés of the stalest variety, he can give politicians a run for their money with his own inimitable cliché ridden commentary.
“For too long, people of this country have been subject to trite phrases such as ‘poverty needs to be eliminated’, ‘economic reforms’, the poor deserve a better deal’, ‘keeping communal forces at bay’, ‘inclusive growth’ and the classic ‘corruption is cancer that needs to be cured’. I think the time has come for fresh, original rhetoric such as ‘flashing and flashing hard’, ‘growing the economy in singles’, ‘rural electrification going down to the wire’ and ‘throwing the kitchen sink at poverty’,” disclosed Ravi on the sidelines of a function to announce his foray into electoral politics. On the momentous occasion, he also released a set of his choice clichés which encompasses his vision for the socio-economic transformation of his country.
Shastri’s clichés for social revolution seem to be resonating with the youth across the country from Kohima to Kathiawar, Kapurthala to Karur, the banks of the Kaveri to the gurgling waters of the Ken, from the ridges of Karjat to the rarefied heights of the Kanchenjunga, cutting across caste, community, creed and class. Raved Dablu Kumar, a native of Araria in North East Bihar, who trudged over 500 miles to attend a Shastri rally, and not just for the free biryani: “Shastri bhai’s clichés are so refreshingly different from the same old stale rhetoric. He kept talking about an electrifying atmosphere, going down to the wire and flashing hard, which is, forgive me for imitating the master, just what the doctor ordered for the rural poor. Access to electricity has been the number 1 demand of the rural poor in Bihar, you see.”
Political scientists opine that Ravi could well become the Imran Khan of Indian politics and be a serious contender for the Prime Minister’s post. “The similarities between two are striking. Both all-rounders, though Shastri was a left-arm spinner, not a tear-away pacer. Both scored off the pitch too, though I admit, Shastri was a bit of the poor man’s playboy, cavorting with the likes of Amrita Singh. And both captained their sides to famous wins, though in case of Shastri, it was in a one off Test against the Windies and not the World Cup. But still, if Imran Khan can talk of a social revolution, so can Ravi,” noted psephologist turned politician, Yogendra Yadav, “He could become a bigger leader than even Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rajdeep.”
Ravi’s meteoric rise is giving top leaders across the political spectrum sleepless nights. “He’s beating us at our game by reeling off hollow clichés. This could … now go down to the wire. #$%#$%, now even I’m imitating him,” fumed veteran Congress leader, Diggy.
But Ravi has found an unlikely ally in the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia. “He keeps talking about ‘giving it the full Monty’ by which I presume he wants me to continue at the helm of the Planning Commission. This shows that his grasp of policy is just as sound as Dr. Manmohan Singh’s,” averred the policy czar.
“Vanakam Chennai,” thundered Ravi, kicking of his campaign from the capital of Tamil Nadu. “Nalla irkia,” he thundered, as the multitude of people assembled at the Marina cheered his grasp of the local idiom. “At this stage of the game, all three results are possible,” he said, seamlessly switching to English, “but in the end, India will be the winner.” The applause reached a crescendo. A new leader was born that day.