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Gopinath Munde, who had declared boldly that black money could be excluded only by state funding of election expenditure by parties, has now asked for state funding for pocket combs. In an exclusive interview with Unreal Times, he explained the rationale behind his demand. Following is the transcript of the interview:
Reporter: Sir, why do you claim that state funding is required now, for elections when India is facing a financial crisis?
Munde: India always has been in some sort of crisis or other since Independence. Does that mean politicians have to bear the brunt of the elections? We re-distribute the wealth during election times. Example, Sheila’s announcement of housing for ‘migrant labor’. You can not expect us to distribute the largesse from our pockets do you ?
Reporter: But is it not too much to ask state funding for pocket combs and pocket mirrors?
Munde: Does the Election Commission understand how difficult it is for a politician to to maintain his hair style while touring? It is alright for all topiwallahs (Editor: an oblique reference to Congress and the Aam Admi Party). They hide their crowns under a cap. But what about people like me? I had to spend 3 lakhs on combs and mirrors alone as every time I took out my personal one, my cadres asked for it and never gave it back. Some times I had to beg for one from the TV channel guys.
Reporter: But why pocket combs and mirrors?
Munde: I spent Rs 29,000 when I contested my first Assembly poll in 1980. I did not have to bother about how I looked. People came to pick up the goodies we gave, the feel good bottles. (He shows the reporter the adjacent photo) However, for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections I had to spend Rs eight crore, out of which Rs 1 crore was towards upmarket parlors to maintain my hairstyle. This is because of the explosion of the TV channels and visual media. All the politicians now have to be at their sartorial best. Our Bharatiya culture is being taken over by western values”
Reporter: But should the public have to bear this expense on ‘hair’? Is it not too much? Besides you can always don the RSS cap or a Turban! It will save taxpayers money!
(Reporter shows Munde the following two photos of KS Sudarshan and Suresh Kalmadi)
Munde: You media guys are so hypocritical! Sudarshan was ribbed because he wore shorts. Malicious gossip about him being a ‘bare all’ was circulated. Besides, my legs aren’t too great. As for the other picture, poor Kalmadi. After that event, the media claimed that he had hid his black money under the turban and the CBI guys confiscated all his turbans… (whispers) Nobody dares that with Manmohan.
Reporter: So that is your final take on the matter ?
Munde (aghast): No, definitely not! It is just the initial take from the state exchequer. Once we are elected at their expense, we shall once again extract the amount from the exchequer and redistribute again at the time of election.