By Alka Gurha Nov. 28, 2018
I know that a spot in the commentary box is very different from the PM’s seat, but the skills that Navjot Singh Sidhu has picked up during his multifaceted and tenured career, can easily be transferred to the highest office in India.
he last time there was a PM from the Congress, he became famous for his silence. The era of Manmohan Singh has passed, but perhaps for 2019, his polar opposite might be the man for the job. If the biggest problem with Dr Singh was his silence, it’s only fair that he be followed by a candidate who won’t stop talking. The opinion I’m about to present might be as unexpected as Tunday kebabs at an RSS meet, but like the kebabs (or the meet), we won’t know how good it is unless we try it. Bear with me, but I think Navjot Singh Sidhu should be a candidate for the PM.
I know that a spot in the commentary box is very different from the PM’s seat, but the skills that Sidhu has picked up during his multifaceted and tenured career, can easily be transferred to the highest office in India. For starters, election speeches are supposed to be engaging and imaginative. Instead, our leaders offer hysteria and histrionics with similar stories repeating on loop. Since both RaGa and NaMo are giving yawn-worthy bhashans, it is time to project new faces that can engage us over the charms of oratory.
Luckily for the Congress, they have Sherry paaji. The 55-year-old Punjab MLA was the most sought-after speaker in the recently concluded Chhattisgarh polls. A senior Congress leader confessed that unlike the goof-ups of CP Joshi or Raj Babbar, Sidhu can get away with making comments on anything. Isn’t that an amazing quality for any politician? But that is not the only reason that Navjoke Singh Sidhu is my candidate in case of a fractured mandate.
Politicians are used to being the butt of jokes. It goes with the territory. And though both Modi and Rahul have been the subject of memes and punchlines for years, how many times have they cracked jokes of their own? But as a cricket-obsessed nation, we have grown up listening to famous Sidhuisms like, “One who doesn’t throw a dice can never expect to score a six.” Brilliant, no?
Who knows, we might even get to see a friendly match between Sidhu’s and Khan’s cabinets. Cricket is the subcontinent’s religion, so let our respective Gods lead us to our destiny.
Lo and behold, there comes Sidhu, galloping to an electoral lead with his verbal pyrotechnics. Have you ever heard Sidhu repeat his quotes or jokes? Cometh the hour, cometh a couplet. Sidhu’s verbal arsenal is so potent that you want to shake the person next to you and say, “Look folks, this is what leadership is all about – quotes, votes and jokes.” You can like him or hate him, but you can’t ignore the confidence of the man. Like a true politician, Sidhu thinks that he is ordained by the Gods to always be right and never be questioned.
Of course, his history as a cricketer will help him appeal to male voters of a certain vintage, especially those who prefer a newspaper’s back pages over the front page. But his appeal cuts across gender demographics, which is what makes him such a good candidate. Ask any girl what she wants in a man and the likely answer is, “A good sense of humor.” Expect the Sidhu sarkar’s signature initiative to be titled “Beti Hasaao, Beti Bachaao”.
So what if Sidhu was sacked from ESPN for swearing on air? In his own words, “Nobody travels on the road to success without a puncture or two.” And his controversial visit to Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony might have helped open roads of a different kind. The agreement to have a corridor linking Gurdaspur’s Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Sahib is a result of a jhappi from our fluorescent turbanator… “hugplomacy” of the kind that Modi and Rahul could learn from. Like Sidhu said himself, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and venture belongs to the adventurous!”
Above all, it will be a welcome change to have two cricketer friends as neighbouring PMs. Reciprocating his friend’s visit, Farishta Khan will visit us for the swearing-in ceremony of Sidhu and it will be more historic than the Trump-Kim summit. Who knows, we might even get to see a friendly match between Sidhu’s and Khan’s cabinets. Cricket is the subcontinent’s religion, so let our respective Gods lead us to our destiny.
Have you ever heard Sidhu repeat his quotes or jokes? Cometh the hour, cometh a couplet.
I sense that some of you are shaking your heads in disapproval. You must be preparing a lengthy list of all the ways Sidhu is utterly unfit for the highest post in the land. Some will point to his too-friendly overtures to Pakistan as evidence of anti-nationalism and others will say that the culpable homicide case from 1998 proves he has no regard for human life. But since when have we let little things like that prevent us from choosing the leaders of our choice? For those worried about getting too friendly with Pakistan, I will direct you to this photo of PM Modi hugging former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif as if it’s Eid night and he wants some homemade phirni.
Let’s hear it for Sherry. Oh guru, ho ja shuru!
Alka is a columnist and freelance writer. She negotiates her way through the political minefield and media cesspool with wit as her armour. She is mostly contemplative, sometimes reflective but always tongue-in-cheek.