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10 Things Every Aspiring Politician Must Do

21/10/2015 8:30 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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There is no glory in being part of the everyday crowd -- the hamsters who can't see beyond the blur of their wheels. Don't be a 9-to-5 nobody. Do something fulfilling with your life.

Consider a career in Indian politics! It will change your life! After all, one doesn't enter politics to change the lives of others.

However, it isn't easy for a newcomer in Indian politics. If you are the son/daughter of a politician, stop reading this article and go back to planning your next holiday. If you aren't, here are a few tips to make it in this promising business.

1. Act the part

A true politician looks awe-inspiring. No party wants an emaciated wisp of a man with a lot of ideas. Appearance is everything. You must look intimidating! Bulk up and stock your wardrobe with white kurtas (or expensive designer-wear). Your clothes must have pockets to carry everyday essentials such as knives, pepper spray etc.

"Traffic signals and toll booths are for the weak. Drive anywhere you like. On one way streets, pavement dwellers etc... You are a god. Act like one."

Buy an SUV, slap on tinted glasses, a "fancy" license plate and take on the world. Drive at break-neck speed with your party's flag fluttering on your car bonnet and your entourage in tow. Following traffic rules is a sign of mortality and a sure way to lose the next election. Traffic signals and toll booths are for the weak. Drive anywhere you like. On one way streets, pavement dwellers etc... You are a god. Act like one.

2. Embrace the media circus

Let's face it. The nation does not "want to know". But you can't afford to have such an attitude. The newsroom is where you must do battle these days. Be diligent. Practice by screaming over loud, heavy metal music every day. It will prepare you for prime time debates.

Approach any debate fearlessly and remove logic and decency from your mind. It doesn't matter if your fellow party-man raped and pillaged last night. You must defend him vociferously and point out that a representative of another party did the same 50 years ago and therefore the act is perfectly justified.

If your vocal chords are strong, your logic pointless and your hide thicker than a rhino's, you can aspire to the coveted post of party spokesperson.

3. Make controversial remarks

Do you actually want your political career to pass by without a ripple? What is the point of doing "quiet, productive work in the background"? Wake up! This is serious business! If you want to get noticed, make sure you occasionally say something insensitive when there are many cameras around.

Topics you can choose from include women, migrants, religion, beef consumption, terrorism etc. History has shown that "women-targeted remarks" send the media into a tizzy. Every politician worth his/her salt, must say something derogatory about women sometime.

Call for all women to stay indoors after 5pm, justify rape somehow, say that women must do nothing, except make perfect rotis, and churn out babies (five of them). Say that migrant labourers aren't welcome. State that ancient Indians invented plastic surgery before the time of dinosaurs. Justify the beating up of toll attendants, consenting couples and of people from the Northeast. The more controversial you are, the more you will be covered on "super prime time" and the more you will be appreciated by your party.

"Don't worry about sounding vitriolic. Your party can always blame it on 'unknown fringe elements', claim that you were 'misquoted' and that the video evidence is 'false'."

Time it well, with a gap of at least three weeks between each remark. Don't worry about sounding vitriolic. Your party can always blame it on "unknown fringe elements", claim that you were "misquoted" and that the video evidence is "false".

4. Do not support Pakistan-- ever!

Some complacent politicians have made the mistake of saying things like, "Not all Pakistanis are terrorists"...or "We want peace with Pakistan"... or "We must start a dialogue"...

T his is political hara-kiri. Don't make such remarks and jeopardise your career.

If Pakistan extends something that looks suspiciously like an olive branch, you must scream bloody murder. If India suffers a bad monsoon, blame it on the ISI. If Pakistan beats India at cricket, the umpire must have an anti-India agenda. If their U-17 cricket team is stuck in transit at Delhi airport, you must publicly call for their removal from Indian soil. If Pakistani ghazal singers and authors ever set foot here, you must threaten to disrupt their events. This makes you a "nationalist".

5. Think global

You can't be a frog in the well. Make sure you spread your wings to foreign shores and proudly represent your country at international fora you know nothing about.

Go on junkets every six months. Spare no expense. Take a break to rejuvenate. Catching a few winks in the assembly isn't sufficient. You need a good "work-life balance". Nothing like a relaxing "study leave" with your family to calm your mind after vigorous election campaigns and hate-speeches.

6. Be the aam-admi

When a farmer dies, make sure you are the first to arrive at his village and comfort the family. Reach there before a rival politician does. Get back to your office in time to tell the media about the compensation package your party has announced and point out that you are more sensitive to human suffering than Mother Teresa was.

"Corruption has ended the careers of a few politicians (one or two). Make sure you get away with it."

Stay in a villager's house every now and then. It is essential that the media is around to cover it. There should be photographs of you playing with village children, sharing a meal with a family etc.

You must appear secular and earnest. Attend iftar parties and church masses, roll rotis at a gurudwara, practice yoga in the media's presence and take occasional dips in the Ganges before important elections.

7. When you are in opposition, stonewall!

Politics has its ups and downs. You may not always win elections. Don't be disheartened. You can still make a difference by sitting in opposition.

The true function of the opposition is to refute everything the ruling party says. Whatever their point is, you must instantly call it absolute rubbish. Reaction time is crucial. It can range anywhere from two to five minutes, but not beyond that.

If it is a package for farmers, say it is "anti-poor". If a new committee is formed, call it an "eyewash". Whenever your rivals present the budget, call it "disenfranchising" on Twitter. Quote the work of activists and environmentalists. They are irritants when you are in power, but extremely useful when you aren't.

If you absolutely can't find anything negative to say about an initiative, say that it was originally your party's idea.

8. Treat your workers well

It doesn't matter if you have never met them. These foot soldiers are absolutely essential for your success. If you keep them happy, they will do anything for you. You need them to erect hoardings, statues, go on hunger strikes, shout pointless slogans, smear ink on dissenters, disrupt Valentine's Day etc. Remember, they are your representatives at all times, so make sure they are goons.

9. Deal with corruption

Ah! The Achilles heel! Corruption has ended the careers of a few politicians (one or two). Make sure you get away with it.

Corruption is unavoidable. Telling a politician not to be corrupt is like expecting a hungry lion to eat vegetables.

Politicians don't get eight-figure salaries and careers are sometimes short. Make hay while the sun shines and grab as much as you can, when you can and stash it all overseas or in gunny bags at your farmhouse. You need money to fuel your recurring expenses as a politician -- bribes to bureaucrats and henchmen, family holidays, birthday parties, new suits, etc...

10. Serve the people

Lastly, don't forget that you are a representative of the people.

You owe it to the people who made you financially successful -- corrupt bureaucrats and officials, lawyers, henchmen, family connections and other politicians.

Don't forget about them as you move up the ladder. Get them government jobs. Bypass IAS officers and appoint your nephews instead. Share your hard-earned wealth with your cronies. You will always be remembered. Have a wonderful career in politics.

This is meant to be a satirical piece deliberately focusing on one particular stereotype for humour's sake. It isn't intended to be disrespectful of the entire political class nor dismissive of certain valiant efforts to make this country a better place.

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