In The Hindu of today (5th Jan 2014), I read a news item titled “Vasundhara Raje takes a leaf out of AAP’s book” where the Rajasthan CM’s occupation of her MLA bungalow instead of the CM’s quarters and other activities are seen as Taking a cue from the Aam Aadmi Party government’s hugely popular austerity measures!! The Hindu has been very shortsighted in ascribing these as inspired by AAP whose austerity means Innovas for the Ministers!!
Given that the public memory is short and the media’s even shorter, it is important to know that a person who occupied the highest office of the Governor General besides being Home Minister at the Centre, Governor of West Bengal and Chief Minister of Madras, lived in his modest house at Bazullah road in Chennai. That is true austerity!! Yes, I am referring to C Rajagopalachari well known as ‘Rajaji’. And talking about stopping at traffic lights (which is today seen as a rarity) Rajaji, once stuck in a traffic jam, got out of his car and made his way through the other cars and vehicles to cross into the Central Station to board the train to Delhi because he did not want to inconvenience the others in the train.
Another example that comes readily to mind, again from a Madras-based personality, was another Chief Minister and King Maker Kamaraj, who lived, incidentally in T Nagar in Chennai, in a rented house when he was the CM. Kamaraj forbade even a pilot car when he was travelling and once helped a traffic constable to clear a traffic jam by himself.
Can you even imagine that such people lived amidst us not so long ago? It is indeed pathetic that the modern day politicians have behaved in such a fashion that the ‘stunts’ of the AAP are acclaimed as ‘inspiring austerity measures’ by the media.
Let us become capable of separating the wheat from the chaff!!