Priyanka’s cross

Poor Priyanka Vadra nee Gandhi. She seems to have inherited not only her grandmother Indira Gandhi’s looks but also her cross. Granted Robert Vadra is no Firoze Gandhi thundering against corruption. He is a businessman who seems to have done well both maritally and materially. Eyebrows have been raised at the lucrative deals he has landed, but what’s surprising about that? A man lucky enough to marry a Gandhi surely has Fortune smiling on him. How can he not amass a fortune? At the moment, nevertheless, he seems a liability. A grave liability for a political family like the Gandhis in view of his condition. He has the foot-in-the-mouth disease. That definitely makes him a cross to bear for poor Priyanka. After all, what could be more embarrassing for the Gandhis than a son-in-law who does not know when to bite his tongue and says the darnedest things?

He could have lain low and let the Congress leaders defend him against Arvind Kejriwal, who has accused him of getting rich quick through sweetheart deals with realty giant DLF. But, no, he had to say something and reveal a less than stellar wit in the bargain.

Responding to corruption charges, he wrote in his Facebook account, “Mango people (aam admi) in banana republic.”  If that’s supposed to be a punch line, it fell flat. Humour is lost in translation. “Mango people” may be a literal translation of the Hindi “aam admi”, but it is hardly punchy or funny. And “banana republic” … how dare he call India a “banana republic”?

Voices may be raised in protest not only by the “mango people” – er, “aam admi”. His mother-in-law may also demand an explanation.

For isn’t she the power behind the throne graced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? If India is a banana republic, then isn’t she a dictator? Not a nice thing to say to your mother-in-law. Even despots avoid the D-word; nobody wants to be called a dictator.

Vadra clearly did not consider the implications of his words when he came up with the one-liner; maybe he thought “mango people… in a banana republic” sounded catchy like the phrases, “apples and oranges” and “chalk and cheese”. That was thoughtless. His words were memorable all right – as a dumb thing to say.

If he doesn’t want to be a cross to bear for poor Priyanka, he should be building not just his assets but choosing his words carefully. Then he may become a real asset to the Gandhis.

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