Friday, February 21
Sex, donkeys and democracy
Pankaj Upadhyay,, February 21, 2003

Shimla: "A sex scandal in Gujarat?" Ashok Ahuja's face looked like he had just had a bite of an aloo parantha stuffed with just salt. "How does it matter to me? How does it matter to anybody in Himachal Pradesh?"

"And Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi? Would he have any impact in Himachal Pradesh?" I ventured further. "Oh! for god's sake. Himachal's own politicians are trouble enough," Ahuja said in an exasperated tone.

Ahuja, who runs a cyber café on the Mall in Shimla and a hotel-restaurant in the suburbs, was born and brought up in this picturesque city. "Till just a couple of decades back we used have uninterrupted power supply after bigger snow falls than what we saw on Tuesday. So are we progressing or regressing?" he asked. "All this talk of sex scandals is just a gimmick. It will not work. There are so many issues, but do the people who get elected have the capacity to even think through them?"

"I have a problem with democracy. If donkeys have a majority, they will elect a donkey. There is no qualification required to become a politician and this is what we get," he said.

I wanted find out why a sex scandal involving Punjab ministers had become an election issue in the state. And also what was Modi doing in a state where minorities -- Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians -- comprised less than 5 per cent of the total population. [...]
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