The bumpy road of politics

Raj and Uddhav Thackeray recently sparred over potholes. In a fantastic exchange, the cousins displayed ingenious word play to slander each other. To sum up: Raj threw the gauntlet saying that Uddhav should photograph potholes instead of wild animals. He was referring to the Sena-contolled BMC’s shoddy road work during the monsoons and his cousin’s passion for wildlife photography. Uddhav retaliated by saying that wild animals are preferable to traitorous “namak harams”. He outdid himself by adding that Raj had made a pothole in the strength of the Marathi manoos (by splitting votes of course) and that Raj should first locate the potholes in his heart (not sure what he meant by that).

Uddhav is not usually this creative with his diatribes. So it was obvious that he had help. There’s only one person in the Sena who has the imagination to script such ripostes. Babanrao Mahadik. We caught up with Mahadik to chat about his role in the latest war between the Thackerays. Mahadik suggested a clandestine meeting at a coffee shop. He was craving a “non-wheg” sandwich as he was tired of Shiv vada paos, the official snack at his shakha.

Immanuel’s cant: Did you enjoy scripting Uddhav’s replies to Raj?

Babanrao Mahadik: I enjoyed wery much. And I have responses prepared for at least ten more verbal attacks.

IC: But Raj has been quiet after the first speech.

BM: Yes, but my sources tell me that he is planning a series of comments on potholes. I know exactly what he is going to say.

IC: What?

BM: First Raj will say: ‘I’ve checked my heart. It is free of potholes. But you need to repair the potholes in your reputation.’ To that Uddhav will reply: ‘Since you are obviously incapable of doing raj over the potholed roads of politics, you should live up to your real name and make music instead.’ Not many know that Raj’s real name is Swararaj, king of music. To that Raj will give his stock answer for questions about his name: ‘The only raag I understand is the raag (rage) within me. And I’m full of raag at what you have done to this city.’ Uddhav will say: ‘You haven’t seen real raag yet. Wait till I pay you back for trying to steal my ally.’ Raj will say: ‘We’ll see whose side the BJP is on in the next Lok Sabha elections. You might not remain the raja of potholes much longer.’

IC: But how will Raj know what Uddhav is going to say?

BM: I have exchanged notes with my counterpart in MNS.

IC: So this is a game that you and your friend are playing unknown to the Thackerays?

BM: Then what, yaar! What is rajniti without some potholes.

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