“Sonia Madam urged me to take the month off. She even dispensed a largesse of Rs. 600 on me for this one month. I personally invited Suresh (Kalmadi), A. Raja and Lalit (Bhanot) to accompany me, as they have a reputation of utilizing money judiciously. Montek (Ahluwalia) also came along on the excursion, as he thought it was time the poverty line was reduced and re-defined further. A complete family of five,” exclaimed a beaming Sheila Dikshit. “Our staple diet consists of chappatis and dal for lunch and a dosa and salad for dinner. We even have the odd cup of tea in between.” The mission is in its second week.
This reporter thought, they must have spent all the money by now this way. So, flummoxed by her response, we asked her to name the dhaba which offered her such a sumptuous meal at such measly rates. “Why, the Parliament of course!” she replied succinctly.
“I would also like to thank the MCD for arranging our accommodation in a swanky night shelter. Sometimes we’ve been forcibly evicted and thrown out in the dark, and have had to walk several miles till we reached the next local shelter, but apart from that the experience is lovely. Copious potholes in the streets, the next-gen water-harvesting structures quench our thirst. We enjoyed some thrilling performances by the Delhi drivers who hurtled by in their speeding BMWs, so close to us, that their skill and dexterity almost seemed surreal. Even the street lights were switched off on purpose so that we could have a clear view of the night sky! It’s been a trip I shall never forget,” said Dikshit, staring blankly towards the sky, surreptitiously wiping off her tears of divine satisfaction.
Following her eventful journey, Congress workers have decided to rename the street where they live as Shrimati Diskshit Marg. The BJP have cried foul over the Congress decision. They have accused the ruling party of indulging in a conspiracy to oust the BJP in the forthcoming elections. “We shall not let them rename the sacred streets of Delhi on their whims,” said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.
There are reports that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, took offence at the fact that he was not informed of Ms. Dikshit’s naps with the street-people of Delhi—something largely regarded as his forte. The Congress has strongly denied this charge.
Meanwhile, tourism industry experts are perplexed by the spurt of visitors planning to visit Delhi. “Our bookings are through the roof,” says Ranjan Kumar, marketing manager of a travel firm. “As a result of the chief minister’s actions, there are a large number of people interested in viewing the dark side of the city behind the glittering façade. Our Poor-India-Hungry-India package is a sellout.” He signed off, busy attending his numerous calls.
Relevant: Sheila Dikshit spends a day as ordinary Delhi woman, city men leave her dumbfounded