Politicians are not as rhino-skinned as you think. They do shed a tear or two over three things: I, me and myself. So when you’re dealing with such self-obsessed megalomaniacs, it helps to either boost or burst their egos. And the easiest way to bring them to their senses is by mocking their Teflon coated names. Let’s demonstrate the power of name calling through a recent example. From Lajpat Nagar to Lal Bagh, everyone now knows about Robert Vadra, the businessman and his many spotlessly clean, ‘highest ethical standard’ transactions with DLF by following the laws and in-laws of the land. Despite the negative press and the multiple tongue lashings he’s received from the mango men at the IAC, our dear Raabert displays no sense of contrition. But no matter how smug-faced Mr Priyanka Gandhi may be, he cannot escape from the unflattering ‘Robber Vadra’ label he’s earned from the mocking birds.
As days roll on, no one will remember the crores of rupees exchanged or the acreage of favours delivered, all that will stick is ‘Robber Vadra’. Make no mistake. That will really hurt, as even a petty thief doesn’t like to be called a chor. Talking of political nicknames, the firebrand Arvind Kejriwal has been a worthy recipient of many monikers from his detractors. Khujliwal (meaning ‘the one with the itch’) and Kachdawal (‘one who dishes out rubbish’) are two names that have gained traction with BJP and Congress supporters.
Those who pooh pooh the damage wreaked by mock names should just see what ‘Bliar’ did to Tony Blair. It not only portrayed him as a master of doublespeak but also ended up destroying his political career in a snap. That’s why leaders can ill afford to ignore the ramifications of a pesky nickname. That’s why a Mitt Romney needs to actively speak up on issues intelligently if he sees ‘Mute Romney’ going viral. Obama has to come to terms with ‘Oh Bummer!’ and do everything in his means to fight the ‘disappointment’ perception. India’s princeling has to come through as smart if he wants to outgrow the ‘Rahul Buddhu’ tag. And our Manmohan must stop being ‘Maunmohan’.