Vettel won the Indian GP, Maya might have won UP

All of the praise that is resonating across the world in the context of the successful conclusion of the Indian Grand Prix congratulates ‘India’.

It’s not too long ago that the same ‘India’ was the laughing stock of international media, thanks to the Commonwealth Games fiascos and scams.

Perhaps India, the country, deserved neither the bouquets nor the brickbats.

The CWG mess, as has been demonstrated by the filing of numerous cases, can be attributed to the maladministration of those in charge, notably Suresh Kalmadi and his team.

Equally, the plaudits for the superb Indian Grand Prix need to go to an administration that made things easy for the organisers and the owners of the Buddh circuit – the Uttar Pradesh government in general and Mayawati in particular.

This is what Emily Bennamar in the first of the live updates of the Indian GP in The Telegraph had to say: “Good morning/afternoon/evening wherever you may be joining me from in the world. The countdown is finally over and India are ready for their first ever grand prix. Many doubted they would be ready, and given what happened in the run up to last year's Commonwealth Games, could you blame the sceptics? But following that fiasco, India have embraced their opportunity for redemption and boy does it look like they have delivered.”

Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives during the first Indian F1 Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit. Reuters

Many in the international media would not know that the “Indian’ government had little to do with the Buddh track and (most of) the infrastructure that leads to it. They wouldn’t know that Noida is in Uttar Pradesh, which is in the National Capital Region, but is not part of the national capital itself.

To those in India, there wouldn’t have been many sceptics – Mayawati has proven, time and again, the strength of her resolve once she is committed to a project.

Consider the evangelistic zeal with which she completed the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal, the Rs 685 crore project that had all and sundry criticising her for her profligacy when the same money, said her detractors, could have been utilised in much needed development.

Firstpost editor R Jagannathan wrote, then, on how it wasn’t just about a park – it was about symbolism The inauguration of the Rs 685 crore, state-funded Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal in Noida by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday has been misread by almost all analysts.The focus of the attacks on Mayawati have been on the size of expenditure involved and use of state funds for a private political project. But in Dalit politics, this is almost a non-issue. More important is the symbolism and challenges it throws up for Indian politics and society.”

The same is true of the Buddh circuit – it’s much more than a venue for motor sports. The naming of the circuit after Buddha is one more step in her neo-Buddhism project; the successful construction of the circuit and the successful completion of the event is also symbolism – it presents a new face of Uttar Pradesh. In one fell swoop, it suggests that the state administration is one that is efficient and one that understands (and can achieve) global standards in quality.

The F1 race was more than just a race – as much as the park is more than a park. Mayawati has proven, with both, that (at least as far as these two very visible edifices are concerned), her government is one that works and one that delivers.

If she can capitilise on these two and communicate the successes to the electorate, it’s going to be a difficult time for her opponents in the forthcoming UP elections.


Updated Date: Oct 31, 2011 12:13 PM

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