Saturday December 15, 2018
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The great American election carnival is rolling

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Washington, It was turning into a right royal clash of two political dynasties before a balding, grey-haired politician and a businessman with a golden mop on top spoiled the fun for frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush that is.

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For the rest of the world, the great American carnival that is the 2016 presidential race has just started rolling and anyone out of the pack of 22 – five Democrats and 17 Republicans – could end up being the Clown-in-Chief, oops Commander-in-Chief.

Among the Republican 17 is our very own Bobby Jindal, born in Louisiana six months after he traveled from Punjab in his mother’s womb, and who fancying himself as all-American is tired of hyphenated Americans and much else.

A ‘Tanned. Rested. Ready’ Jindal, as his campaign slogan pilfered from the much-despised Richard Nixon, describes him hasn’t gained much traction and continues to languish low in the polls known as he is to less than half the Republican voters.

First the disruptor, starting with ‘Teflon’ Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and celebrity reality TV show host, who keeps climbing the popularity charts despite bad mouthing ‘stupid’ politicians and a dust up with a popular female Fox News host.

For a ‘smart’ Trump, Senator John McCain was no ‘hero’ for getting captured during the Vietnam war, illegal immigrants from Mexico were ‘rapists’ and an ‘unfair’ host Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” during the first Republican debate.

But proving pundits wrong, nothing would stick to Teflon Trump, who called his detractors accusing him of making ‘lewd’ and misogynistic comments about women as “sick and deviant” and declared he cherished women.

Trump also targeted Bush, son of a president and brother of another, for saying he was “not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues” and said it was the Republican establishment favorite who owed women an apology.

Other Republican presidential contenders, including Louisiana governor Jindal, tied themselves into knots with pledges to repeal Obamacare, tear up the Iran deal and defend Planned Parenthood, a women’s health organisation.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee sought Planned Parenthood’s criminal prosecution for allegedly selling fetal body parts, a charge it has denied, as unborn fetuses too had constitutional rights.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton once again saw her aura of inevitability threatened as it was in 2008 by a junior senator from Illinois who went on to make history as America’s first African American president.

With questions being raised about her use of a private email server during her time as the secretary of state, self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders overtook Clinton 44 to 37 percent in a new poll in New Hampshire with waves of supporters flocking to his events.

But it’s still early days, and all the official televised debates, nine for Republicans and six for Democrats, and stump speeches the candidates are making are just warming up for the ‘hunger games’ set to begin next February – the caucuses and primaries in every state.

It’s the delegates picked up at these events, starting with the Iowa caucus, where party functionaries choose them, and the New Hampshire primary, where registered voters of a party do so, who will anoint their respective party’s candidate at their conventions in July next year.

There are several other lesser known parties like the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the Prohibition Party and wary of the Republican party establishment, Trump has not ruled out an independent or third party run if things don’t go his way.

But the debates and campaign stops like the one at Iowa fair where 18 presidential candidates made a “bipartisan stampede” over the weekend do help them raise their profiles and win deep-pocketed donors like the billionaire Koch brothers.

The last Republican debate, for one, gave a huge boost to two other political outsiders  former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Earlier this month, the Koch brothers organised a conclave of 250 top donors at a luxury resort in southern California to pick the Republican horse they would bet on with plans to spend nearly $900 million. But Trump was not among the “Puppets” who went there “to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers,” as he tweeted after the event.

The disruptions’ surge, analysts suggest, has been fueled by public anger at a dysfunctional Washington establishment.

But the question is whether they would be able to sustain their momentum in the face of the well oiled and well-heeled Bushes, the Clintons and the Kochs or would it all end up as just a sweet summer fling?

(IANS)

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Would Nick Jonas Actually Want To Marry Priyanka Chopra?

if Priyanka Chopra would marry her American boyfriend

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Priyanka chopra and Nick Jonas looking forward to form a martial alliance.
if Priyanka Chopra would marry her American boyfriend. Pixabay

Many, many years ago, the doyen of Marathi-Hindi cinema V. Shantaram was told by his daughter, the actress Rajshri, that she wanted to marry her American boyfriend Greg Chapman.

Shantaram was at that time in the midst of pre-production for a film called “Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti”. He stared at his daughter with disbelieving eyes, unwilling to accept that she would betray her father in this way.

“And the best thing was, Shantaramji wasn’t worried about Raj — her pet name — marrying an American. He was only worried about his film. He quickly told his daughter to do whatever she wanted to and signed Mumtaz to play the lead opposite me,” recalls veteran actor Jeetendra, a close friend of Rajshri.

Her last film in India “Suhaag Raat” was with Jeetendra who visits his pal Raj even now when he is in the US.

Rajshri’s marriage to Greg Chapman has lasted for more than 35 years. Once she moved to the US with Greg, she never looked back, never had a hankering to return. Theirs is a marriage that defies all cross-cultural scepticism, forging as it did an alliance that went far deeper than the passport could ever record.

Would Nick Jonas, a hot favourite gay icon in the US, actually want to forge a marital alliance with our Desi Girl?
Would Nick Jonas, a hot favourite gay icon in the US, actually want to forge a marital alliance with our Desi Girl? Flickr

I don’t know if Priyanka Chopra would marry her American boyfriend. I can’t see her giving it all up like Rajshri to make a life in the US, unless Priyanka’s mother plans to make Nick her ghar-jamai (house husband). Would Nick Jonas, a hot favourite gay icon in the US, actually want to forge a marital alliance with our Desi Girl?

Something tells me this relationship lacks the staying-power of the Rajshri-Greg alliance. I will tell you why. For one, Greg had nothing to do with show business. He had no clue Rajshri was a star in India when they met in the US while she was shooting with Raj Kapoor for his globally-shot fiasco “Around The World”. Raj Kapoor would later joke that the only good thing that came out of this expensive disaster was Rajshri’s marriage.

In my experience, marriage of showbiz celebrities work best when the spouse is totally detached from the entertainment world. Nick and Priyanka are on the same side of the celebrity circus. Not good.

Rajshri gave it all up for Greg. It wasn’t just love. Rajshri didn’t care a damn about being an actress. Would Priyanka be able to give it all up? And to be politically correct, let’s take the reverse course — would Nick be willing to give it all up and settle down in India?

I am sure Shah Rukh Khan would find a vacancy for him at Red Chillies.

While the future of Desi Girl’s bonding with the Firangi Munda remains uncertain, I am reminded of the most famous American to have dated an Indian actress. Hollywood superstar Gregory Peck dated 1950s diva Suraiya for a fleeting phase when he visited India. He was really taken up with the beauteous actress. But Suraiya’s grandmother didn’t see Gregory Miyan as a son-in-law.

Also read: Priyanka Chopra’s subtle reply when asked about her marriage

On the rebound, Suraiya had a long relationship with the Gregory Peck lookalike Dev Anand. Alas, that too was a doomed alliance. But that’s another story. (IANS)