A Glossary Of Political Double Entendre

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One of the key attributes of a successful politician is the ability to say something in public while meaning something entirely different. Thus, when BJD President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik says on the eve of the winter session of the Assembly “We are ready to discuss any issue that the Opposition may raise,” what he really means is; “We are ready to foil any discussion in the House on issues that might embarrass us.” Or, when an Opposition leader says “We shall hold a peaceful and democratic protest”, s/he actually means “We shall make every effort to violate democratic norms and indulge in violence … till the police (or the marshal) steps in and stops us!”

There is a standard, time-honoured ‘politicianspeak’ for nearly every situation that a politician may confront. Here is a list of particular situations and the responses they evoke from politicians of all hues.

Situation: After losing an election

What the politician says: The ruling party won the election by using ‘money and muscle power’

What s/he actually means: “I wish we had more money and muscle power than the ruling party.”

Situation: When rapped on the knuckles by the court

What the politician says: Let us first study the judgment

What s/he actually means: I am too embarrassed to react

 

Situation: When confronted with a serious charge

What the politician says:  The law will take its own course

What s/he actually means: I will make sure that the law will never take its course

 

Situation:  When facing a serious charge in court

What the politician says:   I have full faith in the judiciary

What s/he actually means:  I have full faith in my team of lawyers

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Situation:  When exonerated by a court

What the politician says: I have been vindicated

What s/he actually means:   My battery of lawyers was better than yours

 

Situation: When campaigning during an election

What the politician says: I will work for the poor and the down-trodden

What s/he actually means: I will make sure that the poor and the down trodden remain poor and down trodden so that they continue to elect me

 

Situation: When caught with his/her pants/panties down in a sting operation

What the politician says: The tape is doctored

What s/he actually means: Who is the bast… who did this to me? And how could I be so naïve?

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Situation: When confronted with a serious allegation

What the politician says: My conscience is clear

What s/he actually means: I do not have a conscience to be bothered by such allegations

 

Situation: When laying the foundation stone for an industry

What the politician says: The plant will bring prosperity for the local people

What s/he actually means: This plant will bring prosperity for the industry, me and my party and misery for the local people

 

Situation: When asking for a salary hike

What the politician says: Do you know how much an MLA/MP has to spend to ‘attend to’ his constituency?

What s/he actually means: If I reveal how much I have to spend to ‘attend to’ my constituency, the income tax people will be after me.

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Situation: When caught on camera hobnobbing with shady characters

What the politician says: As a politician, I keep meeting so many people every day. Is it possible to verify the antecedents of everybody?

What s/he actually means: The next time, I will be more careful.

 

Situation: When faced with a no confidence motion

What the politician says: I have the support of the majority in the House

What s/he actually means: I have all the money and I am sure I can buy the required number of votes to prove my majority in the House

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Situation: When faced with a scandal

What the politician says: My life is an open book

What s/he actually means: My life is an open book, with the crucial pages torn off!

[Post Script: This is only a representative and not an exhaustive list of ‘politicianspeak’. Readers of ‘Scandeep’ are free to add to the list.]

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