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Do Politicians Have Sartorial Taste?

In recent times one has been noticing Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray formally dressed like an office-goer – trousers and tucked-in full-sleeved shirts instead of his traditional kurta-pyjama.  Last December he mandated that all the State government employees should refrain from wearing T-shirts, jeans and slippers to work. He is leading from the front. Most politicians are well dressed. The immediate name that comes to mind is that of the Congress leader Shivraj Patil who held important positions in the Union government. He was known for his sartorial taste. At times he used to change his dress several times a day. Likewise, Sonia Gandhi is always elegantly dressed in a well-draped cotton saree. Rajiv Gandhi’s kurta-pyjama was accompanied with Gucci shoes, Rolex watch and Cartier sunglass. Politicians started becoming dress conscious because of two reasons. One, both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha TV channels were telecasting live the daily proceedings. Two, the entry of youngsters, including film stars. I recall BJP leader Pramod Mahajan saying: “Even when disrupting parliament our voters like us to look good!” Narayan Rane as Maharashtra’s chief minister always preferred an odd two-button jacket but never a full suit. Many like Sharad Pawar preferred white trousers and half-sleeved bush shirts. Gopinath Munde preferred kurta-pyjama and a Nehru jacket but never wore trousers. The bandhgala was the favourite of two chief ministers in Maharashtra: Sudhakarrao Naik and his uncle VP Naik.