With elections likely to be announced in the next week, political leaders are in a race against the model code of conduct to flag off projects across the country.
Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel gives jetsetting a new meaning as he embarks on a spree to lay foundation stones. He clocks 11 foundation stones and inaugurations in a span of four days.
Patel is not alone. Every cabinet minister and state minister is on a foundation-stone laying spree.
Punjab's father son duo of Prakash and Sukhbir Singh Badal has flagged off over 20 projects in seven days.
Pranab Mukherji has given the ‘auspicious start’ to seven projects in as many days.
Transport minister TR Baalu has started the foundation laying of 20 projects in 15 days.
No marks for guessing who has marked the most projects to his credit for posterity’s sake.
Lalu Yadav has taken the lead in setting the foundation stone for nearly 75 projects in one month.
His state rival, the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar says, “He carries foundation stones with him. If he sees an opportunity, he stops the train and puts a foundation stone. I call this a foundation stone spree.”
His closest competitor is the Tamil Nadu chief minister K Karunanidhi. The octogenarian leader achieved a new first by managing inaugrations through remote control.
Medical colleges, flyovers and even the 3G-Spectrum projects have been inaugurated by Karunanidhi from his hospital bed.
Failing health isn't stopping Arjun Singh either.
Singh has managed setting the creation of seven colleges and universities in as many days. Needless to add that the Union HRD minister has ensured that all these sites are closer to his vote bank, that is in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The party sees nothing wrong in it.
"The elections will come every five years as every government comes to a stop at four years and nine months," defends Home Minister P Chidambaram.
SY Qureshi, election commissioner too sees little to worry in the act.
"Even with the elections nearby, if they remember the people, it is very good. But if it is just to induce votes then I think even the people too are intelligent enough to see through it all," said Quereshi.
Laying foundation stones before election dates are announced is a time-tested way of defying the model code.
So what if the projects never get implemented, a little publicity never hurt anyone in election season.