Birth of a Salesman: Your neta is now a brand

Dharmendra is selling auto finance to truckers on behalf of Sriram Transport Finance Company. Hema Malini is endorsing Kent water purifiers when not asking us to pick up loans from Bank of Rajasthan. Govinda is exhorting us to use Navratna herbal hair oil. Shabana Azmi is batting for Surf-Excel detergent powder. Navjot Sidhu is asking us to plug into Luminous inverters and asking us to enrol into Veta English speaking courses, when not making a fool of himself on the Great Indian Laughter Challenge and assorted shows.

No problem with that? The problem is Dharmendra is a Lok Sabha MP from Bikaner. Mrs Dharmendra is a nominated Rajya Sabha member. Govinda represents Bombay Norh-east. Shabana used to be in the upper house till two years ago. And Sidhu represents Amritsar.

Do we elect our MPs for this—to sell us products for a fee; to make money on the side—or do we elect them and underwrite their salaries to make policy? Are they just making good use of their star-power, or are they being plain greedy? And how silly does the office of profit controversy seem in front of this kind of avarice?