Ah what would the mainstream parties not give to enjoy the sort of popularity that comes easily to the 'off stream' ones! Indeed it is a tough job being a mainstreamer and had it not been for the perks that come along with it no sane person would choose such a risky and thankless job. You try to win over people by giving jobs but alas jobs have never been able to keep pace with the population and so for every job given there are ten more wanted but not given. So there you are with one guy (who got the job) on your side and ten (who didn't) venting their bile against you. You try to woo people with roads but the only guy who falls in love with you is the contractor who goes on to lay a road that is more potholes than road. The potholed roads end up making people even more disgruntled so there you are back where you started if not further back.
Now take the 'off-stream' parties; the leaders here have no jobs to provide and they don't lay roads either yet they almost always end up topping the charts. This mystifying phenomenon has always been the envy of the mainstreamers. It should come as no surprise then that the mainstreamers sometimes borrow their lines and cues from the off-streamers. In fact it happens pretty often while the mainstreamers are sitting on the opposition benches. Sometimes it happens when they are in power too. Like in the latest instance the authorities (which is the name mainstreamers go by when in power!) decided to borrow the off-streamers' most potent strategy, the Chalo calls that is. The borrowed strategy hasn't been all that successful till far but then that was to be expected given the limited experience of the authorities with this kind of thing.
School Chalo: Somebody must have told the mainstreamers that 'it is better to catch 'em young' so when the inspiration hit them the authorities started their Chalo programme with the School Chalo call. In fact notwithstanding the poor response to this particular Chalo call it remains a favourite with the authorities and has been oft repeated, rivalling (in frequency at least!) the Lal Chowk Chalo call of the off-streamers. Of course all the while a strict curfew remained in force but that should not have mattered because you see according to unconfirmed sources the authorities had decided that the students' maths books would be treated as curfew passes. The venues were spruced up and decorated as well but the class rooms continued to remain empty. What else would you expect! This Chalo call was destined to be a flop from the very outset. Telling kids to go to the school doesn't exactly make you the most popular guy around, not with the children at least and they being the future generation too! Maybe the strategy was actually aimed at parents rather than at the children. It still failed though, to the utter chagrin of the authorities for once parents and children were found to be on the same page. The kids didn't want to go and in a unique show of solidarity the parents didn't want to send them! Admittedly this parent-child coalition is something unusual but then we live in times of supposedly unusual coalitions. Talking of schools, the summer and winter vacations too seem all set to shake hands and enter into a coalition this year! But then the North pole-South pole embrace was expected to give birth to something unprecedented and there it is.
Office Chalo: Another Chalo call which expectedly had no takers from the general public. Uninspired thinking indeed! For what could be more unpopular than asking government employees to report for work? Even as such trying to make government employees work amounts to human rights violation. What is the fun of having a government job if it means that one actually has to work!
Jail Chalo: It is not as if all Chalo calls by the authorities bombed. Take for instance the Jail Chalo call. It was and continues to be a success more or less. But then it had to be, considering that the authorities put a lot of efforts into making this particular Chalo call a success. The authorities not only provide vehicles so that people will heed this call but actually send their uniformed functionaries to invite and escort them to make it a success. The dedicated functionaries at times knock at the doors (or sometimes in their enthusiasm even knock them down!) at midnight, courteously persuading the young inmates of the houses to follow them. Free food and other facilities are also provided by the authorities to all those who 'heed' this call.
Last but not the least there is this Hospital Chalo call which continues to been fairly successful. Droves of people have been descending upon hospitals after being 'physically convinced' by the authorities…