When 'Babu beat Bobby'

Political parties have been known to resorts to all sorts of ways to prevent their rivals from getting an upper hand. But they don't always succeed. As was evident from the late Babu Jagjivan Ram's rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi.

The year was 1977, and the Janata Dal leader was slated to address the rally on a Sunday. It is often claimed that in order to ensure low turnout at the rally, the Congress got Doordarshan to telecast Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia-starrer Bobby as its Sunday evening film.

Released just some time ago, Bobby had become a runaway hit, thanks to its teenybopper romance, and would have definitely garnered a lot of views on Doordarshan, the only news channel in the country back then. Detractors of Indira Gandhi allege that that was why it was shown as the Sunday evening film, a weekly fixture that lakhs, even crores, of Indians would wait eagerly for.

The screening did not have much of an effect on the rally, which saw overwhelming attendance, leading a newspaper to report it with the headline “Babu beats Bobby”.Indira Gandhi is said to have finally sort of scored over the former defence minister, also a powerful dalit leader, thanks to the photos of his son caught pants down, literally, being published in a magazine whose editor was none other than Maneka Gandhi!

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