Power Dressing: How netas walk the talk with their wadrobe

first_imgPower Dressing: How netas walk the talk with their wadrobeHow the election wardrobe of politicians showcases their ideologyadvertisement Next Chinki Sinha New Delhi April 26, 2019 ISSUE DATE: May 6, 2019UPDATED: April 28, 2019 08:00 IST Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s half-sleeved kurtas and well-groomed appearance give the impression of a man who knows his mind and likes order in everything he does (Photo: Vikram Sharma)Clothes have long been visual shorthand for netas to communicate their politics. So, if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s half-sleeved kurtas and well-groomed appearance give the impression of a man who knows his mind and likes order in everything he does, his primary political opponent, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, portrays aClothes have long been visual shorthand for netas to communicate their politics. So, if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s half-sleeved kurtas and well-groomed appearance give the impression of a man who knows his mind and likes order in everything he does, his primary political opponent, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, portrays a youthful image in his kurta-pyjama and sneakers.Sister Priyanka evokes the image of her grandmother, Indira Gandhi, with her short, wavy hair and brightly coloured cotton handloom saris. Matching her sari for sari is textiles minister Smriti Irani. West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, on the other hand, is a picture of austerity in a white sari with coloured borders, a dress code she stuck to even at the recent wedding in the Ambani household.BSP supremo Mayawati eschews the sari altogether, opting instead for the casual salwar-kameez, in her favorite colour, pink. In the south, politicians keep it simple: white shirt with white veshti. ‘I AM EVERYONE’ Narendra Modi Prime Minister of India Campaigning for the BJP (Photo: Vikram Sharma)No one knows the import of power dressing better than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. From successfully co-opting the Nehru jacket and making it the Modi vest’, as South Korean president Moon Jaei-in called it in a tweet, to launching the half-sleeved Modi kurta’, the prime minister has given the world of political fashion much to talk about.He carries the same aesthetic to the campaign trail, opting for muted, pastel-shaded kurtas, and teaming them up with elaborate headgear or colourful scarves, following in the tradition of political leaders wearing the attire of the places they visit. If he wore the japi hat while campaigning in Odisha, in Pune, he traded it for an elaborate pagdi.advertisementHe has also been known to sportBvlgari spectacle frames, Movado watches and Mont Blanc pens. The last may have been replaced with a lotus cutout. With no place for the Nehruvian pocket rose, the PM chose to carry it in his hand in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Yoot Icon Rahul Gandhi President, Congress Campaigning for the INC (Photo: ANI)The scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family keeps his look youthful and his attire casual. He is mindful of the party’s and his family’s legacy of khadi and can, therefore, be seen most often in a white kurta pyjama in his political appearances, but then he’ll pair it with no-nonsense sneakers. The rolled-up sleeves show he means business.At Chennai’s Stella Maris College in March, Rahul was seen wearing a grey polo T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, a look that would easily resonate with the young millennial audience that he was addressing. Gone also is the scruffy, unshaved look he was sporting a while back. It’s as if the 48-year-old leader of the Congress has realised the importance of a well-groomed look to take on rivals. Daughter of the EastPriyanka Gandhi General Secretary In-charge, East UP Campaigning for the Congress (Photo: SANJAY KANOJ IA/ Getty Images)A few days before she was assassinated, Indira Gandhi, while walking on the lawns of the Nehru guest house in Srinagar, reportedly told a close aide that she saw herself in Priyanka. It’s a likeness her grand-daughter uses to good effect on the campaign trail. Priyanka, says Nandita Abraham, CEO, Pearl Academy of Fashion, Delhi, understands the psychology of clothing. Be it a crisp white shirt with black trousers that resonate with Delhi’s cosmopolitan crowd, or a handloom saree when she’s with the people she is serving, the look is carefully crafted. The handloom sarees are reminders both of her Indianness and of her likeness to her grandmother. It’s not unusual then to find the 47-year-old Priyanka draped in colour-blocked cotton sarees with contrast borders, whether accompanying mum Sonia in Rae Bareli, brother Rahul in Amethi or while campaigning in Ghaziabad. In Varanasi, she accessorised a striped cotton handloom with rudraksh beads. Power of Pink: Mayawati, President, Bahujan Samaj Party, former Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh Campaigning for the BSP (Photo: Virendra Singh Gosain / Getty Images)Mayawati’s purse is an inalienable part of her personality, refusing to leave her side even in her statues. It is more than a mere accessory, it is a statement of power, assertion, an appropriation of a privilege that was once the preserve of the elite.Ditto for the memsaab’ bob cut and the diamond earrings. The conspicuous markers of privilege and comfort are arguably regarded as emblems of collective pride by her Dalit following.The Mayawati handbag has gone missing this election campaign. What hasn’t is the 63-year-old BSP supremo’s love of pink or of masculine watches. Seen here at an election rally in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, on April 8, in a salmon-coloured salwar-kameez.advertisement JUST A COMMON MAN: Arvind Kejriwal Chief Minister, Delhi; Convenor, Aam Aadmi Party Campaigning for AAP (Photo: Debajyoti Chakra borty/Getty Images)Like the aam aadmi he represents, Arvind Kejriwal dresses mostly in polyester shirts and trousers. According to Delhi-based celebrity fashion designer Rajesh Pratap Singh, it is a non-threatening look. Compare it to the white kurta pyjama which, like the white Ambassador, has become a symbol of corruption more than honesty. AAP has famously resurrected the upturned boat-shaped Gandhi topi and made it a marker of its identity with the AAP name and poll symbol, a broom, printed on it. Both cap and the men it fits best made an appearance at a poll rally in Delhi Cantonment on April 1. White Knight: Stalin, President, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Campaigning for the DMK (Photo: Jaisong)Simplicity is the hallmark of the south Indian politician. A white shirt with a white veshti is good for most occasions. Even kasavu, or gold, is forsaken, lest it show the politician as an elitist. When the 66-year-old DMK chief strayed from the sartorial scriptwearing shirts in pastel coloursit was frowned upon. Back it was to white shirt and veshti, as during this stopover at Thiruvarur in March. Ma, Mati, Mamata: Mamata Banerjee Chief Minister, West Bengal; President, Trinamool Campaigning for the TMC (Photo: Debajyoti Chakra borty/Getty Images)Didi shuns ostentation as though it were a disease. The white cotton saree with a blue border she’s wearing in this April 10 rally is almost Mother Teresa-esque in its impression of selflessness and austerity. The colours of the border change, but not the stark whiteness of Mamata’s saree, or the rubber chappals. There’s a rare concession she has made in this picture, though. She is wearing the party coloursyellow and green in a gamcha. All else remains the same. Saffron Weft: Smriti Irani Union Minister for Textiles Campaigning for the BJP (Photo: Jaisong)The BJP leader has been consistent in her espousal of the cause of the sari, launching, as the Union minister for textiles, a social media campaign hashtagged #Iwearhandloom in 2016. Seen here in a green and purple weave while campaigning for NDA candidates in Chennai on April 14. King of Amaravati: Chandrababu Naidu Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh; President, Telugu Desam Party Campaigning for the TDP (Photo: Kasif/ Mail Today)Seen mostly in trousers and shirt combinations in white, yellow or cream, Naidu broke with tradition this February when he and his cabinet colleagues wore black shirts to the legislature in protest against the Centre’s refusal to grant Andhra special category status. The aberration apart, Naidu was back in functional attire while campaigning for the JD(S) in Mandya, Karnataka, on April 15. My Name Is Red: Akhilesh Yadav President, Samajwadi Party; Former Chief Minister, UP Campaigning for the SP (Photo: Vikram Sharma)The 45-year-old SP leader is pretty conservative in his choice of campaign clothes, opting mostly for short kurtas and pyjamas in white, coupled with a sleeveless black jacket. However, even as he fights the election in alliance with a former enemy, the BSP, he has chosen to retain the old socialist symbol of the red khadi Lohia topi. He did give it a trendy, sporty, youthful twist in 2012, signalling a shift from the party’s Luddite image, but has since gone back to the original, as is evident in this appearance at the gathbandhan rally in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, on April 7.advertisementYou’ve reached your article limitSign in to keep reading India TodaySign inSign up NOW to get:Premium content on Aaj Tak HD ChannelUnrestricted access to India Today magazine contentGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byShreya Sinha Tags :Follow Power Dressinglast_img read more

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