During the Monsoon sessions at the Indian Parliament, where MPs were debating over price hikes of various goods and rising inflation, Lok Sabha member and Trinomial Congress Party member Mahua Moitra was caught on camera ‘hiding’ her Louis Vuitton bag.
In the video, it can be seen, that while MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, also affiliated with TMC, was raising her voice against the rising prices and inflation, Mahua Moitra duly took her bag and placed it under the table.
The video went viral in no time, and many people expressed that the video painted a picture of hypocrisy. In response to being trolled for her expensive bag, Moitra later tweeted, “Jholewala fakir in Parliament from 2019. Jhola leke aye the... jhola leke chal padenge... (Came with a bag, will leave with it)," which is a remark similar to that made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a rally in 2016. Along with the caption, she also shared a collage in which Moitra can be seen carrying the same bag with her on multiple occasions.
Can Politicians Not Use Their Expensive Belongings?
I personally don’t feel that a politician purchasing and utilising expensive products is a sign of hypocrisy, or I would even say wrong, as long as the product is purchased with legal earnings. Just because someone chose politics- a field that is associated with public service, doesn't mean they don't have the right to purchase what they want with their hard earned money.
Also, why is it that when women politicians are seen using expensive purses etc., everyone creates such a ruckus, but costly belongings of male politicians are conveniently ignored? Where is the noise of over expensive cars, shirts or watches that are worn with pride by male politicians? Why are they not trolled or called hypocrites for "splurging" money? Is it only a splurge when a woman buys something special for herself?
Why should politicians not be allowed to exhibit their extravagant belongings, when it is considered normal for any ‘not-so-famous’ rich or well-off person?
Another point of view can be, if politicians are comfortable in showing their expensive possessions in public, it reflects that they are portraying their true selves. They are not hiding their purchases or projecting a false image of living a "humble" life, but then carrying on with extravagant living far away from public eyes.
Every hard-working person, who earns their money legitimately, feels like they deserve to pamper themselves with luxury products every now and then. And when most of us buy something expensive, we carry it with us practically everywhere. As Moitra pointed it out in her tweet, the bag in question has been with her for a long time, so its not as if she is walking into the Parliament with a new branded bag everyday. Can this even be called flaunting your wealth? Isn't this something that most of us do?
If we want our leaders to be transparent, then we have to accommodate the fact that most of them are well earning members of the society and have a certain amount of wealth. While they must not rub the disparity in our faces, or accumulate money by unfair means, it doesn't hurt to browse through their LV bags and branded shirts with a pinch of salt.
Views expressed are the author's own.