The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 2 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Away from campaign heat, MPs get a poll polish

New Delhi, April 1: If Balinese hot oil doesn’t do it, surely Swedish massage will? And in the season of the body politic, can “body polishing” be far behind?

India’s “overworked” politicians have been trying to beat election stress by making a beeline for Zero Hour, the salon-cum-spa at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi.

On offer is a tempting list of therapies: body polishing, crème massage, aromatherapy massage, aromatic facials, Balinese hot-oil rejuvenating treatment, Swedish massage….

“Parliamentarians from across parties have been frequenting us to rejuvenate themselves. They mostly complain of body aches and mental fatigue from the long hours of campaigning in the heat,” a Zero Hour official said.

“Because of the rise in footfall, especially during weekends, we have now requested them to book in advance over the phone.”

(From top) Kanimozhi, Rajeev Pratap Rudy, Supriya Sule

Although the Constitution Club is reserved for current and former MPs and their families, the spa is open to anyone who comes with a reference from an MP.

“Many local politicians too are using the facility, leading to the rush,” the spa official said.

BJP Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Pratap Rudy, the honorary secretary of the Constitution Club, said MPs preferred Zero Hour to other salons or spas because of the privacy it offers.

“Privacy is the key — that’s why MPs don’t think twice before enjoying the facilities here,” he said.

Initially reluctant to name anyone, Rudy eventually said that several women MPs — such as Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule, the DMK’s Kanimozhi and the Congress MP from Bengal, Mausam Noor — were regulars at the spa. BJP member Maneka Gandhi too frequents Zero Hour, “but only for haircuts and hair-dyeing”.

Among the male clients Rudy named were Congress Lok Sabha member Bhakta Charan Das and Rajya Sabha MP Avinash Pandey. Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who is not an MP, too is a frequent visitor.

Most of the therapies cost between Rs 800 and Rs 1,000. The staff are well-trained and have been hired from a five-star hotel, Rudy said.

A spa source said that many MPs preferred a massage, especially body polishing, to add glow to their skin.

“Our spa experts first scrub the body with oil and then massage it with hot aromatic oil. It takes three hours and adds glow and shine to the skin,” the source said.

Also on offer are bleaching, manicure, pedicure, haircuts, a shave, blow-drying, hot-oil hair care — even moustache trimming.

Spa officials said they had been “asked strictly not to disclose names”.

Among the regulars at the Constitution Club’s gym are BJP member Prakash Javadekar, Congress MP Ajay Maken and wife Radhika, Congress member Sandeep Dikshit and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen member Asaduddin Owaisi, who is from Hyderabad.

Rudy said he himself rarely visited the spa, preferring to work out at the gym, instead.

The Constitution Club “is not only about massages but helps MPs from across parties and their families to bond”, Rudy added.

A Constitution Club employee said it had been a pleasant surprise to see the bonhomie among MPs from rival parties at the spa.

“They have been attacking each other during the election campaign but here they focus more on their body than lung power,” he said.