After a six-day trade visit to secure jobs in London, Boris is still best known in India for hanging from THAT zipwireLondon Mayor Boris Johnson joined in a game of 23-a-side football with children from the slums of MumbaiHe visited to see the work of charity Magic Bus, which was set up by a British organisation
Matt Chorley and Steve Nolan
06:40 GMT, 30 November 2012
17:20 GMT, 30 November 2012
He is supposed to be drumming up major foreign investment for London. But after a six-day photo-opportunity packed tour across India, Boris Johnson is still best known as the man who got stuck on a zipwire, according to one of the country’s top talk show hosts.
Many people in India have not recognised the mop-haired Mayor at all, and some have mistaken him for tennis star Boris Becker and even the King of England.
But chat show host Arnab Goswami – dubbed India’s answer to David Letterman claims millions of Indians do know Mr Johnson for his high wire antics during the London Olympics.
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Boris Johnson has used a six-day trade visit to drum up publicity for London, playing cricket on Juhu beach with Mumbai school boys, taking part in a football game, meeting Bollywood film directors and appearing on one of India's biggest chat shows
Mr Johnson ended up dangling from a zipwire in London's Victoria Park in August when a publicity stunt at a public viewing area for the Olympic Games went awry leaving him stranded some 15 feet off the ground
‘Our viewers certainly know who Boris Johnson is because of the Olympics and that memorable moment when he was dangling on a rope, which made headlines all over the place,’ Mr Goswani told reporters.
‘I think that Mr Johnson is an up-and-coming politician. Everyone in India saw the Olympics so they are interested in him personally. Many people in India believe that Boris Johnson is going to go on to greater things.’
But when the London Mayor appeared on his TV show, he played down talk of one day making a bid for Number 10.
‘I can assure that is about as likely as me being decapitated by a frizbee,’ he said.
Mr Johnson also revealed how, when stuck on the zipwire while promoting the 2012 Games, he looked in vain to his special branch protection officer for help.
‘They gave me a security guard during the Olympics. He normally guards Tony Blair but I was given a security guard during the Olympics. I spotted him the crowd and I said: “Carl, can you do something”
‘Very slowly he reached in to his pocket and took out his mobile phone and took a photograph. That was his contribution to my predicament.’
Tough talk: London mayor Boris Johnson talks to India's equivalent of David Letterman, Arnab Goswami
Earlier Mr Johnson used a trip to the Bombay Stock Exchange to urge George Osborne to consider cutting the top rate of tax.
The London Mayor compared the coalition’s 45 per cent tax rate for highest earners to the 30 per cent paid in India and said the Chancellor should ‘brood on’ whether Britain could be made more attractive for entrepreneurs .
He has spent almost a week on the sub-continent wooing playing football, cricket riding a bicycle and joking about his Bollywood dancing. Labour said he should be focussing on jobs.
Take the bull by the horns: London Mayor Boris Johnson poses with a bronze replica of a bull during his visit to the Bombay Stock Exchange
Making his point: Boris Johnson speaks during his visit at the Bombay Stock Exchange
The Mayor has insisted his trip is crucial to attracting more investment in London.
Today he met Mumbai-based businessmen
who suggested the UK capital could lure more trade through lower rates
of tax and less regulation.
Speaking at the Bombay Stock Exchange Mr Johnson claimed the tax regime ‘needed to be looked at’.
He added: ‘You've got tax rates here
of only 30 per cent – a point George Osborne might like to brood on.
It's 10 per cent for freelance income, and of course you have a market
of about 600 million people under 25.’
Skilful: London Mayor Boris Johnson shows off his sporting prowess by joining in a game of football with slum children in Mumbai
Sporting: The children were more interested in the sporting equipment on offer than the presence of either Mr Johnson, right, or England cricketer Kevin Pieterson
Charity: Mr Johnson, pictured playing with a cricket bat and ball, right, and with cricketer Kevin Pieterson (back right) and rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio (back left) left, took time out from his six day tour of India to see the work of the Magic Bus project
He later told reporters: ‘One
businessman said to me this morning that he loved London, he loved the
quality of life in London. There are so many attractions of living in
London that you can't find anywhere else. That is a very high card.
‘But another businessman asked about
making London more attractive in terms of tax and regulation and
certainly the tax regime. As I have said many times before, that needs
to be looked at.’
Mr Johnson also posed with a bull statue at the exchanges' main entrance, gripping its horns as if he was a rodeo rider desperately clinging on.
Goal: Boris Johnson plays football with Lawrence Dallaglio, centre, and Mumbai children
Charity: Boris visited the Magic Bus project, which uses sport to engage children on the edges of society in education and improving life skills
attracted huge media attention during his visit, but faced claims from
the Labour party that he should have made trade trips during his first
term as London Mayor.
Labour source said: ‘Boris should spend less time on Bollywood dancing,
cricket and football and more time meeting Indian business people.
Taxpayers wanting getting jobs not on a glorified jolly.’
Mr Johnson might not be a seasoned sportsman –
despite being mistaken for Tennis legend Boris Becker during his trip
of India – but he was able to show off his
prowess on the football field yesterday as he joined in a game of
23-a-side in the Mumbai slums.
Never one to find himself on the
sidelines, the London Mayor donned a charity T shirt and played football
with children from the Magic Bus project, an enterprise ran by a
now Mr Johnson had enjoyed the royal treatment on his six day tour of
the subcontinent and had been welcomed by everyone from Bollywood film
producers to state governors.
Line-up: Boris Johnson, back centre, with Lawrence Dallaglio, back left, Kevin Pieterson and slum children from Mumbai
Helping: Kevin Pieterson, left, spent time with the Magic Bus children and watched as Boris Johnson gave the youngsters some coaching
the mayor took the afternoon off to meet some of the city's poorest
children when he visited Mumbai's port slum, where the average monthly
wage is just 25, untreated sewage flows through the streets and there
is no running water or electricity.
two years ago, the field where the children played was covered in
'defecation and broken glass' according to one cameraman who had visited
and had to dodge puddles of sewage while the children ran in bare feet.
there was grass and the children – who would otherwise have been out
gathering rubbish from the dumps surrounding their homes so their
parents could sell the scraps – were able to play freely.
by the presence of Mr Johnson, England cricketer Kevin Pieterson or
Rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio, the children rushed to grab
cricket equipment from the trio.
Joining the youngsters for a game of
football afterwards, Mr Johnson said that the children had 'zap' after
being hit repeatedly as the group kicked footballs at each other.
journalists asked the mayor about his favourite sports. Cricket, tick.
Football, tick. But they had no idea about Eton’s Wall Game and Mr
Johnson quickly realised it was best not to try to explain.
It was then time for a round of the hokey-cokey, with what appeared to be some Maori dance moves led by Dallaglio.
By that stage, the mayor’s convoy was moving on. Back through the slum and to Mumbai’s five-star Taj Mahal hotel.
VIDEO: Boris for England London Mayor joins kids for cricket and football…