It is a battle of lions in the hectic assembly poll campaign in Jammu and Kashmir with every party claiming to be the ‘king’ of the political jungle in the Valley: At least, if we go by the slogans chanted during rallies.
“Nakli shera wath vatu daira, asli shera aa gaya (fake lions pack up, the original lion has arrived),” is a common slogan witnessed in the campaign by ruling National Conference, its estranged ally Congress and the main opposition PDP.
Kashmir wildlife does not include lions, but ‘Sher’ is a sobriquet associated with former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and NC founder, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, who is called ‘Sher-e-Kashmir’ or the ‘Lion of Kashmir’, for being at the forefront for taking-up the cause of the downtrodden in the state.
The name of ‘Sher-e-Kashmir’ has been prefixed with a prestigious medical institute in the Valley, an agriculture university, gallantary medals for police, employment scheme and the only cricket ground in the Valley.
While every party has its own share of slogans but it is the ‘Sher’ which is the common thread.
“Walay vasie, asli sher hayy, aaaway (come, my friend. The original lion has come),” sing Kashmiri women folk in traditional ‘rauf’ dance at political rallies.
PDP also invokes ‘sher’ besides its slogans like “Sabzuk Alam chum aaths kyath, aasiy dee taar Parvardighar (The green flag is in my hand and God will help me crossing all hurdles).” The flag of PDP party is green.