From describing a rival formation as ‘rakshas sena, an army of demons, to comparing a senior politician to Putana, a villainous figure in Hindu mythology, poll-speak in Bihar’s new electoral season has been acrimonious, to put it mildly.
“Prices of oil are coming down just as pulses’ are going through the roof. Are the people now expected to eat oil instead of dal (lentil)?” wondered RJD chief Lalu Prasad at a media interface on September 22.
At another point, Lalu described the ensuing poll as a battle between the ‘dev sena’ (army of gods), that was the RJD-JD(U)-Congress grand alliance, and the ‘rakshas sena’ (army of demons), that was the BJP-led NDA.
A reptile species made it to the electoral lexicon on Tuesday when Lalu warned that those who had questioned caste-based job reservation had “put their fingers in the lair of ajgar (python) and had to face the consequences”. BJP Buxar MP Ashwini Chaubey earlier took personal attacks to a new low when he allegedly described Congress president Sonia Gandhi as the demonic mythical character Putana, sent by the evil king Kansa to poison Krishna.
Chaubey also called party vice-president Rahul Gandhi a parrot, for attacking the BJP on scripted lines. Not stopping at that, he alluded to Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar as the criminal duo Billa-Ranga, convicted and hanged for the 1978 murder of New Delhi siblings Sanjay and Geeta Chopra.
At his September 19 Champaran rally, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi described PM Narendra Modi as a ‘feku’, a colloquial term used to describe one who had not kept his promises. “With the eclipse of ideology, poll rhetoric has turned into a personal slanging match. The acrimony seems to indicate the main players see it as a touch and go election,” said Shaibal Gupta of Patna-based Asian development Research Institute.
Added DM Diwakar, former director of AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies: “Among other things, the name calling suggests the main protagonists are moving away from the development agenda in a bid to preserve their traditional vote banks.”
Full Coverage: Battle for Bihar