In cacophonous poll battle for Bihar, a war of songs erupts
BJP’s famed election machinery hit back with a vengeance,coming out with a series of video packages showcasing the NDA government’s achievements in the stateUpdated: Oct 21, 2020, 16:41 IST
As Bihar gears up to vote in Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday got its Delhi MP and Bhojpuri singer Manoj Tiwari to reprise one of his chartbusters, appealing to voters to retain their trust in the state’s ruling dispensation.
“Suna ho Bihar ke bhaiya”, launched by the party as its new election song, is a straight lift off “Jiya ho Bihar ke lala” - the foot-tapping number from Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Gangs of Wasseypur, which had acquired a cult status upon its release a decade ago.
Incidentally, the composer of the original song, Sneha Khanwalkar, had been roped in by the campaign team of chief minister Nitish Kumar in the 2015 assembly polls when she came out with the catchy “Phir se Nitish Kumar Ho”.
The JD(U) chief had then comfortably returned to power belying naysayers who were skeptical about his coalition with archrival Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) finding resonance with the voters.
Back in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Kumar is now the coalition’s chief ministerial candidate, and in the new song, Tiwari, who has retained the tune as well as the background score of the original number, reminds the voters that he wants them to support the JD(U) chief even as the larger than life persona of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his benevolence towards Bihar seems to be the central theme of the song.
In the nearly eight-minute-long song, Tiwari dwells at length on the progress made by the state under the NDA rule.
He then goes on to add that if someone says in spite of so many accomplishments “Bihar mein ka ba (what does Bihar have to offer)” then the person needs to get eyeglasses checked.
For the politically aware people of Bihar, the insinuation is hard to miss.
Neha Singh Rathore, a bespectacled 20-something from Tiwari’s native district Kaimur, has become an internet sensation with her rap song “Bihar mein kaa ba” where she takes a grim, sardonic view of her home state. She claims a lot remains to be done despite a decade-and-a-half of sushasan (good governance).
Manoj Bajpayee’s rap number “Mumbai mein kaa baa”, released recently to much acclaim, had inspired Rathore, who keeps a low profile and reaches out to viewers and listeners through songs which she self-records on her smartphone and uploads on social media.
A self-styled cultural activist who wants to pull Bhojpuri music out of the slush of sleaze, Rathore likes to make a political point without caring much for party affiliations.
After “Bihar mein ka ba” became a hit on social media platforms earlier this month, the RJD-led opposition, eager to fish in NDA’s troubled waters following the rebellion by Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan, lapped up the song to use it to score brownie points against the ruling coalition.
Paswan has been bitterly criticising Nitish Kumar over a host of issues including alleged corruption and lack of development.
The BJP’s famed election machinery hit back with a vengeance, coming out with a series of video packages showcasing the NDA government’s achievements in the state with the tagline “Bihar mein ee ba (this is what Bihar has to offer)”.
Recently, another upcoming folk singer from Bihar, Maithili Thakur, who croons in her eponymous native language, sought to lampoon the “kaa ba” refrain of Rathore, whom she did not mention by name, and sung paeans to the state’s rich cultural heritage.
It is being speculated that Thakur, with no apparent political inclinations, had been approached by the saffron party. Rathore seems to be taking it all on the chin, though.
Unfazed by the attacks, she has come out with yet another song that gets close to the bone of NDA backers.
“Rozgar deba ki karba drama, kursi tohar baap ken na ha (will you do something for job creation or simply indulge in antics. Remember, your seat of power is not dynastic),” says Rathore in the song which she says reflects the mood of the state’s youth. It, however, remains to be seen how the new song impacts the electoral outcome.