Shrill campaign: Political heat rises “fatafat” with “mujra,” “machhli” barbs - Hindustan Times
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Shrill campaign: Political heat rises “fatafat” with “mujra,” “machhli” barbs

By, Lucknow
May 31, 2024 06:02 AM IST

The electioneering began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarting the BJP’s poll campaign as early as January 25, 2024 with a public meeting at Bulandshahr

The two-and-a-half-month long campaign for the 2024 Lok Sabha election that ended on Thursday evening sent the political temperature soaring with the use of words like “mujra” (dance), meat and “machhli” (fish), the shrillness appearing to increase as the phases progressed.

Congress and BJP supporters wave flags in a show of strength in Indore India (HT File)
Congress and BJP supporters wave flags in a show of strength in Indore India (HT File)

There was a reference to Mahatma Gandhi, too, in the last days of the campaign.

The electioneering began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarting the BJP’s poll campaign as early as January 25, 2024 with a public meeting at Bulandshahr (western Uttar Pradesh). It gained momentum after the Election Commission of India announced the poll schedule on March 16.

Both the political temperature and atmospheric temperature rose during the course of the campaign. The state capital recorded a maximum temperature of 45.1 degrees Celsius on May 30 against 31-32 degrees Celsius recorded on March 16, when the poll schedule was declared.

Besides Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and other senior BJP leaders also addressed several public meetings and held road shows.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath addressed over 200 public events that included Prabuddh Sammelans and public meetings.

For the INDIA bloc, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were the lead campaigners. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati led her party’s campaign.

The prime minister blew the BJP’s poll bugle formally in Meerut on March 31 as he targeted the Congress for giving away Katchatheevu’ island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP’s ‘400 paar’ (400 plus) slogan and allegations about “attempts” to change the Constitution of India, a purported plan to scrap reservation or transfer the same to the Muslims remained in focus nearly in all the phases.

The word “mujra” was, however, introduced to the poll campaign arena in the last phase after Modi landed a blow on INDIA bloc leaders at Pataliputra in Bihar on Saturday (May 25).

He said the opposition may remain enslaved and perform “mujra” to please the Muslim vote bank.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav strongly responded to the PM’s observations in Maharajganj on Thursday and said the PM appeared to be repeating the “M” words again and again, talking about “mujra, meat, and machhli” (fish).

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, too, counterattacked the PM in Gorakhpur on May 25 for his use of the “mujra” word to target the INDIA bloc and said no prime minister has ever used such terms for Opposition leaders in the history of the country.

PM had earlier targeted RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav when a video showing the RJD leader consuming non-vegetarian food was circulated on social media.

In an interview to a news channel, the PM said no one knew Mahatma Gandhi until a movie was made on him.

He probably referred to the 1982 British biopic on Mahatma Gandhi by Richard Attenborough.

“Mahatma Gandhi was a noble soul of the world. Was it not our responsibility that in these 75 years people in the world know about Gandhi? No one knew about Gandhi. When the Gandhi film was made, for the first time there was curiosity in the world about him,” Modi said.

Rahul Gandhi hit back at the PM, saying those whose views are shaped in the “shakhas” (of the RSS) will not be able to understand Mahatma Gandhi.

At a public meeting at Bansgaon (Uttar Pradesh) rally on Sunday, the PM said, “Samajwadi Party and Congress people are dedicated to vote bank whereas Modi is dedicated to the poor, Dalits and backward people of the country...”

Earlier, other issues that dominated the political discourse in the poll campaign included the women’s “Mangalsutra” or “buffaloes”.

The PM accused the Congress of attempts to take these items away to give the same to the Muslims. Modi also mocked Rahul Gandhi for his “khatakhat” remarks for swift transfer of funds to the people and this was aptly countered by Rahul and Akhilesh with “khatakhat, fatafat and gatagat” remarks.

Earlier at an election rally in Saharanpur on April 6, which went to polls in the first phase on April 19, Modi attacked the INDIA bloc leaders, calling Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav as “Do Ladkon Ki Flop Film” released again. At Shahjahanpur on April 25, he called the two leaders “Do Shehzade” (two princes) who have come together for the politics of appeasement.

Priyanka Gandhi soon countered this by calling the PM “Shahenshah” (emperor) for always being in dirt-free clothes.

Meanwhile, as the campaign ended, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari on Thursday for meditation while the INDIA bloc leaders propose to meet in New Delhi on June 1 to work out their strategy.

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