Vitriolic slogans, sarcastic songs go viral in poll-bound Bengal

  • On Tuesday, former forest minister Rajib Banerjee, who joined the BJP at Amit Shah’s Delhi residence on January 30, raised eyebrows by dishing out his adaptation of the chief minister’s most popular slogan on the eve of the historic 2011 assembly polls that ended the Left’s 34-year-long regime.
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari addresses during a public rally, at Midnapore College Ground in Paschim Medinipur on Saturday(ANI photo)
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari addresses during a public rally, at Midnapore College Ground in Paschim Medinipur on Saturday(ANI photo)
Published on Feb 03, 2021 11:15 PM IST
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Be it vitriolic slogans comprising only a couple of words or complete sentences or songs composed with sarcastic lyrics, the rising political tension in poll-bound West Bengal is being marked by myriad expressions, some of which have gone viral.

Soon after joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on December 19, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee’s aide-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari picked up the most sacred chant of the Vaishnav community and turned it into his signature slogan.

“Hare Krishna Hare Hare, BJP ghare ghare,” shouted Adhikari at his first rally as BJP leader, implying that his party had entered every home with the holy chant that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the 15th century Hindu saint had composed for disciples of Lord Krishna.

“Sri Chaitanya spread the message of universal love, hence this slogan. We are paying homage to Purushottam Ram and Sri Chaitanya at the same time,” Adhikari explained at the rally in East Midnapore, his home turf. The slogan has become so popular that these days he only chants “Hare Krishna Hare Hare” and the crowds complete the sentence.

Not willing to be quoted, some TMC leaders admit in private that in the districts Adhikari’s catchy lines have become almost as popular as the one the ruling party’s students’ wing raised before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when Banerjee was projected as a contender for the Prime Minister’s chair.

The TMC slogan, “Delhi jabe Hawaii choti,” implied that Banerjee’s signature blue and white sandals would go to Delhi. It went viral and led to counter slogans from the CPI (M)’s youth wing. The slogan, however, lost relevance once the BJP returned to power with a thumping majority.

This year, TMC’s Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal, a mass organiser known for triggering debates with almost anything he utters, is making news with just two words: “khela hobe” or let's play.

The slogan Mondal raised at a rally in Birbhum on January 31 is being heard everywhere, be it picnics by college students or TMC rallies. On Tuesday, it was heard at a roadshow of TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee in the southern fringes of Kolkata. The BJP has alleged that “play,” hints at poll violence since Mondal has spoken of using force against the opposition several times in the past.

“Slogans being raised at TMC rallies are unhealthy for a democratic setup. At Chatterjee’s rally, a slogan was also raised against BJP state president Dilip Ghosh. It talked of attacking him,” said Samik Bhattacharya, Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson. The viral slogan he referred to talks of skinning Ghosh.

“Our party does not subscribe to such slogans. We do not support these,” Chatterjee said in reaction to the allegation.

Nachiketa Chakraborty, a very popular singer and composer of modern Bengali songs and who is known to be close to Mamata Banerjee, raised a storm on social media on Monday by singing one of his compositions that target political turncoats. He was performing at a cultural event held by the Burdwan town municipality in East Burdwan district where the local Lok Sabha MP joined the BJP alongside Adhikari.

A video, showing the singer stopping in the middle of the song and mouthing an invective while explaining the context, has gone viral.

On January 19, a year after Union minister Anurag Thakur triggered strong reactions by raising the Hindi slogan, “Desh ki gaddaron ko, goli maaro…” (Shoot the traitors in India), the same slogan, with the word India replaced by “Bangal” (Bengal in Hindi), was heard from a section of the crowd who took part in a TMC roadshow in south Kolkata. The ruling party quickly distanced itself from the slogan, calling its chanting “uncalled for”.

However, the very next day, Thakur’s original slogan was heard at a BJP roadshow at Chandannagar in Hooghly district and three party workers were arrested.

On Tuesday, former forest minister Rajib Banerjee, who joined the BJP at Union home minister’s Amit Shah’s Delhi residence on January 30, raised eyebrows by dishing out his adaptation of the chief minister’s most popular slogan on the eve of the historic 2011 assembly polls that ended the Left’s 34-year-long regime.

“Chup chap padde chhap” (silently vote for the lotus), Rajib Banerjee said at a rally in Baruipur in South 24 Parganas district.

In 2011, the TMC’s most popular slogan was “chup chap phule chhap” or, silently vote for the flower, the TMC’s election symbol.

Kolkata-based economics professor and political commentator Sarthak Roychowdhury said, “These slogans are the only entertainment the polls can offer. The rest is just a horror story.”


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Tuesday, December 07, 2021