Poll lyrics: Tune Chaiti, (over)tone political
Moving on the dusty roads and lanes for garnering votes seems to be a passé among political leaders here. It’s the unconventional way of campaigning, which seem to have caught their fancies these days. Chaiti songs, a popular source of entertainment in the region, best suits their purpose. Night-long sessions of such numbers are being organised in various parts of the state capital by different political parties. Though the tune of the numbers is traditional, the words have political overtones.
Attacks and counter-attacks through songs are targeted at the politicians, setting aside all the rules and guidelines of the Election Commission. Advertisements violating morality or aimed at mudslinging may have been banned but the uncensored ‘desi’ numbers seem to be beyond the jurisdiction of the EC.
One of the most popular numbers to have hit the poll season is, “Hazaron saal pehley bhai se badhakey saar thaa; Swarg sasural thaa; Aaj bhi hai aur kal bhi rahega” a parody of a Bollywood hit of 60’s. Justifying the logic behind the song, Shambhu Vyas, who penned the lines, said there is a similarity between the conditions prevailing in ancient times and the contemporary political scene in the state. The other hit numbers include, “Laloojijaisan neta desh ke ratanwa, ei rama’, ‘Ramkripal Babu jaisan neta sapoot insan chahi na; Bharat mata ke aisan iman chahi na’ sung in high pitch by approximately 75 members of the chaiti group.
Political parties seem to be taking advantage of such unofficial, informal publicity programmes, which appear more like a roadshow than a chaiti session. Though the session is hardly attended by any top leader of the party, there are enough men in khadi on the scene. “Chaiti is the traditional source of entertainment during this season. Since it is poll season this time, songs have been especially written to highlight the achievements of the party leaders,” said Pappu Yadav, a RJD member and organiser of a Chaiti session at the Dakbungalow crossing. Asked whether it was a part of the party’s campaign, he said it was aimed at creating awareness among people about achievements of the party leaders.
Political parties are spending around Rs 50,000 to 75,000 on such events. “Approximately Rs 50,000 is being spent on this event. Each Chaiti team has been paid Rs 9,000,” said Pappu Yadav. The participants had come all the way from Vaishali and the organisers had footed their hotel and food bills, he added.
Party loyalists are busy organising such events. And the folk singers are obliging them with their high-pitched numbers like “BJP, Samata, Congress sab key geli jaan; RJD dal ab hum na chhorab, Lalten chhap nishan, rame ram seetaram”, and “Sapnasakar bhail hamani key, sundar Hindustan; Jabsey Atal Bihari Vajpayee banaley pradhan”. Of course, leaders like RJD national president, Laloo Prasad Yadav, RJD candidate for Patna seat Ramkripal Yadav, prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LJP leader, Ramvilas Paswan and several others are the ‘stars’ of the numbers.
But the RJD is the front-runner in the race. “Lalooji is undoubtedly the unrivalled hero of the songs. In fact, most of the Chaita sessions are organised by RJD men,” said Lakshaman Vyas, singer of another team from Vaishali. There is a kind of competition among the participating teams to try and highlight their netaji in the best manner possible to bag an award, he added.
Isn’t the Chaiti contest more like the Lok Sabha election? In both the events, the people decide the fate of the participants. While the winner of the Chaiti contests have more or less been decided, bigwigs of the political arena have to wait till the voters give their final verdict.
In sync with poll season
Purpose: Highlight achievements of political parties and downplay rival candidates
Sponsors: Party activists
Expense: Rs 9,000 per team plus food and lodging
Hit numbers: (Pro-RJD) Lalooji jaisan neta desh ke ratanwa
(Pro-BJP) Sapna sakar bhail hamani key, sundar Hindustan; Jabsey Atal Bihari Vajpayee banley pradhan
Most popular song: Hazaron saal pehley bhai se badhakey saar thaa; Swarg sasural thaa; Aaj bhi hai aur kal bhi rahega
Stars of the songs: RJD national president, Laloo Prasad Yadav, RJD candidate for Patna seat Ramkripal Yadav, prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LJP leader Ramvilas Paswan