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Rock or rap, votes go for a song in music-mad Mizoram

Poll time is money-making time for singers who have no qualms about performing for any party that pays.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2003 02:28 IST

Music knows no barrier. It knows no party either. Rock stars, hip-hoppers, rappers, jazzers, pop stars and gospel artistes are perhaps the busiest people in music-mad Mizoram. Never more busy than during elections.

Poll time is money-making time for bands and individuals who have no qualms about performing for any party that pays. So it’s not surprising if the same artiste performs for the Congress in the morning, for the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) in the afternoon and for the MPC-ZNP alliance in the evening.

The crowd starts milling around as Vanlalsailova, the hottest new name on Mizoram's music scene, belts out some local hits, which glorify the state and its people, at a busy marketplace here. None of his songs, however, eulogise the MNF, the party that hired his services for the Champhai constituency.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga is the MNF's candidate in Champhai, having already won the seat four times since 1987. He is pitted against former CM Lal Thanhawla, the Congress top draw and C. Thankhuma of the ZNP.

According to C. Dinthanga, a talent-spotter who discovered Vanlalsailova a year back, the pop star had sung for the Congress in several western Mizoram constituencies as well as for the MPC at Kolasib before taking up the MNF assignment.

Vanlalsailova is not alone. Rock stars and folk singers like Lalngenpuii Tochhawng, Joseph Zaihmingthanga and Vincy Chhangte are pulling the crowds for candidates for prices ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000.

There are some exceptions like gospel singer Liandingpuii, for whom “it's not a question of money”. She is “partial” to Tlanghmingthanga, the state home minister.

But what do the parties do when the effect of the singers wears off after they leave the stage? They play their own music on tapes to hold the people's interest.

The Zoram National Party has brought out an album with songs that talk about how it would make Mizoram a Utopia for the peasants. Its ally, the MPC, has a 13-song album entitled Bawhar Khuan Mawiber, which translates into "When the cock crows beautifully…"

The Congress too has brought out an album with a dozen songs by a top star.

First Published: Nov 19, 2003 01:40 IST