With Lok Sabha Elections around, Holi set for a splash of political hues
Major political parties are advising their leaders and cadre to use the occasion to blend with the masses on Holi to garner maximum support during electionsUpdated: Mar 20, 2019 14:20 IST
The coinciding of Holi with the election season virtually means the extension of poll campaigning as ‘netas’ hope to woo the voters with ‘gujhiyas’ and colors without inviting the wrath of the Election Commission.
Most major political parties are advising their leaders and cadre to use the occasion to blend with the masses.
“This year, all leaders from political parties would be freely accessible as this is their best chance to leave an impression on the people. Be it the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi Party (SP) or the Congress, all would follow the unwritten code of leaders mingling with the masses,” a senior UP minister said.
Even otherwise, Holi is an occasion when the commoners catch politicians “red handed” and none seems to mind.
THE HOLI SPIRIT
Top leaders, governors, chief ministers, ministers and opposition leaders whom HT spoke to admitted they would soak in the festive spirit unmindful of ‘abeer’ and ‘gulal’ breaching the security cordons of even those with ‘Z’ and ‘Z plus’ security.
While chief minister Yogi Adityanath would travel in an open jeep in Gorakhpur as people would shower flowers and colours on him, his ministers would be in their homes to get drenched in the Holi spirit.
Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya recently participated in the traditional Holi played in Braj region while the residence of deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma overflows with guests on the day.
UP’s energy minister Shrikant Sharma is going to be in his hometown Mathura while ministers Ashutosh Tandon, Brajesh Pathak and Mahendra Singh will be in Lucknow.
Finance minister Rajesh Agarwal will enjoy the festival by taking people in the traditional Holi embrace though he won’t play with colours.
“A freak accident some 10 years ago led to a severe damage to my eye. Since then I am extra cautious. But yes, I meet one and all at my place in Bareilly,” he said.
UP government’s lone Muslim face Mohsin Raza is also preparing for the festival. Holi this year coincides with Navroz which is celebrated by Shias who also play with colors on the day. Raza is a Shia and is expected to join the celebrations.
THE SAMAJWADI HOLI
Despite family differences, the Yadav clan traditionally unites on Holi. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and other members are going to be in Saifai, the family village in Etawah.
“Last time, Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav was also there and both had met on the festival. This time we expect a united family,” a Samajwadi Party leader said.
SP-BSP CADRE TO PLAY HOLI TOGETHER
A senior SP leader said with alliance in place, the cadres of the two parties, busy participating in booth level meets, would also play Holi together by visiting each other’s homes and playing colours.
PRIYANKA GANDHI AT ASSI GHAT
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, who is busy wooing east UP electorate through her novel river journey, will be in Varanasi’s Assi ghat on Holi and is expected to celebrate the occasion with the people.
TWO GOVERNORS AND A COMMON HOLI
UP governor Ram Naik opens the doors of his palatial Raj Bhawan residence on the day for one and all.
Bihar governor Lalji Tandon, who has traditionally been a part of the famous Holi procession of Lucknow, that features Muslims, politicians, animals including elephants and camels, is back in Lucknow for the celebrations.
His first Holi after getting gubernatorial responsibility, Tandon won’t be a part of the Holi procession of which he has been an integral part for nearly 50 years and is an example of Lucknow’s communal amity. Muslims welcome the procession by showering flowers at the participants who take care not to hurt the religious sensibilities by using only dry colours.
“I will miss the procession but then otherwise I will play Holi as usual, and participate in kavi sammelan,” he said.
The ‘gujhiyas and special ‘thandai’ that have been attractions of Holi at the Tandon’s old city home would be there this time too.
On Holi eve, the Bihar governor would celebrate with friends and family which includes his son Gopal Tandon, a senior UP minister, at his other house in Hazratganj.
UP governor Ram Naik hasn’t visited Mumbai, his home and from where he had played a long political innings, for the past for the past four and half years.
“Since I became UP governor, Lucknow has been my home. On Holi day between 10 am to 10.30 am on the day, me and family meet those employed at the Raj Bhawan, from gardener to others. We give them gifts. From 10.30 am to 11 am, I have tea and snacks with my officers and clerical staff. From 11 am to 1 pm, my doors are open for one and all,” Naik, whose five-year term is ending on July 22, said.