Singing some of his hit numbers like ‘Ooh la la la’ and ‘I am a disco dancer’ in his poll campaign, Bappi Lahiri is using his music to seek votes as a BJP candidate.
As he moves around the streets of the Serampore Lok Sabha constituency, 22 km away from Kolkata, Bollywood’s ‘Disco King’ Bappi ‘da’ breaks into a song every now and then while interacting with voters in his constituency.
The 61-year-old doesn’t mind shaking legs too to woo star-struck voters who have never seen a Bollywood personality visiting their neighbourhood.
“My songs have kept me alive and kicking in Bollywood for so many years. I am not a retired musician. Even my new songs are a big hit. I can do anything with my songs and this time I want the lotus (BJP’s poll symbol) to bloom with my music,” Lahiri said.
The man who pioneered the use of disco music in Indian cinema with an Indian flavour is best known for his songs like ‘Koi Yahan Nache Nache’, ‘Jimmy Jimmy’, ‘Zubi Zubi’, ‘Jee Le Le’, ‘Bambai Se Aaya mera Dost’, ‘Raat Baaki’, ‘Tamma Tamma Loge’ and ‘Chalte Chalte’.
A first-timer in politics, he has made it a point to never attack the Congress or the CPI(M), nor the Trinamool Congress in election meetings.
“I will not say any thing about others. I respect everyone,” is his reply when asked about sitting Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee.
He is even praise for Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee, saying everything is good in West Bengal under her chief ministership.
“I am not fighting at the state level. This is for the Centre. I want to go to Parliament and fight for the people of Bengal from Delhi,” says Lahiri, who has composed music for many evergreen numbers and lent his voice to many soulful songs.
With his trademark gold locket of Lord Ganesha dangling from his chest, he talks about the Narendra Modi “magic”.
“I came into politics to support him because like Modi I also want to serve the people. I could have got a Rajya Sabha ticket anytime but I opted for the Lok Sabha because I want to connect with people,” he says.
When asked how he plans to handle the mud-slinging common during election season between contestants, he says he will steer clear of replying to any adverse comments.
“I want a clean and healthy fight. If someone says anything against me now then the people will give them the answer during voting,” he states.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls in his constituency, the BJP candidate had managed to secure only 3.56 per cent votes and lost his security deposit while the Trinamool candidate and sitting MP Kalyan Banerjee, won with 52.68 per cent votes.
The statistics doesn’t scare the musician as he retorts saying, “Only God can defeat me. No man or party can defeat me”.
To the people of Serampore, he has promised to built a Bappi Lahiri Music Academy and also bring the former Danish colony into the national tourist map.
Serampore was a Danish colony between 1755 and 1845 and has many structures constructed in the neo-classical architectural style. Due to lack of restoration and marketing efforts, the river town has not become a tourist hub.
“I also want to work for the welfare of jute mill workers as it has a labour-belt,” he says.