Festival makes performers of Assam’s politicians

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, now in his eighties, dances with a Bihu troupe in Guwahati.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Updated: April 15, 2014 2:31:19 am

TARUN GOGOI: Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, now in his eighties, dances with a Bihu troupe in Guwahati. He has also been singing and playing the Bihu dhol. Rongali Bihu, the Assamese new year festival, began Monday and the April 24 elections in six seats will coincide with the two week celebrations

BIJOYA CHAKRAVARTY: Chakravarty, 75, BJP MP recontesting Guwahati, beats the dhol. She has been both composing and singing. Says her son Ranajit: “On Sunday, she spontaneously composed a song comparing the Congress with leaves falling in spring and comparing Modi with new flowers blooming during Bihu.”

AGP: “Rongali Bihu is when trees change leaves, and people ring in the new by shedding the old. We have been likening the election to Bihu, asking the people to shed the old and vote for change,” says Atul Bora, AGP working president. The AGP has been playing Bhupen Hazarika verses that say this season is when the nation takes a holy dip and changes out of dirty clothes.

BJP: Prasanta Phukan is a legislator who occasionally sings Bihu couplets even during debates in the assembly. He too is playing on the old-to-new metaphor. “We discard the old and welcome the new. I have used this metaphor and appealed to voters.”

CONGRESS: The party has been getting troupes to perform at rallies before the star campaigners’ arrival. “If you hire the best troupe headed by internationally famed artiste Ranjit Gogoi, then a 30-minute performance by a 20-member contingent might cost you up to Rs 1 lakh, depending on the venue,” says PCC general secretary Pradyut Bhuyan.

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