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Battle of poll slogans begins in Uttar Pradesh: ‘Kaam damdar’ vs ‘Akhilesh aaiye’

There is no mention of “Yogi sarkar” in the hoardings but the lyrics of a poll song posted on social media and sung by Bhojpuri actor, singer and politician Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua have lines that focus on the Chief Minister.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: December 7, 2021 2:58:42 pm
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath speaks at the inaugural function of the week-long 'Maharana Pratap Shiksha Parishad Foundation Day' celebration, in Gorakhpur, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (PTI Photo)

Dates for Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are yet to be announced but the battle of poll slogans and songs is already underway.

On one side is “Soch imandar, kaam damdar — phir ek baar BJP sarkar (Honest thinking, solid work — BJP government once again)”.

On the other side are several: “UP ka hai yeh janadesh, aa rahe hain Akhilesh (The people’s mandate in UP is this: Akhilesh is returning to power) of SP; “Sarv-samaj ke samman mein, behen ji maidan mein (For the honour of all sections, Mayawati is in the arena)” of BSP; and, “Ladki hun, lad sakti hun (I am a girl, I can fight)” of Congress.

For the state government, hoardings put up in Lucknow to showcase the work done under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath carry a common slogan: “Soch imandar, kaam damdar”. But the hoarding outside the BJP state headquarters goes one line further, adding “phir ek baar BJP sarkar”.

“The slogan is for the BJP cadre, to send a message that the state government was formed in 2017 due to their hard work, and their backing will once again bring the party to power in 2022,” said a senior BJP leader in the state, speaking on condition of anonymity.

There is no mention of “Yogi sarkar” in the hoardings but the lyrics of a poll song posted on social media and sung by Bhojpuri actor, singer and politician Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua have lines that focus on the Chief Minister.

One of them is this: “Har Hindu ke pehle hein ab choice mein Yogi ji, 22 mein bhi Yogi ji, 27 mein bhi Yogi ji (Yogi Adityanath is first choice of every Hindu. Yogi will win in 2022 and 2027 as well).”

This song, which is being shared on social media by state BJP leaders, also underscores Adityanath’s religious identity: “Ek haath se maala japte hain toh doosre haath mein bhaala bhi rakhte hain (He holds beads for chanting with one hand and the spear with the other).”

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Nirahua, incidentally, lost the Lok Sabha election from Azamgarh as a BJP candidate against SP president Akhilesh Yadav in 2019. Recently, he was seen at the BJP state headquarters for a party event.

In another song, Nirahua sings: “Sazish chahe jitni rach le, honi hai jo hogi hi, ayenge phir Yogi hi, ayenge phir Yogi hi (Whatever conspiracies are hatched, what has to happen will happen, Yogi will return).”

Another poll song targets the BJP’s rivals in the state, BSP, SP and Congress, while referring to their election symbols: “Na toh haathi, na hi cycle, panja bhi ab bandh hai, UP ko Akhilesh nahin Yogi baba hi pasand hai (BSP’s elephant, SP’s cycle and Congress’s hand are all done. UP likes Yogi and not Akhilesh).”

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh. (Express Photo/Vishal Srivastava)

On the opposite side, the SP makes it clear that their campaign is centred on party chief and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. In 2017, Akhilesh was unable to retain power amidst a political tussle with his uncle. This time, an SP slogan says: “Nayi hawa hai, nayi SaPa hai, badon ka haath, yuva ka saath (There is a new wave, a new SP, with the blessings of elders and support of youth).”

In a reference to the popular Trinamool slogan during the West Bengal polls early this year, another SP line is being played in Akhilesh’s public meetings: “Khela hoibe, khadheda hoibe, abki chunav mein humre votan ka aisa rela hoibe (The game is on, the opponents will be chased away, and this election will see a huge number of votes in support of SP)”.

At the party’s Samajwadi Vijay Rath Yatra, songs that appealed to different regions and cultures are played: “Shaam-e-Awadh udaas hai, rangeen banaiye, janata pukarti hai Akhilesh aaiye (The evenings in Awadh are sad, make them colourful, people are calling for Akhilesh to come)”.

A popular slogan at the SP yatra is this: “UP yeh keh rahi hai Akhilesh aaiye, phir se samajwad ki sarkar laaiye (UP is calling for Akhilesh to make the SP government once again)”.

Akhilesh Yadav at a meeting in Jhansi. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

“These slogans are played from the modified chariot being used for the yatra to encourage supporters to gather in huge numbers to welcome Akhilesh,” said an SP leader, who is associated with the campaign.

The SP has also targeted the Adityanath government over Covid management. “Mulya jaante nahin hain joh kisi ke shwaas ka, chahiye hisaab unse ek-ek laash ka (Those who don’t know the value of every breath must give an account of the bodies piling up),” says another song.

The slogan preferred by BSP workers in party events is the one that calls for Mayawati to enter the arena. The BSP has also been playing videos of party founder Kanshiram praising Mayawati’s past governments.

The Congress’s slogan in praise of girls is mostly accompanied on hoardings by an image of party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra — a giant hoarding with this combination can be seen near the Women Power Line Crossing, a well-known spot in Lucknow.

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