A UNITED Opposition is “unity of destruction”, a “marriage among thieves”. Numerous songs on themes such as these set the tone in UP’s Baghpat Sunday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and other BJP leaders converged to declare open the Eastern Peripheral Expressway.
With a day to go for bypolls across the country, including in Kairana about an hour away, these songs also gave a glimpse into how the emerging unity in Opposition ranks might be used in the BJP’s campaign for the 2019 general elections.
“Yeh bandhan toh naash ka bandhan hai, choron ka sangam hai,” went one song. Describing the Opposition alliance as one made of disparate entities — “kahin ka eent kahin ka rora, Bhanumati ne jaise kunba ho joda” — another song tried to illustrate how inorganic the association is. “Majboori mein yeh gatbandhan banaya hai” (the alliance is a result of compulsion), it said.
The songs, all set to popular Bollywood tunes, even borrowed from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s iconic qawwali “Mere rashk-e qamar” to fit in the lines “Mere Modi dear, tu ne angrezon par aisa jadoo chalaya, maza aa gaya” (My dear Modi, you have cast such a spell on the English, it made us happy). The song was about how the BJP is full of tigers, while Modi is a lion.
Poking fun at the Congress, BSP’s Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party, the lyrics claimed that those who could not do any development in 70 years would not be able to do any now. “Sher ko harane ke liye geedad ek-jut ho rahe hain (The jackals have come together to defeat a lion),” went another song.
The songs were performed by Santram Banjara, his daughter Chanchal and their group, all regulars at BJP events in this region, with party workers joining in at Baghpat.
The Opposition alliance found mention in the speeches of Adityanath and Modi, too. “They say we have done no work in four years. And yet, they all have to come together to fight us,” Adityanath said.
“You must carefully assess what kind of people are there on that side and who are there this side,” Modi said.
Earlier this year, arch rivals BSP and SP joined hands to wrest Adityanath’s bastion Gorakhpur and UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya’s Phoolpur from the BJP. In the Karnataka elections, the BJP tasted defeat despite emerging as the single largest party after the Congress and the JD(S) joined hands to form the state government.