He used bhaiyya all through,and then graduated to jhapad and bhadaak se. Rahul Gandhi used the local dialect more and more frequently when he toured Bundelkhand,UP,seeking to strike a chord with voters.
His speeches across his 19 public meetings in the region were also full of rhetoric. In choron ko bhagao (drive out these thieves),he said on one occasion. Rahul addressed meetings at Lalitpur,Jhansi,Jaluan,Hamirpur,Banda,Mahoba and Chitrakoot during the tour that ended on January 21.
At Mauranipur in Jhansi,for instance,he used rhetoric local style to explain to his audience how little their region had gained after they had voted for the bicycle or the elephant,the election symbols of the Samajwadi Party and the BSP.
Kabhi hathi,kabhi cycle. Pehle cycle bhadaak se puncture ho gayee,ab hathi paisa khane laga (Sometimes the elephant,sometimes the cycle. First the bicycle suddenly had a puncture,now the elephant has started to gobble money).
It was not the first time voters were hearing such a remark about the elephant. What was new to them was the fact that Rahul was using bhadaak se to express suddenly. They burst into laughter.
He went to Tindwari in Banda with his homework done,not only on the politics of the seat,where the BSP had fared miserably in 2007,but also on the language to stress his point: Aapne yahan hathi ko joote markar nikala (You booted the elephant out of here). And a few young supporters chanted,Phir marenge (We will boot it out again).
Jhapad mara,or slapped in the face,came at Kulpahar in Charkhari,where the BJP has fielded Uma Bharti and where Rahuls target was,therefore,the NDA. He referred to the backfire of the NDAs slogan India Shining in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Apne inhe 2004 mein jhapad mara (You slapped them on the face in 2004. Jhapad and thappar both mean a slap but the first implies it has landed on the face,explained a local reporter. If you say thappar mara,it does not necessarily mean you slapped someone on the face. Jhapad does.
At Orai in Jalaun,Rahul used the word choron,or thieves,indirectly targeting the BSP for the alleged loot of government funds,including those for a Bundelkhand package and MNREGA.
And bhaiya was frequent throughout his four-day tour of Bundelkhand,with Rahul using it at almost all the meetings he addressed. Bhaiya,aap jante hai India Shining ka matlab. Hindustan chamak raha hai, he kept on telling his audiences. Had NDA leaders toured Bundelkhand,they would not have made such slogans.
He has used bhaiyain election meetings in other parts of UP,too. In Bundelkhand more than anywhere else,however,the word reflects his attempt to strike an emotional chord with voters. Outside his own Lok Sabha seat of Amethi and his mother Sonia Gandhis seat of Rae Bareli,Bundelkhand has been a favourite destination for Rahul since 2008. He has been playing the role of a political activist in the region.