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Sunday, July 03, 2022

In UP Assembly, a wave of rangeen topis & political identities

While members of the Samajwadi Party (SP) donning red caps in the Assembly was not a new thing, what was certainly new was BJP legislators wearing saffron topis this time.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
Updated: May 24, 2022 9:39:42 am
SP members with red caps, while BJP members with saffron caps in the Assembly, in Lucknow on Monday. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

One may ask, what’s in the colour of topis or caps? But when it comes to UP politics, it signifies a new trend of political identity. On Monday, it was in full display in the Legislative Assembly as the Budget session kicked off.

While members of the Samajwadi Party (SP) donning red caps in the Assembly was not a new thing, what was certainly new was BJP legislators wearing saffron topis this time.

From senior ministers to newly elected BJP MLAs, most of them were seen wearing the saffron caps with the party’s “lotus” symbol imprinted on them.

“Our caps carry the symbol of our party. It was worn by (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji. Since there is no dress code for the Assembly, we chose to wear the caps,” BJP Legislative Council member Vijay Bahadur Pathak told The Indian Express.

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The caps and their colour took the centre stage of UP politics during the recently concluded Assembly polls in the state with cadres of different parties donning caps or stoles of their party colour — Samajwadi Party cadres with red caps, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) cadres with blue stoles, cadres of Om Prakash Rajbhar’s SBSP wearing yellow turbans or yellow stoles, RLD cadres with green caps, and BJP cadres wearing saffron.

Notably, Prime Minister Modi, while campaigning for the BJP in UP, had referred to SP’s “red caps” to target the party, saying the “red caps” are like “red alert”, and warned people to be cautious about the main Opposition party. Hitting back at the PM, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had referred to the “black caps” worn by RSS leaders.

The red caps have become symbolic of the Samajwadi Party in recent years. SP sources say that after Akhilesh took over the reins of the party, he has been promoting party workers to wear red caps. With Akhilesh seen wearing red caps most of the time during party events, other leaders have also started following his suit, especially inside the Assembly.

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“The red colour of SP cap symbolises the colour of revolution,” SP leader Rajendra Chaudhary said.

On Monday, the Assembly too saw a splash of these colours – albeit based on their numerical strength.

With BJP having numerically far more strength than any other party in the House, a wave of saffron caps was most visible on Monday, with SP members’ red caps dominating the Opposition benches. BSP members, a handful of them, were seen wearing blue stoles and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party members yellow stoles. RLD leaders were seen with green stoles around their necks. Amid this Congress Legislature Party leader Aradhna Mishra could be barely spotted with her white Gandhian cap.

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