KHOKHA, a word used by the Mumbai underworld for crore, and made familiar to us by Bollywood, has now entered the political lexicon. Across Mumbai and Delhi, non-BJP parties over the past week seized on this slang to corner it over allegations of “money power”.
In Mumbai, the newly sworn in government of Eknath Shinde Sena and BJP faced its first Assembly session amidst the Opposition’s constant slogans of “50 khoke, ekdum ok (50 crores, everything is ok)”. Congress MLA Kailash Gorantyal from Jalana district is believed to have come up with the catchy couplet, alluding seemingly to the BJP giving rebel Sena leaders 50 khokhe (or Rs 50 crore) each to fell the MVA government.
The slogan eventually got to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who warned that there was “a limit” to tolerate such comments, adding ominously that even he had details of the track record of Opposition leaders. Trying to take the higher ground as the “real Sena”, Shinde is wary of other motives being attributed to his rebellion.
The Opposition appeared to also hit home with the slogan ‘Tat aani Vaati, Guwahati (Pick up plate and bowl and go to Guwahati)’, a reference to the capital of the BJP-ruled Assam where the Shinde faction was housed leading up to the rebellion.
The next day, Shinde camp MLAs raised counter slogans against Matoshree (the personal residence of the Thackerays) of “earning boxes or khokhe” and “scams at Covid care centres”. The sloganeering eventually resulted in the two sides coming to blows.
The BJP-Shinde side came up with variations of their own on “khokha” — “Lavasa khokhe, Baramati ok”, “Vaze khokhe, Matoshree ok” and “BMC che khokhe, Matoshree ok” – hinting at controversies associated with the NCP, Sena and the MVA government.
‘Khokha’ word next surfaced on the backs of bulls, as part of decorations for Bail Pola celebrations in Maharashtra. Cattle are celebrated and worshipped on this day, and some photographs of bulls with the word ‘khokha’ surfaced in the interiors of the state, indicating that the slogan was travelling beyond Mumbai.
To, as far as Delhi. At the Assembly special session called by the Arvind Kejriwal government to show its majority, as it alleged a bid by the BJP to buy its MLAs, AAP shouted “khokha-khokha” at the BJP.
The BJP replied with “dhokha-dhokha”, apparently referring to the alleged liquor scam.
As Kejriwal accused the BJP of putting together “Rs 800 crore” to offer Rs 20 crore each to 40 AAP MLAs, AAP leader Sanjay Singh tweeted that the “operation” by the “Bharatiya Khokha Party” had failed.