First came the “bhashan”.
“Is Delhi at war with Pakistan? Nahi na? Then talk about people of Delhi. Kahan ke mudde kahan la rahe ho? People of Delhi, vote on issues that affect you.”
Having made the appeal, the rockstar announced he had finished his share of “bhashanbazi” for the day. “It’s time to party.” The mic crackled, the soundboxes came alive, and the crowd erupted.
Bollywood singer and composer Vishal Dadlani’s “rock concert” at Chirag Delhi village Wednesday saw politics and entertainment blend seamlessly. Dadlani’s performance at an SDMC park in the urban village, in support of Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj, drew a large number of people from other parts of the constituency such as Zamrudpur and Savitri Nagar.
“The villagers are not very comfortable in going to more upscale places of the constituency such as GK-II or Alakananda for events like this. So I organised the concert here. And this is where I grew up,” Bharadwaj told The Indian Express.
Party leaders said the concert at Chirag Delhi will not only help consolidate the nearly 19,000 votes in the village, but also that of other villages that dot the constituency.
The GK seat, which comes under the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, is a mix of affluent colonies such as GK-I, GK-II, CR Park and urban villages. The BJP has fielded MCD councillor Shika Rai against Bharadwaj.
Bharadwaj said the AAP has covered the area through a series of “drawing room meetings” — up to 215 daily. Over the last one week, the party focused on door to door visits. “I have covered nearly all the DDA flats and the urban villages. Covering the kothis (bungalows) is a little difficult as it takes time. So we are campaigning in those areas through meetings. CM Arvind Kejriwal also addressed one such meeting,” he said, adding that his “accessibility” will help the AAP make inroads even in the posh areas this time around.
Meanwhile, Dadlani’s performance drew criticism from local BJP leaders, including Rai, who alleged that taxpayers’ money was being used for political purposes.
Bharadwaj sought to counter the allegations at the event, pointing out that Dadlani, who also composed the AAP’s campaign song, ‘Lage Raho Kejriwal’, was performing for free.
“I do not much know about music and music directors. But Dadlani is such a big name that I will probably not be able to get him to perform even using life’s entire earnings. He has come to seek votes for a party as small as AAP and a small person like me,” Bharadwaj, who is also the AAP’s chief spokesperson, said.
The event was attended by a large number of youngsters, including first-time voters, many of whom were seen dancing and grooving as Dadlani belted out popular songs.
Ashish Kumar (18), pursuing graduation in economics from IP university, said he would vote for a party that focuses on Delhi centric issues and generating employment. “NRC aur CAA se kya lena dena Delhi chunav mein?” he said.
Suraj Pal, who sells ram laddoos in the area, said Bharadwaj has gained a lot of goodwill over the last five years, owing to development work such as laying of sewer lines and water pipelines.
Dadlani’s performance was replete with political messaging. As the event drew to an end, Dadlani, responding to the crowd’s insistence, performed his chartbuster ‘Bala’ from the movie Housefull 4, tweaking the lyrics to suit the occasion: “Bala Bala, bijli maaf kar daala, paani maaf kar daala…”
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