Characters from epics, films take centre stage in MP poll campaign


Characters from epics, films take centre stage in MP poll campaign

Congress party general secretary in-charge of MP Randeep Surjewala  describing the relation between the two veteran leaders as akin to the bond shared by characters ‘Jai’ and ‘Veeru’ in the 1975 Hindi movie Sholay. (picture)

Amid the high-voltage campaign for Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, leaders across party lines referred to various popular characters from Bollywood movies and the epics Ramayan and Mahabharat while trying to woo voters.

After a controversy between former Chief Ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh over distribution of Congress tickets, party general secretary in-charge of MP Randeep Surjewala sought to downplay it by describing the relation between the two veteran leaders as akin to the bond shared by characters ‘Jai’ and ‘Veeru’ in the 1975 Hindi movie Sholay.

A row had erupted over M.P. Congress chief Nath’s “tear clothes” jibe at his party colleague Mr. Singh.

The roles of ‘Jai’ and ‘Veeru’ in the blockbuster film were played by veteran actors Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra, respectively.

Latching on to Mr. Nath’s comments, the ruling BJP in the State said ‘Jai’ and ‘Veeru’ were known as “thieves” in the film.

Later, Mr. Nath termed Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as ‘Gabbar’, the movie’s lead villain, and accused him of looting the State through various scams.

Mr. Chouhan subsequently said: “Congress leaders are talking about the duo [Mr. Nath and Mr. Singh] as Jai-Veeru. Now, the duo is not Jai-Veeru. There was a film ‘Mere Apne’ in which the duo named ‘Shyam’ and ‘Chaine’ used to fight for the possession of their respective localities. This divided Congress can never do any good to the State,” the CM said.

In one of his election rallies, Mr. Chouhan also compared the two Congres leaders to ‘Dhritarashtra’, the character from Mahabharat, saying the duo have put aside the party organisation to establish their sons and to hand over them reins of the State.

On November 4, while taking a jibe at Mr. Nath’s “tear clothes” remark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Congress leaders, their “dialogues” and their announcements are all “filmy”.

“The Congress leaders are filmy, their dialogues are filmy, their announcements are filmy, their characters too are filmy, and when a character is filmy, then obviously the scene too will be filmy,” he said.

A competition of “tearing clothes” is going on between two Congress leaders, the Prime Minister said alluding to the remarks.

This was only a “trailer”. After the BJP’s victory on December 3 (when votes will be counted), the real picture of Congress will be seen here, the real conflict within the Congress will unfold, he said.

“This is not a fight for the CM’s chair… This is a fight for the future of their sons who will get hold of Congress in the state…. Congress is doing dynastic politics,” Mr. Modi said.

On the last day of campaigning on Wednesday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra described CM Chouhan as a “world-famous actor”, who can outshine megastar Amitabh Bachchan, but “whenever someone talks about work, he starts behaving like [comedian] Asrani”.

She also took a swipe at PM Modi for “crying” about the abuse he had faced from the Opposition.

“Have you watched Salman Khan’s film ‘Tere Naam’ in which he keeps crying from start to end? I say, let us make a movie on Modi ji with the title ‘Mere Naam’,” Ms. Vadra said.

Earlier, during a rally in Sanwer from where Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s close associate and State Minister Tulsiram Silawat is contesting, she claimed: “The way Ahiravana [a character in Ramayan] cheated Lord Ram, in the same manner your elected government was stolen by them [BJP] and taken to Bhrashtachar [corruption] Lok.”

During the high-pitched poll campaign, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge recently said three Central agencies comprising the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and Income Tax along with PM Modi and MP CM Chouhan were panch Pandav (like the five brothers who are central characters in Mahabharat) against whom his party was fighting.

The Central agencies were in the fray on the BJP’s behalf, he claimed.

Polling for the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly will take place on Friday and votes will be counted on December 3.

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