Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party gestures during a roadshow in support of their state assembly election party candidates in Varanasi, March 4. (Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images)

Bollywood provided the perfect fodder for witty repartees this poll season as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi used dialogues from super hit films Sholay, Bahubali and DDLJ to launch attacks on rivals, writes Sangita Bakaya.

“If Varanasi progresses so will we,” feel a large chunk of Muslim weavers in this world-famous weaving center as most of them steer clear of openly criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, writes Kumar Rakesh. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #UPelections #BJP #CongressPartyofIndia #SamajwadiParty #NaMo #NarendraModi #AkhileshYadav #RahulGandhi


The classic case was that of the Prime Minister asking if the SP-Congress tie up was a case of “Aa Gale Lag Ja,” referring to a movie by that name while Rahul Gandhi said that Narendra Modi had set out to be Shah Rukh Khan of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge with his “achhe din” promise but ended up as “Gabbar” of Sholay.

Interestingly, the ruling Samajwadi Party’s star campaigner Akhilesh Yadav has been depicted as the main protagonist in the state in spoofs of some Bollywood blockbusters.

The ball was set rolling by Rahul at an election meeting in the Congress pocket borough Rae Bareli, Feb. 17, when he termed the Prime Minister’s promises before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and his alleged failure to keep them by referring to the iconic Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayange and “Gabbar Singh” of Sholay.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party waves during a roadshow in support of their state assembly election party candidates in Varanasi, March 4. (Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images)

“You must have seen the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, have you? Do you remember it? In the film there is a promise of ‘achhe din’ (good days). But after two-and-a-half years what has come out is ‘Gabbar Singh’ of Sholay,” he had said referring to the fearsome character modeled on a real-life dacoit of the same name.

The Prime Minister also made references to films to drive home his point.

In Mau, from where mafia-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari is contesting as BSP nominee from jail, Modi had referred to the magnum opus Bahubali when he asked “Katappa ney bahubali ko kyun maara.”

“There is a movie called Bahubali. ‘Katappa,’ a character in the film, destroyed everything of ‘Bahubali.’ This man with a stick (referring to BJP’s ally Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party election symbol on the dais next to him) has this power. This stick is sufficient. This is the stick of law and will show its power on March 11,” Modi had stressed.

Earlier too, Modi had cited the example of a film Aa Gale Lag Jaa to make his point.

Targeting the SP-Congress “unusual friendship” which came through after Congress’ campaign ‘27 saal, UP behaal’, Modi asked in his inimitable style, “What happened … Aa Gale Lag Ja?”

Rahul, at a meeting in Amethi, had referred to a popular song of the yesteryears “Tu Hindu Banega, Na Musalman Banege, Insaan Ki Aulad Hai Insaan Banega” to refer to, what he claimed as, the hate campaign of the BJP.

YouTube viewers are also going gaga over a crisply made 2-minute video in which Akhilesh is the ‘Don,’ ‘Raees’ and ‘Krrish’ of the state’s politics.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav (r) and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi (l) wave to the crowd during a joint roadshow in support of their state assembly election party candidates in Varanasi, March 4. (Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images)

These videos sync Akhilesh Yadav’s interviews and speeches with dialogues from films in the original voice of the actors.

Political opponents are shown in the roles of villains and vamps.

The videos depict the scenario in the country, the recent infighting in the Samajwadi Party and the chief minister’s pet projects.

From film-style car chases to jumping off airplanes, the videos depict a larger than life image of Akhilesh, the ‘hero.’

There is also a video of Mayawati as ‘Mardani’ on the YouTube.

The Chief Minister’s wife and party’s star campaigner Dimple Yadav have also used a popular number from the film Laawaris, “Mere Angney Mein Tumhara Kya Kaam Hai,” to attack the prime minister over his “adopted son” remark and to stress that he is an outsider and so has no business in the state.

In PM’s Constituency, Muslim Weavers Hope for Progress

Their Banarasi sarees having lost sheen post note ban, many of the Muslim weavers are not very happy with the BJP’s policies. Besides there are old fault lines that deeply divide the community and the saffron party.

Abdul Rauf, a noted handloom dealer, is disappointed over the Prime Minister’s handling of weavers’ concerns but says he continues to have hope in him.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing an election rally at Rohaniya in Varanasi, March 6. (Press Trust of India)

Rauf speaks for the city’s famous silk weavers belonging to the minority community, many of whom refrain from criticizing Modi in a manner one finds in other places.

“Hamare Prime Minister hain. Banaras taraqqi karega to hum bhi karengein. But BJP wale hume pasand nahi karte.” (He is our Prime Minister. If Vanarasi progresses, then so will we. But BJP does not like us), says Rafiq Ahmed, a septuagenarian trader in Madanpura.

Muslims, who comprise 20% of the population in Modi’s constituency, appear to be solidly behind the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance here, virtually ruling out any serious split in their ranks on March 8, when the city goes to the polls.

A split in their ranks in 2012 was the major reason behind the BJP’s win in all three assembly seats falling in the city.

Asked if they would vote for Modi, whose road show, March 4, passed through some Muslim localities and drew good response, some youths shot back, “How many Muslims have been fielded by the BJP in UP? Zero. We are 20% in the state but not seen good enough even for one of the 403 seats. Why should we vote for him?”

Zubair Ahmed, 26, says in a lighter vein that even if some of them vote for the party, nobody will believe them.

He says he knew friends who had voted for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when Modi contested from here. “Our non-Muslim friends laughed when we told them.”

Rafiq Ahmed says it has been after a long time that Muslims are united in supporting one candidate (SP-Congress nominees) in Varanasi as they used to be divided between these two parties, who always contested separately.

The combined votes of the SP and the Congress were more than the winning BJP candidates in two of the three seats and it could be a reason that the saffron party has deployed its top leaders, including several Union Ministers, in holding small and big public events targeting different sections of people.

A leading news channel in India has projected a possible win for BJP in U.P. All we can say is may the best party win, and do good for its huge electorate.