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Poll Pop: 'Ram Ko Laye Hain’ to ‘Janta Pukarti Hai’, Parties Make UP Dance to Their Tunes

Loaded lyrics tuned to peppy beats and aspirational visuals have become a must-have in any political party’s arsenal, more so when the Election Commission has banned physical rallies till January 22. (Representative image/AP)

Loaded lyrics tuned to peppy beats and aspirational visuals have become a must-have in any political party’s arsenal, more so when the Election Commission has banned physical rallies till January 22. (Representative image/AP)

Songs have always been a staple of election season in Uttar Pradesh. But this time, with physical rallies banned, parties have pumped up their poll jam.

Get over ‘poll bugles’. The new-age clarion call in Uttar Pradesh are poll raps. Loaded lyrics tuned to peppy beats and aspirational visuals have become a must-have in any political party’s arsenal, more so when the Election Commission has banned physical rallies till January 22.

Two parties that have expertly cracked the musical code are the BJP and the Samajwadi Party. While mandir and bhagwa star in BJP numbers, Akhilesh Yadav’s rath rolls to the tunes of janta and samajwadi sentiments.

Beats of the BJP

For the ruling BJP, many of these election songs are an in-house production, led mostly by celebrity MPs Manoj Tiwari and Ravi Kishan. Singer Kanhaiya Mittal completes this trio.

The most popular of these poll numbers is easily Mittal’s runaway hit among BJP supporters – ‘Jo Ram Ko Laye Hain’. The singer belted out the track for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the News18 UP Conclave and has been inundated with offers since.

Mittal is now working on a song with Manoj Tiwari, the teaser for which has been launched on social media. Titled ‘Mandir Ab Banne Laga Hai, Bhagwa Rang Chadne Laga Hai’, the song sings praises of the Yogi Adityanath government for beginning work on the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

Such musical messaging is of no use without strong lyrics that connect with the target audience and the BJP has that covered. Tiwari’s song includes phrases like “damroo jab bajega toh dekh nazara kya hoga” and “meat band hua hai, bansuri jab bajegi dekh nazara kya hoga”, obvious references to the Kashi Vishwanath Dham and Lord Krishna’s birthplace Mathura.

But Tiwari, MP from North East Delhi, says the motive is not to “undermine any religion”. “All we are saying is sanathan and bhagwa uprising has led to development, and the poor are taken care of in the state,” he says.

Tiwari reveals that the song was written the same day he met Kanhaiya Mittal at the News18 conclave and recorded in the national capital two days later. Well aware of the strong-pull of social media, especially when election gatherings are banned, Tiwari plans to release one song for each of the seven phases of Uttar Pradesh elections.

“With Covid spreading and strict guidelines in place, the role of digital media is vital. And everyone listens to whatever they get on WhatsApp, YouTube or other forums,” says Tiwari.

Such has been the response to these songs that Mittal has now been roped in by Uttarakhand BJP as well.

“I received a call from CM Pushkar Dhami ji‘s office and I am writing this song for them… Jinhone Garhwal Sajaya Hai, Kumaun Bhi Sajayenge”,” he tells News18.com.

Mittal adds that he received calls from the Congress as well but turned them down stating he works only for those “who favour Lord Ram”. The singer says the idea for his hugely popular song ‘Jo Ram Ko Laye Hain’ came to him from the Ram Temple in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur which he regularly visits.

“It was constructed with the help of the RSS and I was informed that they had faced difficulties in building that temple because of opposition from some political leaders. This prompted me to write a song on Ram Temple (in Ayodhya) and the government that facilitated its construction,” says Mittal.

If you thought the BJP’s playlist is only about mandir, think again. Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan, BJP MP from Yogi Adityanath’s home turf Gorakhpur, is doing a desi rap of the development in Uttar Pradesh under BJP rule. Titled ‘UP mein sab ba’, the song has the actor-singer donning saffron outfits on a tour of expressways and projects brought in by Yogi Adityanath.

SP’s Sur

Every protagonist adopts a signature entry music and for Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, it’s ‘Janta Pukarti Hai’. Sung by Bollywood crooner Altamash Faridi and written by Bilal Saharanpuri, the political chartbuster has been played on loop for the whole of Akhilesh’s Samajwadi Vijay Rath Yatra across the state.

With million of views on YouTube, the song has become an anthem for the party which plays it not just at yatras and rallies, but also before formal press conferences!

The central theme of the song is the people of the state calling on Akhilesh Yadav to return as CM and take forward the “dream” of his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. It touts the previous SP government’s works like the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Gomti river front project, laptop distribution scheme and women’s helpline.

Popular as it may be, ‘Janta Pukarti Hai’ has tough competition from another election song by the Samajwadi Party titled ‘Khadeda Hoibe’, a play on the ‘Khela Hobe’ battle-cry that did wonders for Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. Loosely translated to ‘being chased away’, the song has rural touch and invokes issues like inflation and oxygen shortage during Covid-19, and predicts BJP loss in elections.

The song and slogan has also been adopted by Samajwadi Party allies, with former BJP partner Om Prakash Rajbhar using it during a joint rally with Akhilesh Yadav to announce their alliance.

Most election songs created for the SP revolve around the concept of Akhilesh’s return. ‘Akhilesh Ji Dobara’, written and sung by party member Chahat Malhotra, is a prime example.

Malhotra feels the trend of election songs and music is not meant to just attract voters but educate them about the party’s ideology and stand on key issues.

“I have been singing from quite a young age and music is undoubtedly my first love. I was inspired by the thoughts of Akhilesh ji and (his wife) Dimple ma’am so much that I joined the SP in 2020 and till date have sung three songs for the party — ‘Akhilesh Ji Ka Saath Nibhayenge’, ‘Akhilesh Ji Dobara’ and ‘Hum Samajwadi Hain’,” Malhotra tells News18.com

“All the songs have been loved and appreciated by people, and every time there is demand for a new song. Songs are not just a medium of entertainment. They connect people with the ideology and thoughts, and hence play a vital role in politics.”

Another SP song popular is rural pockets is ‘Janta Uttar Pradesh Ke Mangat Ba Akhilesh Ke’, sung by Samar Singh and written by Aalok Yadav. With more than 4 million views on YouTube in four months, the song has been grabbing eyeballs.

With the Purvanchal region in mind, the SP has been giving equal emphasis to songs in Bhojpuri. ‘2022 Mein Akhilesh Ji Ayenge’, sung by Antra Singh and written by Deepak Lal Yadav, has garnered 1o million hits on YouTube.

The party also released a song honouring Mulayam Singh Yadav on his 82nd birthday on November 22. Sung by Shahnawaz Sabri, ‘Teri Alag Hai Baat Hai Mulayam’ made an instant connect with older members of the party.

And the party has a rap too to match the BJP’s desi rap. Released on October 5, the ‘Samajwadi Party Rap Song’ is sung by RA Crazy. Like the BJP’s rap, this one too focusses on development issues and projects Akhilesh Yadav returning as Chief Minister in 2022. The number has grabbed more than 2.6 lakh views on YouTube, with many perceiving it as an answer to Nirhau’s ‘Ayenge Phir Yogi Ji’.

Which party’s music will the voters groove to? Tune in on March 10.

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