From limericks to hashtags, the war of words is raging on both traditional and social media platforms.
Kolkata: Words are being shot like arrows in West Bengal as various parties take part in the country's biggest political Game of Thrones, the Lok Sabha elections.
Be it limericks like 'Let Lotus sink and flower bloom' or social media hashtags like 'Ei Trinamool Arr na' (No more of Trinamool), the war of words is raging on both traditional and social media platforms.
Bengal's favourite political rhymes are still ruling as wall writings in different areas. Catchy ones targeting Prime minister Narendra Modi and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee like 'Mile Mishe loote khaaye bujhe geche janata, Oparar Modi arr Eparar Momota' (The public is now aware that together, Modi and Mamata are responsible for looting) coined by the CPI-M have a lot of sheen.
The Congress' Bengal unit has published a booklet "Dwicharita (double-faced)" targeting Modi as a failed 'chowkidar' (watchman) and Banerjee as a 'paharadar' (guard).
The state's ruling Trinamool Congress gets a brownie point for addressing the issue of environment, with its graffiti saying: 'Ekti vote ekti gaach, poribesh dushon nipaat jak' (one vote, one plant, pollution stay at bay) in Balurghat. Their Mandarin graffiti to woo Chinese voters of Tangra has also become the talk of the town.
"As campaign methods have changed, we are emphasising on social media with live streaming of all meetings, songs and images. Traditional media is also being used. Our slogans '42 e 42' (42 out of 42) and '2019 BJP Finish' are being used extensively," Trinamool Secretary General and state minister Partha Chatterjee told IANS.
The state has 42 Lok Sabha seats.
It is literally a head-on competition between Trinamool and BJP when it comes to social media campaigns. While Trinamool's media workers churned out video contents like 'Pradhan Mantri Hishab Do', a glimpse of BJP's theme song composed by Union Minister Babul Supriyo created a storm on the internet.
But the viewer's madness landed the song 'Phutbe ebar Padma phool, Bangla Charo Trinamool' (Trinamool leave Bengal, lotus will bloom) in a soup as it was circulated without obtaining pre-certification from the Election Commission.
"Even though the original version is banned, it had served its purpose as it had reached the listeners. They have got the crux of the lyrics. In 2011, Trinamool's 'Onek Hoyeche Arr Na' (Enough is enough) targeting the Left rule became very popular. Similarly, the BJP's song has become viral," Political analyst Bimal Shankar Nanda said.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said traditional media like posters, banners, wall writings, and flags can never be done away with and are being used, but the party has expanded its network using social media.
"We have connected our members through social media and also connected with the public using Modi App. We also directly call the public, send our appeal and also talk about issues," Sinha said.
This year, giving everyone others tough competition, the Left supporters have struck the right chords with Sherlock Holmes and video game character Naoto Shirogane-themed memes on social media to appeal the young voters in Durgapur.
In the memes, the young Shirogane is seemingly influenced by the Trinamool's publicity blitz, and poses questions to Holmes, who has been depicted as a Leftist. They present a series of facts targeting Trinamool.
On the other hand, high voltage sloganeering was also evident during public meetings, rallies and campaigns.
If Mamata Banerjee coined 'Expiry Babu' for Narendra Modi, he responded with his 'speed-breaker didi' jibe.
Amidst all the witty, creative rhymes, the darker side of social media surfaced when Trinamool's celebrity candidates Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan were subjected to online trolling. However, it drew widespread criticism and people, irrespective of their political inclinations, came out in support of the two actresses.
Political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty explained that the "use of the traditional medium is a necessity" as it shows the presence of political parties in a particular area.
"Seeing the banners, posters, and wall writings, one can gauge the presence of the opposition parties. If the party is not strong enough they won't be able to face the ruling party and put up their banners and other campaign material," Chakraborty added.
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