How to use an EVM, in vintage Lalu style

May 5th, 2009 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, May 5 (IANS) Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad is not just asking people to vote for him during his campaigns, he is also giving lessons on how to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in his trademark rustic style with loads of humour thrown in.
Lalu Prasad has been teaching people how to use the EVM correctly during each of his election meetings in Bihar’s Patliputra constituency where he is contesting from.

“Listen carefully and try to learn to use EVMs the right way as any mistake will spoil your vote … it will cost me,” the railway minister said at one of his rallies.

What makes everyone listen is his humorous way of explaining things.

With a dummy EVM in hand, Lalu said in Hindi: “Machinwa ko sahi se dekhna, bagal se khulega aur sahi se lalten par dabana, tab machinwa bolega peen-peen, agar nahin bola to samjho dal mein kuch kala hain.”

When translated, it means: “See the machine carefully and when it is unlocked, you press the button near the lantern (RJD’s symbol). It will then say ‘peen-peen’ and if doesn’t then there is something wrong.”

The railway minister mimicking the sound of the EVM has become a huge hit and a is a popular subject for discussion among voters.

“Lalu’s style to explain the use of EVM to voters is unmatched like his overall campaign. We are impressed by him,” said Bishnu Razak, a Dalit resident of a village near Maner, about 20 km from here.

RJD MP Ramkirpal Yadav, who accompanied Lalu on his campaign, said he has managed to create voting awareness among the poor and illiteratre in rural areas.

“Unlike other politicians, Lalu-ji is the only leader who is educating and motivating voters to vote the right way,” he said.

Lalu Prasad, who is also contesting from Saran, has been addressing nearly a dozen election meetings daily and conducting roadshows in the evening for the past four days in several localities. His loyalists are upbeat about the large crowds at his meets.

“Lalu’s crowd-pulling ability and his charismatic image are evident during the campaign,” said Modassar Alam of Alba colony in Phulwarisharief.

His rivals also admit it is difficult to match the former chief minister’s campaigning style.

“Lalu’s oratorial skills have proved that his earthy language, witty one-liners and antics work like magic with villagers who flock to his public meetings to listen to him,” a leader of the state’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) said.

Apart from using the popular Bhojpuri dialect, Lalu Prasad also never fails to identify himself as being one amongst the villagers by recalling his humble beginnings, chewing tobacco or ‘paan’ and covering his head with a cotton towel to beat the scorching heat.

The JD-U has fielded former RJD MP Ranjan Prasad Yadav, who was a close friend of Lalu Prasad until a few years ago, from Patliputra.

The Congress has also fielded a former RJD MP, Vijay Singh Yadav, in the largely rural constituency, which will go to the polls May 7.

Lalu Prasad currently represents Chapra in the Lok Sabha, but this constituency has been named Saran after delimitation.

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