Of dogs, wealth and hairstyle in Assam elections

April 2nd, 2009 - 12:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Syed Zarir Hussain
Tezpur (Assam), April 2 (IANS) Witty comments laced with rustic humour besides personal affront at rivals has become the dominant trait among politicians in Assam as electioneering gathers momentum for the parliamentary polls scheduled April 16 and 23.

“A barking dog never bites…it simply barks and barks. I am a dog that never barks but loves to do my work silently,” said Mani Kumar Subba, controversial Congress party MP and candidate for the Tezpur parliamentary seat.

Speaking at an election rally in the garrison town of Tezpur in north Assam Wednesday, Subba went on: “I know most of our people are into agriculture and cultivate rice so when it comes to voting press the button on the hand symbol…but never press the button on the elephant (poll symbol of the Asom Gana Parishad-AGP) as you know elephants would come and feast on your cropland.”

Subba’s witty election speech in Assamese with a strong Nepali flavour (his mother tongue is Nepali) was responded to by the big crowd with hearty cheers and catcalls.

Subba is fighting to retain the Tezpur seat for the fourth straight term although he is mired in a citizenship row with the case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Perfume baron and leader of the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) Badruddin Ajmal is another contestant known for his wit, at times becoming personal.

“I am a crorepati (millionaire)…who said I don’t have money? I have more money than the chief minister of Assam,” Ajmal said amid cheers by his supporters.

Ajmal was forced to publicly flaunt his wealth after media reports quoting his affidavit accompanying his nomination papers showed that he and his wife had just about Rs.750,000 cash in hand.

And Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for Guwahati Bijoya Chakraborty is no muck when it comes to witty speeches.

“He (Congress candidate for Guwahati Capt Robin Bordoloi) is a useless son of a worthy father (Late Gopinath Bordoloi, first chief minister of Assam),” Chakravorty said, evoking thunderous applause from her supporters.

BJP’s star campaigner Hema Malini managed to turn a few heads with her dialogues from the Bollywood blockbuster “Sholay” but when it came to adorning her with the traditional japi (bamboo hat, a symbol of felicitating guests), the dream girl was not too amused.

In one of the rallies, BJP supporters felicitated her with the traditional gamocha (hand woven towel) but then when someone tried putting the japi on her head, Hema Malini was visibly worried that her neat hairstyle would get ruffled.

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