Battle of the toons in Punjab polls

Congress, Akalis attack each other with cartoon characters 

The electoral battle for Punjab's 117 Assembly seats was never expected to be  without colour. As the state goes for polls on Jan uary 30, a bout of mudslinging has begun among the major political players in the state.

When the opposition Congress unleashed 'Jeeta and Jaggi', the ruling, Shiromani Akali Dal retaliated with 'Jhootha and Thaggi'.

 The fight between the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government has now come down to cartoons. 'Jeeta and Jaggi' are fictional characters created by a Congress think tank for the forthcoming Assembly polls.

Every day, in newspaper ads and FM radio ads, these characters make funny comments on the SAD-BJP government. To counter this SAD-BJP government started 'Jhootha and Thaggi' campaign.

The Akali Dal officially complained to the Election Commission on Wednesday blaming the Congress for its "factually incorrect, mischievous and false advertisements targeted at the SAD with the sole purpose of confusing the electorate at this crucial juncture".

Action sought

The party also sought "exemplary action against the Congress party for repeatedly flouting the directives of the EC despite earlier warnings".

The EC had to intervene earlier this month after the Akalis complained of an ad campaign, which used the word 'kaka'. Media monitoring committee found it objectionable. The apparent reference was to Akali Dal president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal. Sukhbir is called 'kakaji' by his father, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Lighter side

Satirist-comedian Jaspal Bhatti, in a lighter vein, urged the Commission to allow leaders and contesting candidates to indulge in "mudslinging and even character assassination to some extent".

Bhatti, the brand icon of the Commission for these polls, continues to urge voters to exercise their franchise. "Sometimes choice becomes difficult when two rival candidates are looters of the same level.

‘When candidates dig up each other's scandals, it provides entertainment to the public and they get involved in the democratic process with greater interest," said Bhatti.

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