Pitted against sitting MP from Trinamool Congress Kalyan Banerjee and Congress’s Abdul Mannan, 62-year old popular music composer Bappi Lahiri presents a different picture when compared with his opponents.
First, the dresses are remarkably different. If Kalyan is dressed in the trademark politico uniform of white kurta-pajamas, ‘Bappi-da’ is bejeweled and he never takes off his large goggles. Lahiri, however, has given up much of the gold ornaments he otherwise sports.
Their rhetoric is also markedly different — if Banerjee has been sharpened over the years as a political leader and veteran of one election, Lahiri’s has been honed performing on stages across the country.
As these two make their way through the Serampore constituency, braving the heat and humidity and cutting through crowds, they have been drawing people, one with the tried-and-tested speeches of a seasoned politician and the other with the practiced charm of a public figure and a celebrity.
Even as Lahiri is drawing large crowd to his rallies, road shows and street meetings, the question remains if he would be able to ride the Narendra Modi wave and trump Mamata Banerjee’s close aide. In a bid to ensure that Lahiri can draw people to the polling booths and make sweet music for BJP, Modi is making his third trip to Bengal on April 27 to address a rally at Uttarpara in Hooghly district.
Modi will campaign for both Lahiri and Chandan Mitra who is trying his luck from Hooghly constituency.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders said that Trinamool workers have removed hoardings with Lahiri’s images. “Trinamool is removing his (Lahiri’s) hoardings. They have stooped to this low level but they cannot remove Bappi-da from the hearts of the people,” BJP state president Rahul Sinha told reporters.
While kicking off his poll campaign from Serampore earlier this month, the ‘Disco King’ of Bollywood told reporters that he is looking forward to a healthy fight.
Lahiri said he has plans to make Serampore, on the banks of river Hooghly, a major tourist hub. He said he will also set up a music academy in the constituency. The Serampore constituency comprises of five assembly segments in Hooghly district and two in Howrah district.