Poster war: BJP, Cong cast(e) aspersions on each other

Poster war: BJP, Cong cast(e) aspersions on each other

The BJP hoarding put up by its Yuva Morcha in Patna proclaims all its top leaders as ‘Bharatiya’ (Indian), while the Congress poster has mentioned ‘caste’ on the photograph of each of its party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi. Photos by Mohan Prasad

A poster war has escalated between the two national parties – the BJP and the Congress – here in Patna.

It was actually the Congress which apparently initiated the slugfest. The grand old party put up a huge cut-out soon after Madan Mohan Jha was appointed the president of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) recently.

Nothing wrong in it, as it has been the tradition of every party to welcome its new state president with posters, banners and hoardings. But the hoarding, put up a junior party leader Siddhartha, near the Income Tax crossing, had one fault-line. It mentioned the caste of each and every leader depicted in the poster. For example, it said Brahmin in case of Madan Mohan Jha, Rajput in case of Shakti Sinh Gohil (the young leader from Gujarat, who is in-charge, Bihar affairs), Backward for Sadanand Singh (former Assembly Speaker) and Brahmin for Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The BJP was quick to launch a vitriolic attack on the Congress charging it with playing caste card in this part of the cow-belt. “The Congress poster shows the mindset of the party. The Election Commission should take cognisance of the matter,” said BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand.

The BJP, in a counter-offensive, put up a hoarding where it mentioned ‘Bharatiya’ (Indian) on the poster of each and every leader, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Ministers Ravishankar Prasad, RK Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav. This poster was put up by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, congratulating the prime minister on receiving the Champions of the Earth award.

“The BJP should not lecture us on the issue of caste. It’s a common knowledge how the prime minister played the caste card during 2015 Assembly elections in Bihar when he said 'since I hail from ati-pichda (extremely backward class, EBC), my opponents target me.’ Besides, recently, a Union minister has started using his ‘gotra’ before his name,” said one of the AICC spokespersons and party MLC Prem Chandra Mishra. His jibe was in apparent reference to Giriraj Singh, who, while mentioning his 'gotra' as ‘Shandilya’, had said that henceforth, he should be called "Shandilya Giriraj Singh."

With the war of words turning murkier, both the parties have now removed their respective hoardings.