Bella Ciao to 'Khela Hobe': Bengal Election campaign takes a quirky turn

West Bengal Assembly election
The stakes are high in Bengal Elections this year.

If J P Nadda, PM Narendra Modi, and Amit Shah — the star campaigners of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) — were not enough to attest to that, the Election Commission's eight-phase schedule for Bengal that will stretch for well over a month surely would.

But even as the election nears and political mercury is on the rise, the state is feeling the heat in another rather refreshing way — an unprecedented battle of songs.

It all began months ago, when Trinamool Congress (TMC), the ruling party in the state, came up with a feet-tapping jingle — 'Didimoni Tomai Chai' (Didi, we want you back). It was soon countered by BJP's 'Ei Trinamool ar na' (Not Trinamool, not again), sang by party MP Babul Supriyo, an established name in the Bengali music industry. 

Last week, BJP stole the show with 'O Pishi Jao' — a spin-off of the famous Italian communist song 'Bella Ciao' — which has been a trademark of every leftist students' protest in Bengal for ages, a tune that Kolkata knows by heart. 

ALSO READ: From Tumpa song to flash mobs, Left goes for a revamp in West Bengal

The song takes a dig at 'Pishi' (aunt) Mamata's government saying Bengal is being deceived. It starts off by accusing the state government of violence, crumbling infrastructure and famine, and has drawn mixed reactions from netizens.

This was in response to TMC's 'Khela Hobe' (Game On), a song that has garnered nearly 5 million views on YouTube. While highlighting the state government's schemes like Kanyashree and Swastha Sathi, and blaming BJP for inflation, the Hathras incident—the jingle focuses on the insider-outsider theme calling BJP as 'borgi' (invaders). In fact, on multiple occasions, the TMC and even the BJP leadership was seen raising 'Khela Hobe' slogan while campaigning across the state.

Meanwhile, CPIM's youth wing has brought campus politics out in the open with not just songs but also street theatre and flash mob performances. The Left party has come up with the remake of a recent chartbuster 'Tumpa Shona' for an upcoming rally. 

The song, which has been doing the rounds for a few weeks now, launched a scathing attack on 'Bijemool' (BJP and TMC) for the fuel price hikes, unemployment, various scams and protests. Another parody song of TMC's 'Khela Hobe' with a similar theme has also been gaining traction since Friday. This unparalleled battle of beats is nevertheless keeping the poll-bound state entertained.

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