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Posted at: Oct 9, 2019, 7:53 AM; last updated: Oct 9, 2019, 7:53 AM (IST)

Dasehra becomes poll rallying point

Politicians from all parties project themselves as Lord Rama, rivals as Ravana
Dasehra becomes poll rallying point
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda aims at Ravana’s effigy during a Dasehra ceremony at Rohtak on Tuesday. Photo: Manoj Dhaka

Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service
Rohtak, October 8

Politicians use all occasions — celebrations, death anniversaries, social movements and national or religious festivities — to further their political interests. And when such an occasion falls in the run-up to elections, they participate in it with all the more keenness. This year’s Dasehra being a case in point.

Prominent political leaders of the ruling as well as opposition parties are invited to Dasehra ceremonies as “chief guests” or “guests of honour”, while small-time politicos get themselves invited by offering hefty donations or contributions to organisers.

At these ceremonies, the invited politicians and their supporters try to project themselves as Lord Ram and their rivals as Ravana. The organisers play along as they offer them bows and arrows to aim at Ravana’s effigy amid a sizeable gathering of people.

In the name of Ravana, politicians take potshots at their opponents, while gullible masses cheer loudly.

“Democracy is a game of numbers. Politicians get a readymade set-up of a public gathering where they simply walk in, get garlanded, deliver a speech and project themselves as the saviours of the masses without breaking sweat,” says Prof Rajender Sharma, head of political science department, Maharshi Dayanand University, (MDU), Rohtak.

Socio-political observers point out that it’s a win-win-win situation for all. People and their children return home after seeing a scintillating spectacle of Ravana going up in flames, politicians lap up an opportunity to address a gathering and organisers are happy on getting funds, a sound social image and good relations with political bigwigs.

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