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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Punjab parties tap singers but can they sing their way into voters’ hearts?

Ahead of the high-octane assembly polls in Punjab, political parties are banking on popular folk singers to woo a cross-section of society, including young voters. This means “tickets” for the Punjabi singers are in high demand among parties.

On Tuesday morning, a controversy erupted after Punjabi folk singer Buta Mohammad joined the BJP in Ludhiana in the presence of Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and other party leaders. On the same evening, he was seen with former Congress leader and CM Captain Amarinder Singh in pictures.

The singer later clarified that he had only accompanied his friend, Sardar Ali, also a singer, who joined Captain Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress.

How music became the voice of farmers’ protest

The farmers’ protest saw a lot of musicians and artists join the fight with farmers against the farm laws. Many in Punjab say that one such rally in Batala, held in September last year before farmers marched to Delhi, was a turning point.

The musicians at the rally stood in solidarity with the farmers agitating against the three farm laws. It was not merely about the song, but about the constitution and singers. People suddenly took notice of them. The singers did live shows at the Tikri and Shahjahanpur protest points and played an important role by using music and their voices to express emotions.

Some said that farmers initially resisted the support of singers as youngsters thronged them. But later, there was unanimous support for the farmers. Several farmer leaders may be dabbling with the idea of joining hands with political parties.

Political parties’ rush towards singers

The 31-year-old singer, Anmol Gagan Maan, who is an AAP candidate from Kharar, has 2.4 million followers on Twitter. AAP has fielded another singer, Balkar Sidhu, from Rampura Phul, with speculation that there could be another in their kitty, with singer Balbir Chotian’s name doing the rounds in Bathinda-Rural constituency.

Another 28-year-old hip-hop and rap singer, “Sidhu Moose Wala,” who joined hands with Congress and is their candidate for Mansa, has close to ten million subscribers on YouTube. Several of his songs, like “Old Skool” and “Dhakka,” have over 100 million hits.

Incidentally, in one of the videos, he is seen supporting an underdog candidate who is being bullied by another strong-armed candidate in the student council elections. He is known for his controversial lyrical style, often promoting gun culture, and has been allegedly on the wrong side of the law.

At his maiden public rally on December 11, the singer-actor Sidhu Moose Wala faced protests from his party workers as he got ready to address the crowd in Mansa, leading to a question if he would be an apt candidate.

Another reason for the parties’ rush towards singers is data which suggests that in the last Punjab assembly elections held in 2017, the 1840 age group comprised 53 per cent of the total electorate. Besides the high-decibel singers attracting youth, the parties consider them as “bankable” stars. While several of the new joinees are relatively unknown, most are A- or B-category stars even by Pollywood standards (Punjabi film industry), but several have made their names in their fields or are regional stars. Several others have shied away.

Bollywood actor Sonu Sood denied his intention to join any political party ahead of the upcoming polls in Punjab. The actor, however, announced his sister Malvika’s decision to enter politics by contesting from Moga. She is yet to decide which party she could join.

This news has been auto published and not checked by ourt staff

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