The days in the run up to the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 have seen feverish campaigning from the BJP and the TMC, as they head to a poll that is crucial for both. Barbs, digs or name-calling â nothing has been off limits, with leaders from both parties taking on each other.
Amid this fight to win elections, a poll jingle by TMCÂ state spokesperson Debangshu Bhattacharya Dev has managed to stand out. The jingleÂ written by him has become the poll jingle for the TMC. He himself is seen reciting it at political rallies and meets with the crowds responding to loud chants of 'khela hobe'.
In an interview with CNN-News18, Dev said that while the BJP talked about violence, he thought of this slogan to challenge their narrative. When asked of his slogan was inspired from football, he said, "Pitted opposite their 11 players, we will have only one player. This player doesn't wear boots, but hawai chappal (rubber slippers)."
The 25-year-old member of the TMC also compared Suvendu Adhikari taking on Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram to Mahisasur, the demon, taking on Goddess Durga.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
The 'Khela Hobe' jingle has become the big song associated with the TMC. How did this strike you?
The idea of 'khela hobe' is to throw a challenge to the opposition. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh daily talks of attacking, killing people. So we thought, why should we allow violence? Politics can be a game. For example, if there are two teams â Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. In my house, for example, we may have supporters of the two teams and when we go to the stadium we support our teams. But when the match is over we all go out together. This should be the culture. Thats why I am saying 'khela hobe'. All their big leaders including Suvendu Adhikari is attacking this 25 year old from stage. Because the BJP is edgy, I feel my target by creating this slogan has been achieved.
In West Bengal sports, particularly football, did this idea of 'khela hobe' come from here?
Yes from here too. There is also another thing. There is a poem by Rabindranath Tagore. It's to do with khel or game. He ends his poem by saying that all anger and violence ends when sports comes in. These days there is an attempt to break the TMC. But when the fire of sports comes they will lose. They will have 11 players. They all will wear boots and they will have their own umpire. They will decide the pitch and wicket. But pitted opposite their 11 players, we will have only one player. This player doesn't wear boots, but hawai chappal (rubber slippers).
Don't you think she (Mamata Banerjee) is taking a huge risk by contesting only from Nandigram?
Mamata Bannerjee had said in 2016 in Nandigram that she is the candidate in all the 294 seats. Then Suvendu was with her and he was (involved in) Narada scam. He needed her then. It's like Mahisasur coming to Ma Durga and asking whether she will give Ganesha to him and then he says I will defeat Ma Durga. It's a mistake of Mahisasur. He should know that Ganesha was created by Ma Durga. You can't fight with Durga. Suvendu cannot take Rajiv to defeat Mamata. Every TMC worker and leader gets vote in the name of Didi. The second line of my slogan has become popular because of this. The second line of my 'khela hobe' song says "anyone who breaks TMC thinks they can break and defeat the TMC. It's not that easy. The day Didi ka picture or shadow is removed from behind them, that day there will be khela."
This song began with TMC but now I notice other parties like the Left and the BJP have also improvised on it.
I feel good about this. It's nice when a 25 year old's song is being used by others. But this suits us. It only increases our votes. This is because the song 'khela hobe' is associated with the TMC. So every time someone sings this, it means you are talking about the TMC. And I am not surprised. Because this is the habit of the BJP. They steal all our ideas. Like the Kanyashree scheme of ours has been copied to make it 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padao', or Nirmal Bangla has become Swachh Bharat. When they don't give credit to a chief minister, I don't expect then to give it to a 25 year old. But this is my satisfaction that today they are being forced to use 'khela hobe'. Some of them abuse me for having coined this slogan. Bengalis are smart, they are seeing all this and they understand everything.