Bhopal, November 2
Popular characters from the 1975 Hindi blockbuster ‘Sholay' have entered the political discourse ahead of the November 17 Madhya Pradesh assembly elections.
The opposition Congress and the ruling BJP are accusing each other of looting the state drawing parallels with the film's characters, who were associated with crime in some way or the other.
The Congress said the “bonhomie” between its state president Kamal Nath and senior leader Digvijaya Singh was akin to the bond shared by ‘Jai' and ‘Veeru', played by Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra respectively, in the film, while Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Jai and Veeru were fighting over the distribution of “plundered booty”.
Nath termed Chouhan ‘Gabbar Singh', the movie's lead villain.
Elections to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly will be held in a single phase on November 17.
Noted scriptwriter and filmmaker Rumi Jaffery told PTI, “It is a matter of satisfaction that dialogues and characters picturised by us decades back in films like 'Sholay' or ‘Mughal-e-Azam' are still relevant and people are using them even today. These characters are timeless and will remain so.”
The Jai-Veeru duo entered the political arena in the state after a protest over ticket distribution led Nath to make his “tear clothes of Digvijaya Singh and his son Jaivardhan Singh” remark. It sparked speculation that all was not well between the two former Congress chief ministers.
Responding to a question, Congress general secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh Randeep Singh Surjewala equated the friendship between Nath and Singh with the one shared by Jai and Veeru.
The BJP seized the opportunity to hit back at the grand old party on the issue.
CM Chouhan took a swipe at Singh and Nath, referring to them as Jai and Veeru who, he said, were fighting between themselves over the distribution of “plundered booty”.
Veteran journalist Girija Shankar told PTI, “It is a needless controversy and Chouhan should not have entered into it. By targeting Jai-Veeru (Nath and Digvijaya), he (Chouhan) automatically became Gabbar as Jai-Veeru were known for their friendship and not remembered as thieves.”
Chouhan invoked the characters after reports said Singh and Nath were in Delhi on Tuesday to meet the Congress leadership.
In a video statement shared on his X account, Chouhan said, “Jai-Veeru duo was called to Delhi. As newspapers reported, they (Congress leaders) are saying that the BJP is creating confusion (about differences between Nath and Singh). Why has Delhi (Congress leadership) called them? Jai and Veeru are fighting between themselves over the 'loot ka maal'”.
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