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Posted at: Apr 19, 2019, 7:32 AM; last updated: Apr 19, 2019, 7:32 AM (IST)

Comic relief amid poll din in Punjab

Artistes, musicians drum up support for candidates
Comic relief amid poll din in Punjab
Gurchet Chitarkar, acclaimed theatre artiste whose play, a satire on the Sirsa dera (banned in 2013), is going from village to village campaigning for Paramjit Kaur Khalra this election season. Photo: Sarabjit Singh

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 18

Stand up comedians and theatre artistes are lending colour to the otherwise drab poll campaigning in Punjab. While Gurchet Chitarkar and his team is going village to village with “,” a satire on deras, to galvanise support for Punjab Ekta Party’s Khadoor Sahib candidate Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Gurdev Singh Dhillon aka Bhajna Amli is drumming up support for the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). 

A follower of Bhai Manna Singh, Gurchet says: “Theatre can’t be muzzled. It’s the people’s voice”. Having campaigned for the Aam Aadmi Party earlier, he says: “Jaswant Khalra fought for those dead. Our fight is for the living. We will stand by Khalra’s widow.”

Bhajna Amli visited Jhunga, Bhikhiwind and Sur Singh Wala in Nurpur Bedi about a fortnight ago to campaign for SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, his rustic humour striking a chord with many a person in the crowds. “I entertain the crowds before politicians arrive for speeches. My comedy is interspersed with messages on female foeticide and drugs. My art is non-partisan. I campaigned for the Akalis during previous elections too. If the Badals call me, I’ll oblige them. If the Congress wants me, I’ll oblige them too,” he says.

Theatre group Pragati Kala Kendar has been rooting for Dr BR Ambedakar for the past 25 years. Harsh, the in-charge of the Tajpur unit, says: “We are Socialists and our aim is to take Dr Ambedakar’s message forward. So we are campaigning for the BSP.”

 Zira-based Ramandeep Singh, who opened ‘Bhau Records’ last month, is also backing Khalra. The troupe released “Lawaris Laashan Da Waris” on YouTube on Baisakhi. “Many, including former Akali sarpanches, are unaware of Bibi’s struggle. The proceeds from the song will help fund Bibi’s campaign,” he says.


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