Barbs, name calling and more: Campaign 2024 discourse went down path of insults

08:52 AM Jun 01, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: ‘Vish guru’, ‘anubhavi chor’, ‘do shehzade’… As Election 2024 hurtles towards result day in a medley of ‘mangalsutra, mujra, mutton, machli’ and other barbs, these may sound like character names from Hindi comics of yore. Instead, these are the mocking, sometimes vicious monikers given by political rivals to each other.


Here is a sampler from the just concluded Lok Sabha campaign that got progressively more heated, quite like the summer sun scorching large swathes of India, with leaders from across the spectrum using political speak to sharpen their verbal knives with epithets, sarcasm and more:

* ‘Puppet king’ of ‘tempo billionaires’: Rahul attacks Modi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘puppet king’ of ‘tempo billionaires’ over his remarks on the Congress receiving ‘cash loaded in tempos’ from ‘Adani and Ambani’.

* ‘Do shehzade’: Modi’s jibe at Rahul, Akhilesh


‘Do shehzade’ (two princes) have come together for the politics of appeasement Modi said at a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh. He didn’t take any names but it was an apparent attack on Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and SP president Akhilesh Yadav,

* Modi the ‘vish guru’

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh lashed out at Modi over his speeches at election rallies, saying the language he used suggests he is not a ‘vishwa guru” but a ‘vish guru’. ‘Vishwa guru’ refers to a world leader. ‘Vish’ means poison.

* ‘Mandi me bhav’: Supriya Shrinate targets Kangana Ranaut

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate posted a picture of actor Kangana Ranaut, the BJP’s candidate from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and captioned it “Mandi me bhav kya chal raha hai”. The post faced massive backlash for being derogatory, prompting Shrinate to remove it from all her social media accounts.

* Modi ‘sva-ghoshit bhagwan’

Rahul Gandhi mocked Modi over his not “born biologically” remark by saying an ordinary person would have been taken to a psychiatrist had he/she uttered the statement. His colleague Jairam Ramesh went on to dub the prime minister ‘sva-ghoshit bhagwan’ (self-declared god) while attacking the BJP over the Agnipath scheme.

* Modi’s ‘anubhavi chor’ barb at Arvind Kejriwal

In a veiled dig at the Delhi chief minister during a TV interview, Modi said an ‘anubhavi chor’ knows how to clear his tracks. This was in response to a question on the absence of a cash trail in the alleged liquor policy scam in Delhi.

* INDIA bloc performing ‘mujra’ for its vote bank

Modi accused the INDIA bloc of “enslavement” and performing “mujra” for the Muslim vote bank and vowed to thwart alleged attempts to rob Dalits and backward classes of reservations by the opposition grouping.

* The four Ms, ‘mujra, mangalsutra, machhli, mutton’

A video of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav eating fish and Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Prasad consuming mutton allegedly during the month of Sawan was splashed in a big way by the BJP. Modi said opposition parties were displaying their Mughal mindset and teasing the majority community by sharing the videos to consolidate their vote banks.

He also accused the INDIA bloc of performing ‘mujra’ for the Muslim vote bank.

At a rally in Rajasthan, the prime minister claimed the Congress’ election manifesto promises to snatch away Hindu women’s ‘mangalsutra’ and redistribute it to ‘infiltrators’ and ‘those who have more children’ – alluding to Muslims. The issue was seized by opposition leaders, including Congress chief Kharge and RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, slamming Modi for the remarks.

* Modi’s ‘buffalo’ jibe against Congress

At an election rally in Gujarat, Modi attacked the Congress over the issue of inheritance tax, saying if someone has two buffaloes, the opposition party will take away one if it wins the Lok Sabha polls. Hitting back at the PM, Lalu Prasad of the RJD – a constituent of the INDIA bloc – said Modi will be given a camel.

* ‘Jhoothon ka sardar’ Modi

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, speaking in Haryana, sought the BJP’s response to its promise of two crore jobs each year, Rs 15 lakh in everyone’s bank account, and doubling of farmers’ income. He then called the PM ‘jhoothon ka sardar’ or the king of liars.

* ‘Amul babies’ Rahul and Priyanka

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma labelled Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi ‘Amul babies’, saying people in the state would rather see “tigers and rhinos in Kaziranga” than watch the siblings at their election campaign events.

* Bhagwant Mann ‘kagazi CM’

Addressing a rally in Punjab, Modi called AAP leader and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann a ‘kagazi CM’ — chief minister only on paper.

* ‘Bada pappu’, ‘chhota pappu’: Kangana Ranaut mocks Rahul Gandhi, Vikramaditya Singh

The actor referred to Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Vikramaditya Singh, who is also her rival in Mandi, as ‘bada pappu’ and ‘chhota pappu’. She also called the Congress “a disease” and “termite” left by Britishers.

* INDIA bloc ‘congregation of scamsters’

Modi said at a Bihar rally that the INDIA bloc was a “congregation of scamsters” and its leaders stood for corruption, appeasement politics and a “perverted anti-Sanatan mindset”.

* ‘Job-eater’ BJP

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dubbed the BJP “job-eater” after the Calcutta High Court scrapped the recruitment of nearly 26,000 teachers in the state. Banerjee accused the BJP of “conspiring” to stall the TMC government’s decision.

* Congress: ‘mureed’ of Pakistan

Modi called the Congress a ‘mureed’ (disciple) of Pakistan and said Islamabad was rooting for Rahul Gandhi as India’s next PM.

* ‘Samapt party’ and ‘kaun Congress’ — Rajnath’s dig at SP-Congress

Addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the SP and the Congress will be known as ‘Samapt Party’ and ‘Kaun Congress’ after the results are announced.

* ‘Shehzada’ insulted maharajas: PM on Rahul Gandhi

At a public meeting in Karnataka, Modi accused ‘shehzada’ Rahul Gandhi of insulting India’s rajas and maharajas but remaining silent on atrocities committed by the nawabs, nizams, sultans, and badshahs for the sake of appeasement politics.

* ‘Low-level citizen’ Rahul Gandhi

PV Anwar, an independent MLA supported by the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala, stirred a controversy after he called Rahul Gandhi a “low-level citizen” and suggested he should undergo a “DNA test”.

* ‘Tribal-hater’ Modi

Arvind Kejriwal alleged at a Jharkhand rally that “PM Modi hates tribals” as he had put the country’s ‘tallest tribal leader’, former CM Hemant Soren, behind bars.

* ‘Completely immature’ Rahul Gandhi

Miffed by Rahul Gandhi’s remarks wondering why Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan was not jailed by the BJP government at the Centre, unlike two other CM’s of opposition-ruled states, the veteran Marxist called the Congress leader ‘completely immature’.

He also said Rahul Gandhi “should not go back to his old name” — referring to former CM V S Achuthanandan’s remarks a decade ago calling the Congress leader an ‘Amul Baby’.


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