Harvest songs flavour in rural Bihar Lok Sabha election campaign

PTI | Patna | Updated: 08-04-2024 11:54 IST | Created: 08-04-2024 11:54 IST
Harvest songs flavour in rural Bihar Lok Sabha election campaign
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It is harvesting season in Bihar where a large section of the people is busy in 'katni' (harvesting) of rabi crops while keeping an eye on the hustle and bustle of Lok Sabha polls.

No wonder, many Lok Sabha candidates are utilising the services of folk singers well versed in ''katni'', a genre named after the colloquial term for harvesting.

Popular farmer leader and Bihar's former Agriculture minister Sudhakar Singh, who is RJD's nominee from the Buxar Lok Sabha seat, told PTI, ''Yes, we take help of local folk singers, experts in singing Katni songs while campaigning in rural areas during harvesting season. We are taking their help in this election also.'' According to the Bihar Economic Survey (2023-24) the state has over 88 per cent rural population and 50 per cent of its workforce is engaged in agriculture.

''We plan our campaign in rural areas of my constituency keeping the harvesting season in mind. It is true that most of the time, rural electorates are found in the field because of the ongoing harvesting season. We take care of farmers,'' said Singh.

The harvesting season of Rabi crops, especially wheat, typically starts in April and continues until May 15. Most of the rural electorates are farmers or farm labourers. Candidates also use famous local folk singers and experts in harvesting (Katni) songs to lure rural voters during the campaign. Lok Sabha elections for the 40 seats in Bihar will be held in seven phases on April 19, 26, May 7, 13, 20, 25, and June 1.

Elaborating the importance of folk song forms of Bihar pertaining to rural life, well-known Bhojpuri folk singer Bharat Sharma Vyas, who has sung about 4,500 songs in Bhojpuri language, told PTI, ''Bihar has folk songs for every occasion. Ropani, Katni, Batohiya and Bidesiya songs are world-wide popular…Chhath puja songs, 'fagua' (during Holi), Chaita, Hindola, Chaturmasa and Barhamasa etc. are other internationally popular folk songs of Bihar''.

''Folk singers, experts in Chaita and Katni songs, play an important role during elections. Candidates engage these artists during elections to effectively interact with rural voters, especially farmers and labourers. The same thing is happening in this election also in Bihar as harvesting season is on,'' said Vyas.

''It is true that the Katni (harvesting) season has already started in Bihar and candidates contesting polls plan their campaign as per engagement of rural electorates especially farmers. Candidates plan special strategies to woo this large chunk of voters. Because of this season, we organise meetings (chaupals) in rural areas only after 10 am or 11 am, by the time farmers and labourers come back from the fields,'' senior JD (U) leader and Bihar Rural Development Minister, Shrawan Kumar, told PTI.

The minister said candidates take help of local folk artists, who are experts in katni songs. ''Folk songs of Bihar are a beautiful recital of daily rural life. Bihar has folk songs for every occasion,'' Kumar, a close confidant of Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, is a star campaigner of JD(U) in the state. Sudama Prasad, CPI(M-L) Liberation sitting MLA from Tarari assembly seat, who is contesting Lok Sabha polls from Arrah as Grand Alliance nominee, told PTI, ''We all constituents of Grand Alliance have been fighting for justice of farmers in the country as well as in Bihar. Farmers are our top priority. Since the harvesting season is going on, I make sure to interact with farmers and labourers almost every day in rural areas of the Arrah seat during my campaign. Apart from meeting family members of farmers and labourers during my door- to-door campaign, I meet them (farmers and labourers) in the field also.'' ''Yes, sometimes, we also take help from local folk singers/artists who are experts in Katni songs. It is true that through folk songs, especially Katni songs, one can interact with rural voters easily,'' said Prasad.

Echoing a similar view, Sanjay Jaiswal, former BJP president of Bihar, who is seeking re-election from the Paschim Champaran Lok Sabha seat, told PTI, ''Because of the harvesting season, I make it sure to campaign in urban areas before 10 am or 11 am and after that, I start campaigning in rural areas of my constituency. During the day, farmers either remain at home or in public places in villages.'' ''The BJP workers in my constituency always remain in touch with farmers. I am always available for farmers of my constituency in their time of need,'' said Jaiswal.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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