Patna, Oct 26: A small political outfit modelled on AAP is making its debut in Bihar elections, while a journalist seeking civic changes in the capital, along with a string of other independent candidates is testing fortunes in the hustings.
Styled as 'Gareeb Aadmi Party (GAP)' and barely a year-old, the Delhi-based new outfit says that like the 'Aam Aadmi Party' it seeks to offer an "alternative politics" and is asking voters to "mind the GAP" between "Modi camp and Nitish-led grand alliance". [Bihar Assembly Elections 2015: Full Coverage]
"We are fighting this polls with all our might and spirit and have fielded candidates for 19 seats including Digha, Danapur, Bankipur and Kumrahar, Phulwari, Patna Sahib in Patna district. Our candidates are also in the fray in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Hajipur as well.
Two of our candidates are also competing against Laluji's two sons in Mahua and Raghopur constituencies," GAP's national state president, Shyam Bhartiya told PTI.
The new party was founded in March, towards the fag end of the Lok Sabha polls last year, and it even fought on 11 seats then, albeit unsuccessfully.
Bhartiya, who rebelled from the AAP, said, "I still believe in the vision with which AAP was formed, so we chose to name it as GAP."
"We fought in UP, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, among other places, and though we failed to win any seat, our performance as a debutant was encouraging, and so, we decided to enter Bihar polls representing the common man.
And, even if we can win one seat in Bihar, it will be a moral victory for us," he said. Incidentally, the party's Bihar president Dilip Kumar Singh, rebelled from RJD to join GAP, and he says the "whistle party symbol" is for "driving the political thieves away".
Patna goes to polls on Wednesday, along with five other districts Bhojpur, Vaishali, Buxar, Nalanda, Saran -- in the third phase of the high-octave Bihar elections, which will span 50 crucial constituencies.
AAP is not in the fray in the Bihar polls. Dust will settle this evening in the six districts and loudspeakers and megaphones will fall silent, after the high-decibel political campaign ends ahead of the October 28 polls.
But, amid political giants like Modi-Shah-led NDA and Nitish Kumar-led "Grand Alliance", a journalist has decided to enter the battlefield, asking people to "reject political shenanigans" and vote for a pro-development candidate.
42-year-old Brajesh Mishra, editor of a small city-based monthly has plunged into the political battle from the crucial Kumrahar seat, which has a maximum number of 34 candidates, among all seats in Patna district.
"Our issues are quite simple but these are nagging problem of the area waterlogging due to poor drainage and provision of water And, Mishraji before entering politics has been campaigning for the welfare of people and betterment of civic issues by holding several dharnas," an official from his office in Ashok Nagar East area said.
Mishra today held a roadshow in his constituency before curtains come down on the poll campaigns.In Kumrahar, he faces BJP MLA Arun Kumar Sinha and a Congress candidate in Atiq Haider from the 'Grand Alliance', himself a former MLA. Mishra is riding on 'camera symbol' and so, chorus of "camera chap zindabad!" rent the air as his small group of supporters hold the roadshow.
But, whistles and cameras aren't the only quirky symbols in use this Bihar polls, as independents and small parties have added flavour and upped the fun quotient with such amusing choices.
So, two other independent candidates in Kumrahar are fighting the polls on 'pen-stand' and 'cylinder' symbols while Garib Janta Dal (Secular) is riding on an 'auto'.
The party's canvassing done on megaphones-carrying auto-rickshaws look amusing and attract quite a few eyeballs.
Then there is 'Krantikari Vikas Dal' with a 'chhari chhap' or stick symbol, adding further to the amusing list. But, it is not just names and symbols that are lending humour to the high-pitched electoral battle, the campaign songs too are quite a draw.
So, while Congress has gone with its pet Jay Ho theme, the Mahagathbandhan has used the Mahabharat serial opening theme lyrics to woo voters.
"Congress-JDU-RJD se aage badhe Bihar, jab bane Mahagathbandhan ki sarkar,' screams a loudspeaker during a canvassing in Kankar Bagh locality of Kumrahar constituency.
Adding to the list of oddities are -- green chilli, cauliflower, ice cream, shoe, chappals and bucket -- some of the election symbols which were allotted to registered, unrecognised political parties contesting the Assembly polls.
Some of the other parties in fray, which have interesting names include 'Aap Aur Ham Party', National Tiger Party, Saathi Aur Aapka Faisla Party and National Road Map Party of India.
Jitan Ram Manjhi's 'Hindustani Awaam Morcha (Secular) has been allotted 'telephone' as its symbol.His party has been granted the symbol to contest all the 243 seats.
'Lok Awaj Dal', another party contesting the polls, has been alloted green chilli as its symbol.It has been alloted symbol for 50 seats.
The 'ice cream' symbol has been alloted to Aam Janata Party Rashtriya. Bihar Assembly has 243 seats and the Wednesday polls hold key to the fate of six important districts and 50 crucial seats.
But, newbies pitted against biggies and independent candidates have certainly brought a different style of humour to the polls, otherwise seen and heard only in election rallies.