A band performance, cheering supporters, thunderous applause and then…the vote appeal. These are the scenes from the “high-decibel” campaigning in Meghalaya, India’s music hub, as political parties use every style, from western to folk, to connect with voters barely a month ahead of the Assembly elections.
At a recent rally of the National People’s Party (NPP), waving flags, youths and women supporters of the party danced as Shillong-based band ‘Colours’ enthralled the audience with their live performance. Amid the calls for ‘Vote for NPP’, the children remained the showstealers, as they broke out into a dance.
Not far behind, the Meghalaya Trinamool Congress (TMC) launched campaign songs in two languages – Khasi and Garo — simultaneously in Shillong and Tura. The songs – Hoi Kiw Haka TMC in Khasi and Ahowee Inchrona in Garo – call people to march towards development and change with the Meghalaya TMC. TMC State President Charles Pyngrope launched the Khasi version with Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, leader of AITC Parliamentary Party, while TMC Legislature Party Leader Dr Mukul Sangma introduced the Garo rendition in the Tura Party Office amid other leaders and media.
We are energised by the show of support and love to the National People’s Party as we laid down our mission for 2023 and presented before the people, the People’s Report of our initiatives from 2018-2023 leading the MDA Government. pic.twitter.com/jqII0r1SBP— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) January 12, 2023
Dr Mukul Sangma said, “Our campaign song speaks for itself. It resonates with the hopes and aspirations of our beloved people from all walks of life. It is a reflection of the pulse of the people and our resolve to respond to the needs of our people. This song tells our commitment to address the concerns of youth who are victims of unemployment and other issues. This campaign song talks about the change that is needed, and is inevitable. It is also a replica of the sense of oneness among the people of Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, and Garo Hills.” Derek O’Brien said, “The focus of Meghalaya TMC is ‘of the people of Meghalaya, for the people of Meghalaya, and by the people of Meghalaya’. Even something like the campaign song and its video was written, visualised, and edited by the people of Meghalaya.”
POLITICIANS DON’t MISS A BEAT
During their campaigns, most politicians are accompanied by local folk singers and dancers, with some even hiring DJs.
Politicians in Meghalaya not only love music, but are musicians themselves, be it Chief Minister Conrad Sangma or leader of opposition and TMC leader Dr Mukul Sangma or Speaker of Meghalaya Legislative and United Democratic Party president Metbah Lyngdoh. The dance of Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong has its own fan following.
Several videos of Conrad Sangma playing popular numbers on the electric guitar have gone viral on social media.
EC SINGS THE SAME TUNE
In the state, even the Election Commission (EC) produces videos and hosts concerts, asking people to exercise their franchise.
‘Vote for sure’, ‘let’s get inked’, ‘Decide to vote’, ‘I will vote’, ‘I believe in what I can do with my vote’ are some of the messages the election department is trying to spread.
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