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Since 1st March, 1999
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Crooning darts at Digvijay

New Delhi, Nov. 11: Remember the Rajendra Kumar-Sadhana 1960s starrer Arzoo' A hit Mohammad Rafi song picturised on this duo in a picturesque Kashmir locale had the entire nation humming: “Ae phoolon ki rani, baharon ki malika/ tera muskurana ghazab ho gaya… (, queen of the flowers, empress of the outdoors/ your smile is devastating…)”

It is the Hindu hriday samrat (monarch of Hindu hearts) who has decided to make use of the popular ditty as the BJP seeks to turn the heat on Digvijay Singh. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has done a take-off on the popular song, putting the lyrics to “devastating” use as he tours the heartland.

The ode will not be sung to a queen of hearts, but to Modi’s Madhya Pradesh counterpart, Digvijay Singh.

The chief minister, who will be touring Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan shortly, has reworked the lyrics and sung the parody himself, BJP sources said.

The improvised song runs thus: “Ae, gaddon ke raja, ujale ka dushman/ tera muskurana ghazab dha gaya (, king of the pits, enemy of light/ your smile has left us devastated).” Digvijay is known to have a ready smile.

The next stanza goes: “Na truck ke liye road, na bus ke liye sadak/ us par musafir ghazab dha gaya (No road for trucks, no street for buses/ you have left travellers truly wonderstruck)”.

This and similar parodies of Hindi film songs have been woven into a cassette by Modi, which BJP sources say, is in “heavy demand”. “Much more than the speeches of our central leaders,” they add.

The controversial chief minister, billed as the BJP’s “star campaigner”, will be deployed in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and in areas bordering Gujarat.

Sources expect the “post-Godhra (carnage) Gujarat effect” to work to the maximum in these areas. The areas are largely inhabited by tribals who supported the BJP in a big way for the first time during the December 2002 Gujarat elections. The party hopes to dent this traditional Congress stronghold this time through the “Modi effect”.

“We don’t want to lose our traditional Hindutva votes and we want an accretion as well. Modi will use the same idiom he did in Gujarat,” sources said. His speeches are expected to resonate with references to “Mian (Pervez) Musharraf” and the Congress’ “pandering” to Muslims as well as its patronage of Islamic jihadis.

The BJP strategy is to have chief ministerial candidate Uma Bharti project a more “serious” image to impress voters while Modi appeals to Hindutva votaries.

The chief minister will flag off the Madhya Pradesh campaign on November 18. The same day, Atal Bihari Vajpayee will kickstart the Rajasthan campaign with meetings in Bikaner and Udaipur. L.K. Advani will launch electioneering in Chhattisgarh the same day, and BJP chief M, Venkaiah Naidu will do likewise in Delhi.

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