The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Home idols left in lurch

July 20: “United” Bihar had reasons to root tonight. With four out of the 10 remaining contestants singing for the crown of “Indian Idol” hailing from Dhanbad and Patna, television viewers in the two states of Jharkhand and Bihar furiously voted for one or more of their idols.

Three students and a dentist made up the “united Bihar” brigade. But only one of them, Deepali from Patna, continues to study at the Patna Women’s College. While Abhishek Kumar had moved to Bangalore to study software engineering, Meiyang Chang, from a third generation Chinese family settled in Dhanbad, went to Mumbai for his degree. The best-known of the quartet, Puja Chatterjee, has learnt to sing from Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and now studies at a school in Indore.

But Puja’s family continues to live at Kumardhubi near Dhanbad while Abhishek’s mother is the headmistress of a school in Dhanbad. And Chang’s family clinic continues to be in the coal capital.

Viewers, however, were divided in their loyalty.

While home-maker Rajni Soni from Jamshedpur is emphatic that the winner this time must be from Jharkhand and says that people from the state must vote for “one of us”, a Class VI student, Anisha, declared that she found it difficult to ‘connect’ with Chang and felt that Puja “sings badly”. “ I am not going to vote for them,” she asserted while claiming that she does send out SMS votes for her idol, who she would not identify though.

With every TV channel hosting music talent hunts, and the format following the familiar route of audience-poll, some people appear to have got tired of voting. An accountant, Ram Prasad Sahu, claimed he watches the show regularly but has stopped voting.

He has simply lost his enthusiasm for voting, says Sahu. But Ashok Singh, a bank employee, quipped: “There are too many shows on television, and they are all similar.”

There were others like Seema Rawat, a college student, who do not trust the voting system. “The system is so obviously rigged because we keep watching the lousiest singers securing the highest votes,” she declared and informed that she does not vote for anyone, even if the contestant is from her home state.

Vipul Nayak, the well-known artist from Ranchi, is, however, rooting for Puja. “We all want the crown to come to Jharkhand and I myself have sent SMS for Puja. Her voice is good and I am sure she will bring laurels for the state.”

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