Mumbai, April 22 (IANS) As campaigning for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections ended, Maharashtra politicians plummeted to new lows when they virtually bared each other’s ‘chaddis’ while hitting out at opponents.
The first soft tug at the secret garment was made by Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar at an election rally on Sunday in Madha.
The normally composed Pawar, 78, suddenly seemed to have let his guard down when he hit out at a senior NCP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, whose son Ranjitsinh recently crossed over to the BJP. Last week, Mohite-Patil Sr. even attended a rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Solapur.
“Now that you went there, I have nothing to say. But next time, don’t go there clad in half chaddies. Don’t compel us to see your thighs and legs… Exercise caution… What will the people think?” Pawar said amidst huge cheers and catcalls at the rally.
The obvious taunt was to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) whom opposition politicians usually refer to as ‘khaki chaddiwalas’ in private conversations.
Hitting back at Pawar, a livid Mohite-Patil, 75, said at another meeting, jeeringly asking “why the ‘langoti-clad pehelwan’ of Baramati ran away from the election arena” if he was not scared of the ‘chaddiwalas’.
As the controversy snowballed, the 48-year-old Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also jumped into the haute-couture political discussion by helpfully pointing out that the so-called “half ‘chaddi’ had given way to (brown) trousers long back (2016).”
“Don’t forget… it was with the support of these very same ‘chaddiwalas’ you refer to, that you had become Chief Minister first time (1978),” Fadnavis lashed out.
He warned that “it would be clear on May 23, when the election results are declared, whose ‘chaddi’ remains”.
The full-fledged ‘chaddi-langoti’ political war erupted a week after Samajwadi Party leader in Uttar Pradesh, Azam Khan made similar unparliamentary remarks on his BJP opponent and former Bollywood actress Jaya Prada.
Khan had created shockwaves with his comment: “In just 17 days, I had gauged that (her) underwear is of ‘khaki’ colour,” and has been booked for the same.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray went beyond ‘chaddis’ last week at a public meeting where he played a videotape on Modi announcing how 850,000 public toilets were built in a week in Bihar under the Swachhata Mission.
“How much is he fibbing? As per our calculations, the figure comes to seven toilets built per five seconds… You don’t even ‘get it out’ so quickly, but toilets were constructed at such top speeds,” Thackeray commented, having the audiences in splits and his speech videos went viral all over.