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BJP takes on "Jai Ho" campaign through "Bhay Ho" parody
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They may not have been Slumdog Millionaire stars attending the Oscar awards in Los Angeles but for three kids from the same Mumbai slums, traveling to Delhi and performing before a crowd of reporters and TV cameras was no less an achievement.

Durga, barely 10 years old, looked a little more confident than her two teenaged brothers, Nagarjuna and Bomendra, as the trio performed the "Jai Ho, Bhay Ho" at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi. We wonder why the BJP is doing such an 'ground on-ground activation'.

Standing on the dais in new clothes that they had been given to wear for the public appearance, the three were clueless about the political message they were delivering on behalf of BJP. They, however, were in their element as they sang in full-throated voices.

Durga played the tambourine with gusto, Nagendra a harmonium hanging from his neck and Bomendra, the improvised stone clappers that roadside singers use as a rhythm instrument.

What they produced was as good as any professional production. Whether this will fetch any votes for BJP remains to be seen but the three talented children and their performance are sure to catch the public eye.

The real story of course, lies in the manner in which Nishith Saran, whose agency Utopia has been entrusted with some of the TV and radio campaigns for BJP, stumbled upon the kids and the idea behind using them.

His friend Junaid Yusuf, a struggling young man in Mumbai's media circuit, got pally with three kids who were from the same place in Andhra Pradesh as he was. They had been singing on Mumbai trains since they landed in the city a year-and-a-half ago to make a living for themselves. They had left a mother who sells vegetables and a disabled father back home.

The Congress' Jai Ho campaign disturbed Yusuf, who had written a parody of it to talk about the sufferings of the people. He spoke about it to Saran, who loved the idea and used his friend's lyrics and the three siblings to convey the story of despair that BJP has made its campaign issue against the UPA government.

The song to counter Congress' Jai Ho ends with "Aatank ho, Mehengai ho, Bhookh ho, Bhay ho, phir bhi Jai Ho!". It will be aired on television news channels from April 6.

BJP is also planning to step up its Lok Sabha campaign by combining a personal contact programme through emails and SMSes with an advertising blitz targeting UPA's "non-performance", while rolling out its promises.

BJP is looking to marshal statistics and visuals to argue that development projects have slowed down, farm distress is unmitigated and terrorism threat undiminished.

The web-based campaign begins by hoping to enroll a lakh of volunteers online in addition to some 40,000 who have signed up. Those who sign up will be asked to organise small neighbourhood for discussions on politics and will be provided videos by the BJP.

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