The Bihar assembly elections have not only taken the political battle to a newer level but has also given us the gift of some 'eerie' yet fresh words when it comes to taking a dig at each other. The 'Netas' did not hold back their humorous side and took jibes at teach other throughout the election process and called each other names.
From humour-laced 'jumlabaazi' and twisting of abbreviations to cut-throat trading of barbs, the no-holds-barred Bihar polls saw it all even as it threw up a new lexicon of political jibes amidst a game of one- upmanship.
Curtains came down yesterday on polling for the high-stakes Assembly elections and the din and dust of the high-octave electioneering finally began to settle after the hectic campaigning by various parties.
Spread over five phases, the polls saw an amusing war of words among the various leaders who used, by turns, acerbic wit and direct attacks to pin down their opponents in the electoral arena.
The BJP-led NDA and the 'Grand Alliance' of JD(U), RJD and Congress, the main contestants at the hustings, took the high-voltage election campaign to what has been described variously as being both a "new high" and a "new low".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the face of BJP and the party's star campaigner, held whirlwind poll rallies from one corner of the state to another, and delivered thundering speeches, seeking to woo the voters while inflicting maximum damage on its opponents, who termed his verbal style as mere "jumlabazi" (barb-trading).
'Mahathagbandhan' or 'Mahaswarthbandhan'
Soon after the announcement of the election dates in early September, the daggers were drawn and pitched verbal battles ensued.
Attacking the 'Mahagathbandhan' of JD(U), RJD and Congress, BJP leaders, campaigners and PM Modi himself often termed the alliance 'Mahathagbandhan' or 'Mahaswarthbandhan'.
The war of words was conducted on social media, too, with unflattering hashtags on Facebook and Twitter surfacing along the way.
The members of the 'Grand Alliance', in retaliation, often termed BJP the 'Bharatiya Jumla Party', charging that it was fighting the elections on "hollow claims" and "negative campaigns".
'Narbakshi' and 'Chara Chor'
As the campaign progressed, in early October, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and BJP chief and the second-most prominent face in the polls after Modi, Amit Shah, squared off.
While Prasad called him 'narbakshi' in rallies in Patna and Jamui districts, Shah charged that the former Bihar chief minister was 'chara chor' (fodder thief), prompting the Election Commission to step in to maintain a healthy election atmosphere.
'Bihari vs Bahari'
And, if Nitish Kumar made the 'Bihari vs Bahari' pitch to woo voters, Modi cleverly played on the 'jungle raj' claims to punch a hole in the opposition.
A few days before the third phase of the polls, a video surfaced showing Nitish Kumar being blessed by a seer, prompting Modi to use the term 'LokTantrik' Nitish, in what was seen as a scathing attack by the Prime Minister on the chief ministerial contender.
Modi even suggested the presence of 'Tantrik' as the fourth key member of the 'Grand Alliance', besides Kumar, Prasad and Sonia Gandhi.
At his rallies in Hajipur and Nalanda, Modi said he had "known of only three players in that alliance 'Bada bhai', 'Chhota bhai' and 'Madam'. For the first time, I have come to learn that there is a fourth player, a 'tantrik'".
The Prime Minister even coined clever coinage to target BJP's opponents
In Chhapra, once the pocket-borough of Lalu, Modi said, "Laluji, you are free to sacrifice a black or a white pigeon or blow chilli smoke. If you have to do that, rename your party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, as Rashtriya Jadu-tona Party. And being the head of the party, you will be the biggest tantrik in the world."
Making the 'jungle raj' barb, Modi once at a rally even said that RJD stood for 'Rojana Jungle Raj ka Dar'.
And, while Kumar once used the opening song of Aamir Khan-starrer '3 Idiots' 'kahan gaya use dhundho' to refer obliquely refer to Modi as a 'bahari', the prime minister hit back at the JD(U), RJD and Congress alliance by likening it to '3 Idiots'.
The Bihar Assembly has 243 seats. Results of the elections are due on Sunday, 8 November.
(with inputs from PTI)