Didi’s asking for votes in Chinese, Santhali & Telugu

Political graffiti in Chinese, Alchiki (Santhali script) and Telugu have now appeared in Tangra, Jhargram and Kharagpur respectively.

KOLKATA/KHARAGPUR: Scripts of three languages — Chinese, Alchiki and Telugu — have made an appearance as wall graffiti for a general election for the first time in Bengal as politicians vie to get their message across in a language that voters are most comfortable with.

Bengali and English and, in some zones, Urdu and Hindi have been the wall-writer’s preferred languages so far. But political graffiti in Chinese, Alchiki (Santhali script) and Telugu have now appeared in Tangra, Jhargram and Kharagpur respectively.

Trinamool workers roped in Tangra resident Hou King Thaim to paint the graffiti opposite Tangra’s Chinatown. Around 2,300 Chinese stay in Tangra and as many in central Kolkata’s Tiretta Bazar; about half of them are registered voters.

Hou’s friends, who approached him to help write the slogan for Trinamool’s Dakshin Kolkata candidate Mala Roy in Chinese, are confident he has “made history by writing a campaign slogan in a foreign language in India”. “I supervised the writing to correct errors. A small stroke here and there can make a big difference in Chinese and alter the meaning completely,” said Hou who works in an an e-rickshaw manufacturing firm.

In the tribal-dominated Lok Sabha constituencies in West Midnapore, the Trinamool graffiti is in Alchiki. Jayanta Sani, who usually does graffiti in English, Bengali and Hindi, has done several in Alchiki for Trinamool’s Jhargram candidate Birbaha Soren. “Santhals like Tudu, Hembram, Hansda, Mandi, Kusku, Soren, Murmu and Baske comprise nearly 52% of the voting population in the belt,” he said.

In Kharagpur, Telugu-speaking people make up nearly 50% of the electorate. BJP holds considerable sway in the railway township and so Trinamool is canvassing in Telugu for its candidate, Manas Bhuniya.

Prashant Rao and Tarakeshwar Rao, residents of Subhas Palli, have been helping Manik Kar Mahapatra write Telugu graffiti. “We have joined hands to write over 40 walls,” said Mahapatra, a professional graffiti artist.
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