As star BJP activist and Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya travels the state, a team of theater artists streamline his campaign at his home at Sirathu assembly headquarters, where he is locked in a contest against Pallavi Patel of the Samajwadi party.
More than a dozen performers from the Delhi Theater Troupe stage street plays here to educate the public about the work being done by the BJP and Maurya government.
While the plays fascinate locals, many declined to talk about their preferences in the high-decibel battle for the ballot here.
“When a street performance is about to start, we start playing ‘dhapli’ (a musical instrument) to attract the crowd to our show,” Mohit Nirhaakhar, who leads the group ‘Parindey, told PTI. ‘.
Through fun and play, the characters raise awareness about various welfare programs run by the state’s dual-engine government, he said.
The theme of one of these plays was how the wife of a local man who only hesitantly brought a cup of tea to her guests, now comes with a plate of pakoras with the drink.
“When the guest asks the host what led to this change, he replies that it is the magic of Modiji, Yogiji and Keshav Maurya and points to a cooking gas cylinder provided under the Ujjwala program”, Nirhaakhar said.
A show was also staged about how an old man falls off a bicycle due to bad roads, and Maurya, who also holds the PWD wallet, promised that by 2022 every village will have dirt roads. good quality, he said.
How building toilets brought revolutionary change to women’s lives is the subject of another play hosted by the group.
The team has 12 members and they split into two groups of six to play matches at different locations.
“On average, we hold seven such street performances a day. Sometimes the number increases,” said Nirhaakar, and added that his team members use the local language for instant connection with the audience.
The team arrived here on Feb. 6 from Delhi and have been performing street performances since Feb. 7, he said.
On people’s reaction to the plays, Mohit said, “The response has been good in some areas, while in places considered opposition party strongholds, the response has been rather subdued.
Binod Kumar and Sampat Maurya, among the audience of one such play, enjoyed the show and local hero Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Kaushambi will vote in the fifth phase of assembly elections on February 27.
Maurya, who claims to be a “son of Sirathu”, is locked in a tug of war with Pallavi Patel, the older sister of Union Minister Anupriya Patel.
Pallavi Patel describes herself as Sirathu’s “daughter-in-law”.
Nirhaakar said his band reviewed and edited their scripts daily, incorporating new points, and rehearsed overnight for the next day.
He also said children and older women came to their shows in large numbers.
Besides him, the other members of the team are Prashant (actor, editor), Rohan, Mayank (actor, writer) and actors Priya, Abhinav, Golu, Alisha, Tanish, Digwijay, Vijay and Akash.
Voters in Sirathu appeared to hold their cards close to their chests when asked about their voting preferences.
On a possible election outcome, Shiv Shankar Maurya (59), a ‘chhole-bhaturey’ vendor near the ‘mandi’ vegetable, said: “Nothing seems to be clear this time. ‘Koi lahar nahi hai (he doesn’t ‘there is no wave from any part)’.”
His son, Sushil, points to a stray bull on GT Road and says, “The problem of stray animals, especially stray bulls, has increased the problems of farmers here. These bulls also pose a risk to traffic and nearby vehicles. high speed on the GT road.”
Pallavi Patel raises the issue of stray livestock faced by farmers.
At one of her rallies, she said, “They (the BJP) say they give you free rations. But, they will never point out that stray cattle are consuming farmers’ crops, pushing them into a debt trap, and thus making their lives miserable.”
Manoj Kumar Upadhyay, a driver with a local travel agency, says stray cattle pose a serious problem to vehicle traffic on the GT road and sometimes also lead to accidents.
Ajay Kumar, a gardener who grows flowers and makes a living selling them, said: “We are unable to decide which direction the electoral wind is blowing. Hopefully by the day of the vote we will have a clear picture.”
Kanhai Pal, who works at a guesthouse on GT Road, said the competition this time was “very intense and tight”, and “although we are residents of this area, we cannot say anything for sure. “.