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Colour politics intensifies as elections near in UP

The Trade Book 71 Jan 1

Yogi Adityanath and Akhilesh Yadav

It promises to be a colourful battle between the BJP and Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh. On Saturday, BJP state election in-charge, Dharmendra Pradhan, tweeted a picture of SP president Akhilesh Yadav, alerting people to those who wear red caps. "The anti-social elements who used to challenge with a red alert are running away in the Yogi (Adityanath) government," he wrote on Twitter. SP leaders and party supporters typically wear red caps.

BJP's 'red' attack is also in response to SP spokesperson Sunil Yadav Sajan's tweet in which he had claimed that those with red caps were the real UP walas (denizens).

"Naya Saal Thoko Taal Pehchan Apni Topi Lal (Let's put a challenge in the new year with red cap as our identity)," Yadav had tweeted with a picture of Akhilesh Yadav.

It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had for the first time during a rally in Gorakhpur on December 7 talked about SP's penchant for red caps.

Modi had said that UP should be wary of red caps as it is a red alert for the state. "People with red caps are only interested in red beacons (read: power) and not the people," he had said. This led to a series of responses and counter responses.

Akhilesh Yadav said red was the colour of revolution and that it was, in fact, a red alert for the BJP against price rise, unemployment and exploitation of women and Dalits, in the state.

During a speech in UP on December 11, BJP president JP Nadda mentioned that the red caps worn by SP leaders would soon turn into saffron (BJP's colour). Red has also become a go-to word for BJP leaders in their political speeches, while SP leaders have been countering that by displaying red caps prominently. The war of words has also taken the form of posters and pictures on social media posts by both sides.
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