This is the colourful sub text of UP’s make or break election where the quirks draw as much attention as weightier debates on caste calculations and voter projections.
Consider these unique nicknames that candidates are using—Gurujee (Lakshmi Narayan Pandey, BJP, Pratapgarh), Babbe Bhai (Zahid, Meydha Party, Pratapgarh), Monu Baba Bakshi (Surendra Pal Singh, Peace Party Lucknow) and Babloo Neta (Brij Mohan Singh, independent, Lucknow). For greater variety, there is Vidhayak (Ram Kishor Yadav, independent from Deoria), Netaji (Dev Nath Yadav, JD (U), Varanasi), Kaviji (Rajendra Prasad Sonkar, independent, Kushinagar), Virodhi (Nandlal Gupta, independent from Kushinagar), Belan (Ramapati Yadav, independent, Jaunpur), Befikra (Ram Sajeevan, BSKP, Unnao) and Collector Pandey (Anand Kumar, BSP, Allahabad).
Given our penchant for godmen and gurus, it is only fitting that candidates should model themselves on these. Thus there is Balti Baba (Jagdish Mishra, BJP, Kushinagar), Arthi Baba MBA (Rajan Yadav an independent in Gorakhpur), Bade Guruji (Munishwar Singh, RMSP, Allahabad) and Guddu Maharaj (Chandra Kumar Mishra, BSP, Varanasi).
Bollywood also finds representation. Thus while Gulzar and Raj Kapoor are independent candidates from Azamgarh and Deoria respectively, Talat Aziz is fighting on a Congress ticket from Maharjganj, Javed Akhtar is a Lok Jan Shakti Party candidate from Mau and Madhubala has a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket from Sant Ravidas Nagar.
For one of a kind names choose from Lock Bahadur Gond (independent from Allahabad), Ghar Bharan (Independent from Sant Kabir Nagar, Doodhnath (NCP candidate in Mirzapur), Bhikhari (independent from Gorakhpur), Vakil (Kisan Sena, Kushinagar), Achchey Lal (Independent, Allahabad) and Sevak (IJP, Azamgarh).
Cities and nations are also in the reckoning. Thus while America is a BSP candidate in Ghazipur, Haridwar is trying his luck on a Rashtriya Lok Manch ticket from Gorakhpur from where Ayodhya is a JD(U) nominee.
Some are hoping to cash in on the popularity of the greats they have been named after. Thus Jawahar Lal is contesting on a Congress ticket from Deoria, while two Lal Bahadurs are in the fray as candidates from Ghazipur and Deoria. Rana Pratap (Rashtriya Lok Manch, Ballia), and Vivekanand (NCP, Kushinagar) are also trying their luck.
History and mythology are also in the field what with Birbal contesting on a Lok Dal ticket from Gorakhpur, Tulsi Das fighting for the BJP in Allahabad and Dashrath trying his luck on a SP ticket in Gorakhpur.
And with candidates so interesting, political parties can justly be expected to follow. Thus there is the Patriotic Party of India, Meydha Party, Most Backward Classes of India, Naitik party, Moderate Party, Best Class Party, Indian Oceanic Party, Jwala Dal and the mouthful Bhartiya Rashtriya Bahujan Samaj Vikas Party.
Lastly, if names are meant to be indicators of personalities then Danpati (RLM, Azamgarh) and Ghar Bharan (independent, Sant Kabir Nagar) give us clues to what kind of netas they will turn out to be.