The famous folk dance Chhau has come up as an important medium for Trinamool Congress to highlight the successes of their government in the past five years. Around 200 Chhau artists have been engaged by the party to perform ahead of a political rally in Purulia.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had taken several steps in reviving the dance form besides initiatives for development of the tribals.
People were well aware about Purulia Chhau. But proper steps that had been taken in the past five years made it so popular that it has been featured in many Bollywood movies including Barfi.
Moreover, the Election Commission has also featured the dance form in a video making people aware about their right to vote and it is being telecasted in different television channels ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal.
In the remote villages in Purulia, where cinema halls are miles away, the dance form is a great mean of entertainment.
Thousands of people gather to enjoy the performance of Chhau artists at anytime of a year. So the party candidates have chosen the dance form for campaigning to woo more voters.
In all the nine Assembly constituencies in Purulia, the Chhau artists are now busy campaigning for the party. The artists have composed plots based on the schemes including Kanyashree, Sabuj Sathi and Lok Prasar scheme.
They are given stage at the beginning of any major rally of the party in the district where they are attracting people by performing the plots they have composed.
The Chhau artists have divided themselves in many teams.
Every day all the teams are visiting different villages in the district and performing before a street corner meeting starts. People of all ages start gathering hearing the beats of drums that the musicians play to mark a beginning of Chhau dance.
The messages in their performances are quite clear. The catchy dialogues of the Chhau artists are highlighting how a girl student has been benefitted by the project Kanyashree and how easier it has become for students to reach school after getting bicycles. Steps taken to provide retainership to folk artists from different parts of the state are also a part of their plot. Around 42,000 folk artists those perform Chhau, Natua, Raibeshi, Brita, Gambhira, Lathi, Santhal and Tusu were brought under the scheme.
Besides engaging Chhau artists, another dance form Natua is also being performed at different places to campaign for the candidates of the party.
Shantiram Mahato, Trinamool Congress candidate from Balarampur Assembly constituency in Purulia, said: “It had been our endeavour to revive the folk dance and other forms of art in the past four and half years. So to keep up our tradition we have decided to engage the Chhau artists for campaigning.”