Political party sees winner in ‘Slumdog’ song

A rickshaw driver waits for customers under a Congress party poster in Dimapur, India, on Thursday.
India’s ruling party is trying to acquire the soundtrack rights to the "Slumdog Millionaire" song "Jai Ho," meaning "Be Victorious," for its campaign ahead of next month’s general elections.

Tom Vadakkan, secretary of the Congress party, said the song might or might not be used in its original form during electioneering. “Contemporary songs have always been used by political parties in election campaigns in one or the other form. Our PR firm is in the advanced stage of acquiring the soundtrack rights of the (“Jai Ho”) song,” he said. India’s opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believes its rival’s plans will backfire. The song, in the BJP’s opinion, shows the country’s poverty, Janata said. “This song, whenever played by the Congress party, will ensure its defeat, because it will remind the people of its misrule of more than 50 years. It will remind them that so many people still have to live in slums because of the Congress’ policies,” said Prakash Javadekar, spokesman for the BJP.

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Nonetheless, some Indian politicians seem to be trying to cash in on the popularity of the Oscar-winning film during this election season.

Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, one of the poverty-hit states in India, took a ride on a cycle-rickshaw to a cinema showing “Slumdog Millionaire.” Kumar is member of the Janata Dal (United) party, which sends lawmakers to the national parliament.