Political Khichdi: Why the regional mix-rice dish is the hot favourite this election season!

Like politics, khichdi varies from region to region. Here is a peek into the regional platter that is going to be offered to the Indian public this poll season.

 |  4-minute read |   12-04-2019
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Khichdi... Naam to suna hi hoga.

A very popular dish made with lentils and rice is a favourite amongst many Indians, millions of whom are about to vote as well.

So, we ask them, how do you like your khichdi? Hot or cold? Plain or mixed? Vegetarian or non-vegetarian? Spicy or bland? 

Let's have a look at the regional platter that is going to be offered to you this poll season.

Bengali Khichuri

Didi and her army cooked up a perfect Bengali khichuri — as the name suggests, it is used in Bangla to mean a mess. Didi left no stone unturned to cook the best khichuri this election season. The accompaniments varied from aloor chop to begun bhaja and not to forget, a tangy achaar. But the BJP has been trying to add its own tadka to Didi's khichuri. West Bengal has never been the BJP's ground.

And this time too, Didi doesn't want any saffron in her khichuri.

West Bengal sends 42 MPs to the Lok Sabha, 30% of these are Muslims — a perfect scenario that seems to have contributed to the BJP eyeing Didi's turf through Hindu polarisation. Didi has been cooking her khichuri for the last eight years though. She knows her ingredients well. Her fan-base has been created through her welfare schemes.

Will Bengal relish her offerings again? Or seek a new taste?

main_-bengali-khichu_040919113818.jpgWill it be Didi's recipe or BJP's tadka that will add flavour to the khichuri in Bengal? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Bihari Khichdi

Bihar loves its khichdi with baigan or aloo bharta.

But who made the bharta? Nitish Kumar, of course.

This state has been dilly-dallying all the time. In 2014, the BJP won the biggest number of seats in Bihar. 2015 saw the emergence of the regional parties’ coalition with Congress. The Khichdi was being cooked on dheemi aanch (low flame). Nitish Kumar came in to make the mish-mashed baigan bharta — he, to many minds, back-stabbed his allies and JD (U) withdrew support from the government and joined the BJP's new coalition khichdi. As RJD was left sulking in the dark, their khichdi with the Congress continues to simmer in Bihar. The battle lines are clearly drawn, whose khichdi people relish now is yet to be seen. 

UP's special Makarsankrant khichdi

India's most populous state loves its Makarsankrant Khichdi. Made out of black urad dal, it is sometimes accompanied with curd. But yahan to daal hi kaali hai! UP's khichdi is being prepared by two of the biggest parties in UP.

The SP-BSP alliance seems to have almost blocked the flowering of the BJP in the state. Both parties have mostly different caste groups and minorities. And the Bua-Bhatija ki banayi hui khichdi seems to gather momentum just before polls. While the BJP is suffering from anti-incumbency, thanks to Yogi’s government, SP has its own challenges due to infighting, and the BSP faced a dismal performance in the last national elections.

But Bua-Bhatija's kitchen now is all set to cook up a khichdi that will definitely eat into the BJP's vote share. 

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

Made of rice, lentils and seasoned with black pepper, cumin and cashews, Pongal is a dish similar to khichdi. The BJP has long waited and wanted to enter this southern state. They have long waited to be seasoning in this Pongal.

And, despite all their internal struggles, the ruling AIADMK looks fairly well set.

main_pongal_040919114003.jpgWill Pongal witness an added saffron flavour this season? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The regional rival DMK has already started cooking its Pongal with the UPA.

But whether TN wants a bit of saffron in its Pongal to change its taste is yet to be seen.

Maharashtra's Masala Khichdi

The Marathis like their khichdi 'masaledaar' and spicy.

As the name suggests, the Masala Khichdi is prepared with a special ingredient called 'Khandesi garam masala' — which is made up of 15 to 16 spices.

So, while the regional Shiv Sena prepared the Masala Khichdi in Maharashtra, the BJP became its Khandeshi garam masala. With 18 legislators in its kitchen, the Shiv Sena is the BJP's biggest support in this state.

main_masala-khichdi_040919114035.jpgWill the khichdi simmer well despite the differences between the BJP and the Sena? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

But the challenges are many. They have never been on the same page. The cracks between the BJP and Shiv Sena are many and their often-toxic relationship is out in the open. Now, whether this khichdi will be masaaledar or phika (bland), we have to wait and watch.

The stage is set and the action is about to begin. We will witness the nation's biggest political game.

Kiski daal gali or kiski khichdi paki, we will know soon!

So, sit back with your platter and the khichdi of your liking will be served hot with some lip-smacking accompaniments.

Don't forget your achaars and papads on May 23!

Also read: Why 2019 will see a 'khichdi' government, but cooked in Modi’s kitchen

Writer

Sucharita Sen Sucharita Sen @twittswitch

Associate Editor, ITGD

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