Express News Service

RAIPUR: What’s in a name, asked William Shakespeare. Plenty, if the occasion is the birthday of a Chief Minister.

Chhattisgarh Congressmen are celebrating the birthday of CM Bhupesh Baghel on August 23. To stand out among his fellow partymen, a senior Congress leader and former Mayor of Raipur Municipal Corporation Pramod Dubey has planned a novel move.

Dubey announced that he would felicitate 25 people who shared the same name as the CM on Monday.

“We are going to honour those with the name Bhupesh. They will have to contact us with their photos and Aadhaar cards. The occasion is also for those with the name Bhupesh to rejoice,” said Dubey, who lost the Lok Sabha election from Raipur constituency in 2019. Several individuals working in the banking sector, police force and media have identified themselves as ‘Bhupesh’ and are being short-listed.

In response, the Opposition BJP said that the Congress relies more on stunts rather than fulfilling the needs of the people.

“Congress leaders apply obsequious ways to use or misuse names to gain advantage. It doesn’t give any good public message. We have also seen such practices by Congress during the elections when they fielded candidates with identical or similar names against the opposition. Only the Congress leader (Dubey) can suggest what is in his mind by offering such a birthday compliment,” said Dharamlal Kaushik, the leader of the Opposition.

Even a senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity said, “It’s an innovation in sycophancy.”

Political observers were also critical of the gimmick. “It seems the corporate culture of sycophancy has percolated into politics. Whether it would be of any gain for the Congress leader organising the show remains to be seen,” said Ashok Tomar, a political analyst.