March 4, 2009 / 9:19 AM / 10 years ago

Indian party buys rights to Slumdog tune "Jai Ho"

Composer A.R. Rahman holds the Oscars for achievement in music for both original song and original score for his work on the film "Slumdog Millionaire" at the official Oscar after party for Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Wrestler" in Los Angeles February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Aiming to spice up its election campaign, India’s ruling Congress party has bought the rights to “Jai Ho,” the Oscar-winning song from “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The world’s largest democracy will hold a general election between April 16 and May 13 in a mammoth logistical exercise in which 714 million people will cast their votes.

Congress leaders said the song, whose title is Hindi for “Let There be Victory,” will be played during rallies in rural towns, villages and cities.

“If one party deserves the song to be played during campaigns it is the Congress party because of its image,” Manish Tiwari, party spokesperson, said.

India’s opposition parties have described the latest Congress move as an election gimmick.

“This song will ensure their defeat because it will remind every Indian that millions of people still have to stay in slums because of faulty Congress policies,” Prakash Javdekar, a senior BJP leader, told Reuters.

The main battle will be between the Congress-led coalition and the leading opposition bloc, headed by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the lead-up to the Oscars the success of “Slumdog” around the globe was overshadowed by objections in India to its name, which some Indians found offensive, its depiction of the lives of impoverished Indians and the treatment of the cast.

But since the film’s sweep of eight Oscars, including “best picture,” India’s media have been caught in a patriotic frenzy and politicians have jumped on the bandwagon to praise the film.

Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Alex Richardson

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