Srinagar: It is a battle of 'sher' in the hectic Assembly poll campaign in Jammu and Kashmir with every party claiming to be the 'king' of political jungle in the Valley.
"Nakli shera vatu daira, asli shera aa gaya (it's time for fake lions to pack bags as the original lion has arrived at the scene," is a common slogan witnessed in the campaign by ruling National Conference, estranged ally Congress and main opposition PDP.
'Sher' was a sobriquet associated with former J&K Chief Minister Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah who was called 'Sher-e-Kashmir' (Lion of Kashmir) for being in the forefront in taking up the cause of the downtrodden in the state.
While every party has its own share of slogans but it is the "Sher" which is the common thread in their campaigns in the politically charged atmosphere in the Valley. Kashmir wildlife does not include lions.
"Walay vasie, asli sher hayy, aaaway (come, my friend. The original lion has come)," sing Kashmiri women folk in traditional 'rauf' dance at political rallies.
The name of 'Sher-e-Kashmir' has been prefixed with a prestigious medical institute in the Valley, an agriculture university, gallantary medals for police, employment scheme and the only cricket ground in the Valley.
PDP also invoked 'sher' besides its slogans like "Sabzuk Alam chum aaths kyath, aasiy dee taar Parvardighar (The green flag is in my hand and God will help me crossing all hurdles)" besides the 'Sher' slogan. The flag of PDP party is green.