Business Standard

How slogan war energises BJP, Congress for 2014 poll battle

As India heads for 2014 polls, parties will look to the right blend of words which resonate best with the electorates

Related News

Long before Twitter taught India the power of 140 characters, netas mastered the art of thinking in less than 140 characters. The 16th Lok Sabha election campaign is churning out new slogans and catchphrases. It seems that the and the are neck and neck in the battle to allure voters with catchy phrases. 
 
In August, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate unwrapped the saffron party’s new slogan, Nayi soch, nayi ummeed  (new thinking, new hope) in Hyderanad. He gave a clarion call to the electorate to rid the country of the Congress (Congress mukht  Bharat). Unveiling his vision of the government, he said its only religion should be 'India first', its mantra should be the Constitution, its belief should be 'Bharat Bhakti', its power should be people's power and its worship should be the welfare of 125 crore people.
 
The rallying cry of Congress this time is: Poori roti khayenge, 100 din kaam karenge, dawaiee lenge aur Congress ko jitayenge  (eat full roti, work for 100 days, receive free medicines and vote for Congress). 
 
Almost a year before the in 2004, Congress president Sonia Gandhi took a leaf out of Indira Gandhi's book and gave the Grand Old Party a leftward tilt.

She recast her mother-in-law's populist 'Garibi hatao' war-cry with the of Congress ka haath, garib ke saath -- which was supplanted by the more expansive Aam aadmi ke saath for the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
 
In India, political catchphrases regularly provide the passion, interest and zeal needed to engross observers and voters alike. This has ensured that the history of  Indian politics is peppered with such memorable slogans as garibi hatao (eradicate poverty) India Shining and Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan (hail the soldier, hail the farmer).
 
A good slogan can bring together people usually separated by caste, religion, region, and language. Former Prime Minister Gandhi's garibi hatao campaign in 1971 resonated with the nation and secured a landslide victory for her Congress party. 
 
Many opposition parties united to form the Janata Morcha (People's Front) which campaigned under slogans such as Indira hatao, desh bachao  (Remove Indira, Save the Nation) and Sampoorna Kranti  (Total Revolution). The bloc swept to victory in the 1977 election.
 
However, if there were an award for the worst strategic blunder in Indian elections, the BJP’s India Shining campaign of 2004 would surely qualify for it. The Congress punctured the BJP’s much-hyped campaign with a rhetorical question: Aam aadmi ko kya mila  (what did the common man get?).
 
In 1996, the BJP came to power on the back of several well-known slogans relating to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose corruption-free image made him an ideal face for the  party. Sabko Dekha Bari Bari, Abki Bari Atal Bihari (we have seen several others, but now it's Atal Bihari's turn) was the catchphrase among BJP supporters. 
 
Trinammol Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee ran a successful poll campaign with Maa, maati, manush (Mother, motherland and people) in 2011 and came to power in West Bengal.
 
The BSP’s journey from a Dalit-only party to one that actively wooed Brahmins is marked by its slogans. From the antagonistic Tilak, taraju aur talawar, inko maro joote char  (It called upon the Dalits and backwards to shoe the brahmins, the banias and the thakurs) to inclusive canvassing such as Hathi nahi Ganesh hain, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh hain (It is not just an elephant, it is Lord Ganesha, It is Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahesh), the BSP has travelled quite a distance.
 
RJD boss Lalu Prasad was adept at providing one-liners, couplets and rustic humour that kept his audience in splits. Jab tak rahega samose mein aloo, tab tak rahega Bihar mein Lalu. The flowing rhetoric kept him in power till the infamous fodder scam caught up with him.

There was a time when Dalits would raise the slogan, Upar  aasmaan, neeche Paswan  (you can rely on the sky above and on Ram Vilas Paswan on the earth below).
 
At the national level, the story was no different with two main national parties (Congress and BJP) tried their best to make a mark on the minds of the electorate in  2009. One party said: Aam aadmi ke badhte kadam/ Har kadam par Bharat buland. The other went: Har haath ko kaam / Har haath ko paani and Strong BJP, Strong India.
 
However, elections are not only about hectic political sloganeering. Parties don't miss a chance of taking swipes at each other as well. Will all the new and innovative slogans be the game changer for parties or will it be a case of full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

Read more on:   
|
|
|
|
|
|

Read More

Govt to stick with austerity despite looming election

The government will have to rein in spending and cut subsidies to meet its fiscal deficit target, the finance minister said on Monday, underlining ...

Advertisements

Columnists Rss icon

T N Ninan

T N Ninan: The audacity of hope?
T N Ninan

First, the country has only 2.6 Gw of solar capacity installed as of now, and the plan has been to take it up to 20 Gw by 2020 (revised later to ...

T C A Srinivasa-Raghavan

T C A Srinivasa-Raghavan: The two phases of Nehru
T C A Srinivasa-Raghavan

Historians ought to examine the pre-1947 Nehru independently of the post-1947 one

Editorial Comment Rss icon

Running out of airwaves

Spectrum crisis needs government attention

India's secondary sex

Poor gender equality militates against economic growth

TWEETS @ POLITICS
@SinghRPN
Today we talk of #RunForUnity,let us not forget dividing the legacy of our national icons is the worst disservice we can do to our country
@milinddeora
Arrived in LA at @MrCBeverlyHills right on time for the sunset! http://t.co/3g5sin0om7
@digvijaya_28
Issue resolved and next date fixed for 10 th November. I stand on my allegation which I made against Gadkari.He is a Businessman Politician!
@thekiranbedi
Best Wishes @Dev_Fadnavis:Got Blessed by My Mother yesterday before taking Oath as CM of #Maharashtra!Feeling Inspired on 1st day of working
@ajaymaken
Modi Ji says Lord Ganesh-created by Plastic Surgeons-Put Elephant Head over a human! But we thought he was divine! http://t.co/AseIzym2I0
@MPNaveenJindal
RT @kiranshaw: Glad to know that an Indian doctor- Kalyani Gomathinayagam is making a big diff in an #Ebola camp in #Liberia. http://t.co/Q
@Panda_Jay
My Twitter handle changed yesterday to @PandaJay 😊, please follow that..
@ShashiTharoor
Speaking at the @inBritish / @BBC debate on India &the First World War at the India International Centre today at 7pm. Open to the public!
@Swamy39
@jothikrrishna : The Dravidian Movement types are just gas bags. They are politically spineless. Howl and scoot
@narendramodi
Kerala Piravi greetings to people of Kerala. May the development of Kerala scale new heights in the years to come. http://t.co/tAG2vHAzau
@abdullah_omar
@ibnlive @BJP4India yup, as scared as they were when their leader fought from 2 seats a few months ago. A case of do as we say not as we do.
@varungandhi80
Shows that a false sense of entitlement is not merely restricted to politicians. #DIGPowerTrip #ShamelessSuperCop http://t.co/erwOpZoWiy
@ArvindKejriwal
RT @BajpaiDeepak: Modi govt in secret talks with pak in Dubai despite heavy firing at LoC? Fraud wid the nation? http://t.co/Jw5n33j43m #Ma…
@PMOIndia
RT @anandibenpatel: Upliftment of poor & needy is foundation of Suraajya. Appealed to citizens to do their bit on flagging off #RunForUnity…
@rajeev_mp
RT @WSJ: Dogs have been saving soldiers' lives on battlefields for centuries. http://t.co/rehTrvUukM http://t.co/11AH5VRISJ
@quizderek
RT @MaaMatiManushtv: Website of #Kolkata International Film Festival is up. Check http://t.co/oQpFpejSpX
@
#NCP to support #BJP government's confidence motion in the state assembly http://t.co/uZZOHFn5K6
@SushmaSwaraj
Congratulations @Dev_Fadnavis on swearing in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Unable to attend because I am leaving for Mauritius.
@arunjaitley
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas will help India reaffirm its strength and resilience against adversaries. Let us join hands and unite for our nation.
@MVENKAIAHNAIDU
My Greetings to all people of Madhya Pradesh on its Foundation day. Under able leadership of Sri Shivraj ji, State will see new heights.
@nitin_gadkari
At Dedication of Electronic Toll Collection system to nation program http://t.co/TSMVGtcEdQ
@DVSBJP
Flagging off new trains at yeshwanthpura Railway station with me MP @AnanthKumar_BJP ,@PCMohan_BJP and Sri D.K.Suresh http://t.co/ULmo7WVILx
@umasribharti
चन्‍द्रशेखर राव को बधाई. तेलंगाना राज्‍य का मेरा संकल्‍प एवं सपना पूरा, तेलंगाना की नदियों का ध्‍यान रखेंगें.
@AnanthKumar_BJP
3 New Trains flagged off @ Yeshwantpur Railway Station #Bengaluru http://t.co/XzQkEckGUd
@smritiirani
RT @narendramodi: 'Why Clean India' picture. http://t.co/r4PtsxqbZC
@drharshvardhan
Remember Indira Gandhi the former PM of India who had to sacrifice her life on this day thirty years back - shall always be remembered .
@Gen_VKSingh
Congratulations @Dev_Fadnavis. I am sure you will lead Maharashtra to great new heights. #MahaCM
@Rao_InderjitS
Wishing you a very #HappyHaryanaDay We will put in our best efforts to fulfil aspirations of the people of Haryana. #SabkaSaathSabkaVikas
@nsitharaman
Good wishes to @Dev_Fadnavis on taking charge as CM of Maharashtra.
@RSSorg
Bharat is existing today to think n talk about is due to Sardar Patel’s statesmanship firm administration n true Nationalistic vision

Back to Top