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

Shantanu Bhattacharji  |  New Delhi 

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?

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

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

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 Congress and the BJP are neck and neck in the battle to allure voters with catchy phrases.
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?
image

Columnists

Widgets Magazine
Widgets Magazine
Widgets Magazine

Twitter Feed

  • @SinghRPN

    RT @OfficeOfRG: So I say to them keep attacking my family, it won't make a difference to me. I am here to defend the freedom of the people …

  • @milinddeora

    Not just India Inc, but all of India has the right to critique parliament. But please be consistent while doing so

  • @digvijaya_28

    http://t.co/0rG6oDNQfi Through my letter to Director CBI I have pointed out the gaps in STF investigation and tampering of the evidence.

  • @thekiranbedi

    New record set in my life.. By addressing such a large audience in Netaji Stadium..Hare Krishna. http://t.co/RMvyUQvaQU

  • @ajaymaken

    RT @Kundra_Vishal: अनशन पर बैठे @ajaymaken जी के साथ जिस तरह पटरी वालो का हुजूम जुटा लग रहा था हम फिरसे स्वतंत्रता की लड़ाई लड़ रहे हैं htt…

  • @MPNaveenJindal

    Thanks for Sharing. Today we @FFOIndia commissioned 64th Monumental #Tiranga at Jalandhar... https://t.co/nBHNinYYiL

  • @Panda_Jay

    My Twitter handle changed yesterday to @PandaJay 😊, please follow that..

  • @ShashiTharoor

    The @RobinHood_Army aims to unite students across India-Pak to serve 1 lakh people across the border #Mission100k http://t.co/DaZPpfCtl7

  • @Swamy39

    @shinustalin : Why? BJP has more potential than any other party. We can make course corrections

  • @narendramodi

    Am extremely happy to know that PAHAL scheme has set the Guinness world record for the Largest Cash Transfer Programme. @GWR

  • @abdullah_omar

    "Violence & talks can't go together" BJP circa 2004-2014. This is one U turn I'm very glad to see. Hope #NSAtalks lay strong foundation.

  • @varungandhi80

    Interesting, principled stand by @poonam_mahajan. https://t.co/ediMNjy5m9

  • @ArvindKejriwal

    RT @RamaNewDelhi: Last year, CM Kejriwal protested on the street! Today the entire Modi cabinet was on the street to protest! Govts protest…

  • @PMOIndia

    Welcoming the world to India. #IncredibleIndia http://t.co/Pc9Cbsh7lL

  • @rajeev_mp

    @thewire_in reports on @rsprasad 's response to my Parliament Question on #Privacy https://t.co/SHKr1DWJoJ

  • @quizderek

    @Sir_R_U_L @madversity Same apply for Salmaan Khan

  • @

    Tata Power beats estimates, reports Q1 profit of Rs 241 crore http://t.co/ew19wJeA2v

  • @SushmaSwaraj

    Thank you Prime Minister. https://t.co/PBfctpZag6

  • @arunjaitley

    THE MONSOON SESSION - IS IT INDIA’S LOSS? http://t.co/7Yc8g2iPTC

  • @MVENKAIAHNAIDU

    When you are not well on the facts, go to the well of the house(Parliament), said one great leader.

  • @nitin_gadkari

    Inaugurated the two day International Conference & Exhibition on Public Transport Innovation organised by ASRTU http://t.co/pifPFBCWHu

  • @DVSBJP

    RT @narendramodi: Sharp and pointed speech by Shri @arunjaitley in the Lok Sabha today. https://t.co/tDrqdfeCir

  • @umasribharti

    चन्‍द्रशेखर राव को बधाई. तेलंगाना राज्‍य का मेरा संकल्‍प एवं सपना पूरा, तेलंगाना की नदियों का ध्‍यान रखेंगें.

  • @AnanthKumar_BJP

    RT @narendramodi: Am extremely happy to know that PAHAL scheme has set the Guinness world record for the Largest Cash Transfer Programme. @…

  • @smritiirani

    RT @narendramodi: Sharp and pointed speech by Shri @arunjaitley in the Lok Sabha today. https://t.co/tDrqdfeCir

  • @drharshvardhan

    Praying to God for the peace of the Soul of a great President known as the Missile Man.The Nation&particularly students shall always miss u.

  • @Gen_VKSingh

    RT @narendramodi: A must-watch speech by @SushmaSwaraj ji in Parliament. https://t.co/Lpdg4wKcQf

  • @Rao_InderjitS

    RT @SpokespersonMoD: #IndependenceDay 2015: RRM @Rao_InderjitS giving away gifts to participating contingents at Rehearsal at #RedFort. htt…

  • @nsitharaman

    RT @narendramodi: Sharp and pointed speech by Shri @arunjaitley in the Lok Sabha today. https://t.co/tDrqdfeCir

  • @RSSorg

    Krishnappa Ji was a great organiser and inspiration to many Karyakartas & pioneered Kutumb Prabodhan activity in RSS: Dr Manmohan Vaidya