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Catchy slogans, and not so catchy: Serious business in festival of democracy

Catchy slogans, and not so catchy: Serious business in festival of democracy

By Rita Sachdeva

New Delhi, Apr 7 (UNI) Elections means serious business in India and winning slogans can change the fortunes of political parties.

Slogans do set the stage for euphoric victories -- as were the pleasant experiences with 'Garibi Hatao' of Indira Gandhi and 'Ab Ki Baari Atal Bihari' with the BJP.

India goes to polls in less than a week and all political parties have as expected gone full throttle dishing out catchy, exciting and sometimes even funny slogans to woo voters of all age.

The BJP has rolled out 'Modi hai to mumkin hai' and 'Phir ek baar, Modi Sarkar'. They have also coined 'Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas', 'Namo Again' and 'Kaam kare jo ummeed usi se ho', banking on the fact fact that the BJP-led NDA government has been corruption free in the past five years.

The BJP may be the first major party off the block in the game. “Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas”, “Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar”, were coined earlier, followed by “Namo Again”, “Modi hai to Mumkin Hai”, “Kaam kare jo ummeed usi se ho” in the past few weeks.

Promising achche din, 'Abki bar Modi sarkar' was one of the most popular election phrases that spread like wild fire, and Mr Narendra Modi was elected as the Prime Minister in 2014.

Way behind schedule on publicity campaign in the run-up to first phase of polling on April 11, the party has shortlisted five poll slogans, which include “Behtar Bharat, Behtar Kal” and “Pucca Vaada, Nek Iraada”.

The 'India Shining' was a marketing slogan referring to the overall feeling of economic optimism in India - but that let the BJP down in 2004 general elections.

In 2004, the Congress slogan 'Congress ka Haath, Aam Admi Ke Saath' was found to be more useful.

In 2014, Sonia Gandhi had ticked off BJP's prime ministerial face Narendra Modi, saying 'BJP will ruin the Bharatiyata and Hindustaniyat' and appealed for votes, adding aggression to otherwise dull and directionless Congress campaign.

Gleefully, Congress projecting her as the second Indira Gandhi in 2009, raised the slogan 'Sonia nahi yeh aandhi hai, doosri Indira Gandhi hai'. The Congress returned to power with more number of seats in the Lower House of Parliament.

The anti-poverty theme took the centre-stage in Indira Gandhi government's election campaign in 1971 when 'Garibi hatao, Indira lao, Desh bachao' slogan took the country by storm.

Prior to that - the slogan 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' given by former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri in 1965 hailed the soldiers and the farmers of the country.

Congress represented itself as the face of development and launched 'Progress through Congress' campaign in the 1960s which was countered by Shiv Sena with 'Congress or Progress?'

Jayaprakash Narayan's Janata Party raised slogan 'Indira hatao, Desh bachao', playing spoiler for Indira Gandhi's campaign in 1970s after Emergency.

When Indira Gandhi won by-election in 1978 from Chikkmagluru district, Congressman poet Srikant Verma wrote 'Ek Sherni, Sau Langur, Chikmaglur bhai Chikmaglur', mocking at the Janata parivar.

Not to forget 'Jab tak sooraj chand rahega, Indira tera naam rahega' after Indira Gandhi's assassination for 1984 elections. And the sympathy it generated led to a landslide victory of the party under greenhorn Rajiv Gandhi winning as many as 414 seats.

It was not without good reason that legendary Marxist Jyoti Basu then had commented - "Dead Indira Gandhi is powerful than the one we fought".

After the disputed structure at Ayodhya was demolished, UP's regional outfits led by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Kanshi Ram united to form a government and raised the slogan 'Mile Mulayam-Kanshiram, hawa ho gaye Jai Shree Ram'.

BJP’s slogan at Lucknow election rally in March 1996 when the party came to power the first time for 13 days, was single line jingle 'Bari bari sab ki bari, ab ki bari Atal Bihari'.



Jan Sangh's election campaign highlighting the inflation during Congress government, raised the slogan 'Yeh dekho Indira ka khel, kha gayi shakkar, pee gayi tel'.

Who can forget the saffron slogan, 'Aapka vote, Ram ke naam'; 'Ram lalla hum aayenge, mandir wahi banayenge' and 'Hum saugandh Ram ki khaate hain, mandir wahi banayengen' in the 90s during the famous Rathyatra of BJP patriarch L K Advani.

Bharatiya Jan Sangh, in the elections of 1967, asked the voters to reject both Congress and tobacco with the slogan 'Jan Sangh ko vote do, bidi peena chhod do; Bidi mein tambaku hai, Congress-wala daaku hai'.

The most entertaining election campaigns projecting Lalu Prasad as the original leader of Bihar was with the unforgettable slogan 'Jab tak rahega samose mein aloo, tab tak rahega Bihar mein Lalu'.

'Jaat par na pat par, mohar lagegi haath par', was the slogan for Congress under Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao giving message that its political strategy was not guided by caste, during the 1996 elections.

But the Congress was voted out of power !

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