POWER HUNGER GAME
From ‘Self Reliance’ to ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ in early years, Indian election sloganeering has come a long way with major political parties now chanting Abki Baar Modi Sarkaar and Main Nahi Hum.
While Congress is focusing on its commitment to the Aam Aadmi through its slogans, its arch rival BJP has built its campaign around its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for the 16th Lok Sabha elections.
These two main contenders have followed similar approaches in past elections also with BJP slogan’s focusing on their Prime Ministerial candidates beginning with Atal Bihari Vajpayee to L K Advani to Narendra Modi and Congress continuing with its ‘Aam Aadmi’ Mantras. It may be ‘Modi for PM’, ‘Ab ki baar Modi Sarkaar’ and other Modi-centric slogans this year but they are reminiscent of the slogans used by the party in 1996 when it came to power- ‘Abki baari Atal Bihari’, projecting Vajpayee as its prime minister.
Interestingly, another famous slogan launched by Modi last year was ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’, in an effort to make gains of the anti-incumbency wave in the country. Congress on the other hand has stayed away from dragging BJP’s name in their slogans and rather has tried to highlight its own ‘achievements’, thats show the maturity.
While, the parties have coined new punch-lines with each passing election, there have been controversies around these slogans also.
Congress’ “Main nahi Hum”, seems like an attempt to support its attack that Modi has hijacked BJP and that there is no democracy in the party. But the slogan got into controversy as BJP claimed that it was used by them in 2010 and accused the Congress of plagiarism.
Recently, BJP had to face backlash because of the ‘Har har Modi, har ghar Modi’ slogan. The party had denied coining the slogan and Modi had himself asked his supporters not to use it. Many political leaders and even Dwarka Peeth Sankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati criticised BJP for chanting a candidate’s name as if worshiping God.
The ‘Har har Modi, har ghar Modi’ slogan ironically threw us back to the ‘Indira is India and India is Indira’ coined by former Union Minister Devkanta Baruah who was called a sycophant by the opposition. The slogan clearly did not work for the Congress as the party made way for the Janata Party led by Jayaprakash Narayan.
Some of the well-thought punch-lines that have been used effectively by main political parties over the years include ‘Self Reliance’ (1951), ‘Jai jawan, jai kisan’ (1965), ‘Garibi Hatao’ (1971), ‘Indira Hatao, Desh Bachao’ (1971), ‘Sampoorna Kranti’ (1977), ‘Ek Sherni, Sau Langur, Chikmaglur bhai Chikmaglur’ (1978), ‘Jab Tak Suraj Chand Rahega, Indira Tera Naam Rahega’ (1984), and ‘Loh Purush’ (2009).