The slippery slopes of slogans

A poll campaign may have different aspects. But when the last festoon has been taken down, the last cut-out removed and the last ad pulled from the media just days before the actual polling, in line with the Election Commission guidelines, what linger on from the campaigns are the slogans. They sometimes, outlive elections. 

But every so often, they die an untimely death too. Some are preserved intact for posterity, while in other cases the parodies live longer. That's the case with phrases and slogans this time too. While the BJP has “Abki Baar Modi Sarkaar”, the Congress has settled on “Har haath shakti, har haath tarakki”, whose video has already been spoofed with the slogan “Har haath lollipop, har haath revdi”. 

And that's not even the Congress' first effort to come up with a catchy line! Their earlier endeavour, featuring Rahul Gandhi on the poster, said “Main Nahi, Hum”. 

So why didn't it stick? Apparently, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had already been featured with the same slogan in a February 2011 campaign! Now, Modi would be expected to have the upper hand here. But his poll push has already suffered a setback due to the “Har har Modi, ghar ghar Modi” slogan coined by party workers in Varanasi, with even Hindutva bodies slamming the use of one of the names of Lord Shiva for political gain. 

Flak has also come from other corners, as has ridicule. The Samajwadi Party (SP) has spoofed the slogan with “Thar thar Modi, Dar Dar Modi”. But much before it did so, it's own supremo, Mulayam Singh Yadav, was the target of barbs because his poll anthem “Man se hain mulayan, iraade loha hai”, was exposed to be be blatantly “inspired” by Billy Joel's “We didn't start the fire”. 

While the SP leader has stuck with the campaign, Modi's poll machinery has changed the “Har har Modi” call to “Kashi ke kan kan me Modi”. But if you thought that would be the end of it, think some more! A new section of BJP workers has come up with a new slogan for the Gujarat chief minister. “Ya Modi sarvabhuteshu, rashtrarupena sansthita”, it goes, having been appropriated from a “shloka” veneering Goddess Durga. One can only hope that nothing gets out of hand in the slogan wars. Things can actually be very sedate and witty, if need be. Like how some people on social media are pointing out that both the Congress and the BJP are using the same line to campaign: “Vote for the Congress, and Rahul Gandhi will be prime minister.” 

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