Pithy, apt, engaging: Poll slogans that captivated and those that didn’t - Hindustan Times

Pithy, apt, engaging: Poll slogans that captivated and those that didn’t

By, Lucknow
Apr 21, 2024 12:30 PM IST

Slogans shape elections reflecting the nation's mood. BJP's "Abki Baar 400 Paar" aims for a third term. Past slogans shaped political fortunes.

Slogans often shape elections – whether created by poll strategists or shaped by people’s consciousness – resonating with the mood of the nation. As the fortunes of political parties and their leaders changed, slogans too depicted this with punch lines and one-liners.

For representation only (HT File Photo)
For representation only (HT File Photo)

Now, when the nation is gearing up for the political battle of 2024, the ruling BJP is eyeing a third term, with the slogan of “Abki Baar 400 Paar”.

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Interestingly, only once in India’s history, the people of the country have mandated any political party with 400 plus MPs in Lok Sabha. That was four decades back in the 1984 general elections. The Congress achieved this phenomenal success, riding on the sympathy wave following Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984.

Here’s a look at some of the slogans that defined politics over the past four decades

1 Jab Tak Suraj Chand Rahega, Indira Tera Naam Rahega (1984) (Indira Gandhi will be remembered till there is the sun and the moon). A sympathy wave in favour of Congress resulted in a landslide victory for the party, which secured 404 Lok Sabha seats. Such majority has eluded any political party thereafter.

2 Raja Nahi Faquir Hai, Desh Ki Taqdeer Hai (1989) (He is not a king. He is an ascetic and the fate of the nation.)

This slogan caught the nation’s attention in 1989 Lok Sabha election with the people rallying around Vishwanath Pratap Singh, who resigned from the union cabinet as defence minister from the Rajiv Gandhi-led government, amid controversies and accusations of commission in defence deals. Singh rose to become Prime Minister of India in 1989.

3 Sabko Dekha Bari Bari, Abki Bari Atal Bihari (1996-1999) (All have been tried, vote for Atal Bihari Vajpayee this time). The BJP used this slogan to project Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996. Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the first time for 13 days in 1996 (from May 16 to June 1, 1996). He served as the Prime Minister of India for two more incomplete terms from March 19, 1998 to April 29, 1999 and from October 3, 1999 to May 10, 2004.

4 India shining (2004) This was a slogan that the BJP gave to describe the economic prosperity of India during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as PM in 2004. This slogan, however, proved to be a marketing gimmick that failed to work for the BJP in 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

5 Congress ka haath, aam admi ke sath (2004) (Congress with the common man, as also a pun on the party’s election symbol) People appear to have trusted this slogan more than the India Shining and led to formation of Congress-led government at the Centre and Manmohan Singh was installed as the Prime Minister in 2004.

6 Mazboot Neta, Nirnayak Sarkar (strong leader, decisive government) is the slogan that the BJP gave to project Lal Krishna Advani as a strong leader in 2009 Lok Sabha elections. This slogan also failed to work for the BJP in 2009.

7 Aam Admi Ke Badhte Kadam, Har Kadam Par Bharat Buland (2009) (The Congress rule has seen progress of common man and taken India to the top). This slogan worked for the Congress in 2009 Lok Sabha elections and Manmohan Singh was installed as Prime Minister of Congress-led UPA government for a second term.

8 Achhe din aane waale hain (2014) (Good days are coming). The BJP gave the Achhe Din slogan that worked for the party in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

9 Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar (2019) (Modi government again) Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s achievements were projected to seek one more term for the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and this worked favourably.

10 Abki Baar 400 Paar (at test in 2024 Lok Sabha elections) From “char sau chaar” (Four hundred four) seats to the Congress in 1984 Lok Sabha elections to the BJP’s slogan of “char sau paar” (over 400 score) in 2024 polls, India has travelled a long political way in the past four decades. How effectively this slogan will work for the BJP will be known on June 4 when the poll results are out.

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    Umesh Raghuvanshi is a journalist with over three decade experience. He covers politics, finance, environment and social issues. He has covered all assembly and parliament elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1984.

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