Narendra Modi was considered as one of the most popular leaders within the BJP prior to 2014. There is no doubt that when he speaks, he is able to seize the imagination of the people. In March 2013, Modi was appointed to the BJP Parliamentary Board, the party’s highest decision-making body, and was chosen to be chairman of the party’s Central Election Campaign Committee. In fact his selection to head the poll campaign for the General Elections at the National Level Executive Meeting, led to BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani resign from all his posts in June 2013.
Since then, we have seen a series of witty and catchy slogans coined by the government of the day. We analyse the effect and impact of these slogans as ground reality today in 2018.
AB KI BAAR, MODI SARKAAR
Betting strongly on the popularity of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the party echoed its umbrella slogan “Abki Bar, Modi Sarkar” (This time, it’s Modi’s government). The slogan clearly identified Modi as the face of BJP, sidelining all other senior members, who had worked through the years aspiring to be the Prime Ministerial candidate.
However, key BJP rivals were of the opinion that the party had no ground work or no other leader worth highlighting in its campaign.
Although, the primary slogan for 2019 general elections has been altered by Modi on Sunday. He has given a clarion call to all BJP Karyakartas to support the narrative of “Ajay Bharat, Atal Bharat” for 2019. He has also coined a new phrase setting the tone for “Ajay Bharat, Atal Bhajapa” in an effort to motivate the party workers. Interestingly, he nor the party have not chosen to promote the word “Modi” in the primary slogan this time.
ZERO DEFECT, ZERO EFFECT
After becoming the 14th Prime Minister of India, one of the many slogans Modi came up with in his 65-minute long maiden speech from the ramparts of Red Fort, was “Zero Defect, Zero Effect”. He urged the youth to contribute in boosting the sectors critical to India’s economic success. The said slogan was intended to encourage one million small and medium enterprises over the next three to five years to deliver top quality products using clean technology. The aim of this model was also to promote goods from India and discourage them from being rejected in the global market.
“Bhaiyya, bahut pareshani main hain (Brother, we are in deep trouble),”
said Kaushalya Devi, whose family was in the pottery business. She sold her wares on a street in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad.
“Log aa hi nahin rahe (People are just not coming),”
she lamented, adding that the situation being seen on Diwali was just a repetition of what was witnessed during Karwa Chauth and Navratri, earlier that year.
Her son, Satpal, explained that the family sold karwas during Karwa Chauth, handis during Navratri and diyas, Lakshmi and Ganesh statues and hathris during Diwali. But the sales were down to just 40 paise in a rupee and they couldn’t fathom why.
MAKE IN INDIA
There is no qualm in mentioning that ‘Make In India’ was one of the most important and catchy slogans by the Modi government. This was done with an initiative to encourage companies to manufacture their products in India. Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25th September, 2014, the slogan became the main agenda in various foreign visits of Modi, where he has asked domestic and foreign stakeholders to manufacture more products in India and sell them across the globe. His speech often narrated that the major objective behind the initiative was to focus on 25 top sectors of the economy, such as automobiles, chemicals, IT, aviation, etc. for job creation and skill enhancement.
However, as per a report in the Economic Times of India in 2017, there had been a steep decline in Manufacturing after two years of announcing “Make In India”. The newspaper even quoted that on the contrary, it seemed to have lost steam and, in 2016-17 and the sector had weakened considerably. Between Q1 and Q4 of 2016-17, the growth rate of manufacturing GVA had halved. The weakness of the manufacturing sector was reflected in the steady drop in the growth rate of overall GVA. The conclusion is that apart from the announcement of ‘Make in India’, there has been little policy or administrative support. The report further said that unfortunately, it appeared that there was little homework done before and practically no policy support after, thus terming “Make in India” into a mere hollow slogan.
BETI BACHAO, BETI PADHAO
This was yet another serious slogan coined by the Prime Minister on 22nd January, 2015 from Panipat, Haryana. He declared this scheme to be government’s initiative that aimed to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services meant for women. An initial corpus of Rs. 100 crore was pumped into the welfare of girl child, especially to boost the child sex ratio (from 0-6 years).
Disappointingly, this scheme too turned out to be mere jargon as the Prime Minister as well as the Minister of Women and Child Development Affairs, chose to remain mum on various rapes and murders of women and children reported from BJP ruled states. Kathua (J&K) rape of a eight year old girl was the Nirbhaya moment for the centre. There were nation wide debates and protests to arrest the perpetrators, however, the local government in J&K then (BJP and PDP) chose to defend the accused instead. The deafening silence of the Prime Minister during such a heinous crime that caught the National ire, reduced his slogan of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” just to a mere catchphrase. It was only after humongous outrage that the Minister of Women and Child Development chose to make a statement with respect to the case.
Of course, there were several other cases such as that of Gauri Lankesh’s murder. The argument that often comes from BJP supporters is that PM is not liable to comment on every incident in the state. However, larger questions were raised on PM’s twitter handle following those unknown entities who hailed the murder of this anti-right wing journalist from Bangalore.
MINIMUM GOVERNMENT, MAXIMUM GOVERNANCE
The 2014 election campaign for BJP focused heavily on another slogan, “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”. Modi claimed victory in the way he led the state of Gujarat with this image. He also asserted to have changed the way the government functioned in his home state, thereby, making it more efficient. He had then described this terminology as ‘more of development politics’ and similar to a ‘one day’ cricket match.
However, the past four and a half years have a different story to tell. Taking key sectors and major institutions into account, the influence of Maximum Government seemed dominant in all the unceremonious events that unfolded over a period of time. Raghuram Rajan, RBI Governor abruptly ended his term to return to the states. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor of India, also chose “pressing family commitments” as a reason to resign and move back to the States.
India will not forget the unprecedented press conference undertaken by four Supreme Court judges, who implied that the judiciary was being compromised. Anything said about the State of Mainstream Media in India today, will be an understatement. Several voluntary and involuntary exits of Media persons from News Channels (ABP being recent most), Print Media (both English as well as Regional) or even Cartoonists have laid numerous questions on the influence of government in the day-to-day reporting of the media.
The slogan was just ironically reduced to “Maximum Government”.
SABKA SAATH SABKA VIKAAS
None of the countrymen can overlook one of the most principal slogan coined by Modi back in 2014. His developmental vision mirrored in his poll slogan of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. This motto was also a reflection on his stand of divisive politics which he was accused of during the 2002 riots of Gujarat. This slogan brought together virtually all minorities to lay their faith in his Prime Ministerial candidature and support him in his strive for an inclusive growth of India.
Once again, the divisive politics became apparent during the UP elections of 2017, when PM Modi used the phrase “Shamshaan Vs Kabristaan”. The use of the ‘Neech’ jibe by Congress’ Mani Shanker Aiyer was also turned into a political advantage for Modi just before the Gujarat elections. Mob vigilantism and lynching in the name of cow, forced the Supreme Court of India to step in and question the respective state governments. Once again, the centre was silent on sending out a strong message with respect to “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas”.
Lastly, has the peppy number of “Achhe Din Aane Wale Hai” just been reduced to Themes for various Memes?