Once every few years, India wakes up to the loud sounds & spicy smells of the biggest festival in the world which cuts across all religions, caste & creed. Yes, they are elections, which symbolizes the spirit of India’s democracy. Crores of rupees are spent by politicians who turn into marketing genius, each portraying himself/herself as the savior of masses, sometimes at the cost of discrediting political rivals. Apart from the usual placards, billboards & advertisements, what adds color to such campaigns are the slogans which strike a chord with the masses. A well framed, catchy, rhyming slogan has the potential to create significant impact which money cant buy. As the popularly acknowledged saying goes: “Slogans are like spice. Without them the elections would be like boiled vegetables“
The roots of such catchy slogans in political history of independent India can be traced back to 1952 General Elections in which Dr Ambedkar was defeated by a simpleton named Kajrolkar. A marathi journalist (P.K.Atre) quickly coined a catchy slogan which went viral:
“Kuthe to Ghatnakar Ambedkar, Aani Kuthe ha Lonivikya Kajrolkar?”
which translates to
“Where is the great constitution-maker Ambedkar and where is the obscure butter-seller Kajrolkar?”
Thanks to Atre who triggered the “slogan revolution” by popularizing the above slogan, India has witnessed a slew of creative, funny & catchy slogans. What makes it spicy is the slogan warfare where each party tries to come up with a counter-slogan to mock at another party’s slogan, effectively turning it into a battle of sorts.
Some of the most popular slogans and their counter-slogans by rival parties along with relevant rare photographs are consolidated as follows.
Jana Sangh: Jana Sangh ko vote do, bidi peena chod do;
Bidi mein tambaku hai, Congress-wala daku hai.
Shiv Sena: Congress or Progress?
Congress: Progress through Congress
Congress: Vote for calf & cow, forget all others now.
Jana Sangh: Yeh Dekho Indira Ka Khel, Kha Gayi Shakkar, Pee Gayi Tel
Congress: Garibi Hatao, Indira Lao, Desh Bacaho
Janata Party: Indira hatao, Desh bachao
Congress: Ek Sherni, Sau Langur, Chikmaglur bhai Chikmaglur.
1980s & 90s:
Congress: Jab tak suraj chand rahega, Indira tera naam rahega
Lalu Prasad Yadav: Jab tak rahega samose mein aloo, tab tak rahega Bihar mein Lalu
BJP: Bachacha bachacha Ram ka, Janmabhoomi ke kaam ka
Mile Mulayam Kanshiram, hawa ho gaye Jai Shree Ram
Congress: Jaat par na pat par, mohar lagegi haath par.
BJP: Bari, bari, sab ki bari, ab ki bari, Atal Bihari
2000 & onwards:
Congress: Sonia nahi yeh aandhi hai, doosri Indira Gandhi hai
SP: UP mein hai dum, jurm hai yahan kam
Congress: UP Mein Tha Dam, Kahan Pahuch Gaye Hum
Congress: Poori roti khayenge, 100 din kaam karenge, dawaiee lenge aur Congress ko jitayenge.