A short history of India's political slogans

Trinamool Congress party leader Mamata Banerjee addresses her supporters at a rally in New Delhi, India
Image caption Trinammol Congress chief Mamata Banerjee ran a successful campaign with the slogan "Maa, Maati, Manush" (Mother, motherland and people) in 2011

Indian political campaigns may lack the glamour of US elections, but campaign slogans regularly provide the humour, interest and enthusiasm needed to engage pundits and voters alike.

This has ensured that the history of Indian politics is peppered with such memorable slogans as "Garabi Hatao" (Eradicate poverty) "India Shining" and "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" (Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer).

A good slogan can bring together people usually separated by religion, region, caste and language. In India such divides are widespread.

The history of India's election slogans offers an insight into the country's political history.

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's "Garibi Hatao" campaign in 1971 resonated with the nation and secured a landslide victory for her Congress Party.

'Save the nation'

India's economy was in a bad shape and the country's poor saw a glimmer of hope in a message which seemed to transcend divisions.

But her electoral triumph ended in catastrophe when, four years later, a court declared her win invalid.

A state of emergency was declared which saw the jailing of opposition leaders and severe restrictions to press freedom.

In response, several opposition parties united to form the Janata Morcha (People's Front) which campaigned under slogans such as "Indira Hatao, Desh Bachao" (Remove Indira, Save the Nation) and "Sampoorna Kranti" (Total Revolution).

The bloc swept to victory in the 1977 election.

Mrs Gandhi's father and India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was more famous for his speeches than slogans.

However he did coin the slogan "Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai" (Indians and Chinese are brothers) in the early 50s. This backfired as relations between the nations deteriorated sharply as a result of border disputes, eventually leading to a full-blown war in 1962.

But it was his successor and India's second PM Lal Bahadur Shastri who came up with the country's most popular slogan after Independence in 1947.

India was locked in a war with Pakistan in 1965 and there was a severe food shortage. Shastri's slogan "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" (Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer) boosted the nation's confidence at a time of crisis and aided the Congress Party's success at the polls.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee tweaked the slogan after the nuclear tests in 1998.

The new slogan "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan" (Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer, Hail Science) underlined the growing investment in science and technology at the time.

Image caption "Indira is India and India is Indira" was by far the most famous political slogan in 1970s India

The Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP) came to power in 1996 on the back of several famous slogans relating to Mr Vajpayee, whose corruption-free image made him an ideal face for the party.

"Sabko Dekha Bari Bari, Abki Bari Atal Bihari" (We have seen several others, but now it's Atal Bihari's turn) was the catchphrase among BJP supporters in the run-up to the elections.

But the most famous slogan which related directly to a political leader was created for Indira Gandhi.

Congress Party member Dev Kant Baruah coined the slogan "Indira is India and India is Indira" during the state of emergency in the mid 70s. His slogan indicated the power that Mrs Gandhi wielded at the time.

Modern slogans

National political parties hired professional public relations firms in the 2004 general elections to devise slogans and run campaigns.

By outsourcing this work they also ran the risk falling out of step with the people. The BJP got a taste of this after its much-publicised "India Shining" campaign failed spectacularly in 2004.

India's economy had been performing fairly well, but was far from shining. The voters recognised this and chose the Congress Party over the BJP.

The Sonia Gandhi-led Congress had a more realistic slogan "Aam Aadmi Ko Kya Mila?" (What did the common man get?) which offered a strong counterpoint to the "India Shining" message.

Regional parties seem to be doing better than their national counterparts when it comes to slogans.

Trinammol Congress chief Mamata Banerjee ran a successful election campaign with "Maa, Maati, Manush" (Mother, motherland and people) in 2011 and came to power in West Bengal.

After decades of rule by parties of the Communists, people saw freshness in this campaign and gave Ms Banerjee a chance to reinvent West Bengal.

As India heads for national elections in 2014, political parties will look to the key combination of words which resonate best with the voters.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here

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