In poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, it’s a season of slogans

By Mohit Dubey 

Lucknow, (IANS) : A little before an election that is being viewed as a mini-referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s almost three-year rule — as well as his most controversial decision: demonetisation — a slew of slogans, credos and punchlines are flying thick and fast.

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Focusing on the ongoing slugfest between Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Chief Minister son Akhilesh Yadav, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has coined a series of mocking advertisements with slogans like “Baap-Bete ke Draame Hazaar, Nahin Chahiye Aisi Sarkar” asking voters to reject the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) on basis of the power struggle within.

The party has also plans to take on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and SP with slogans like “Na bharshtachaar na gundon ka atyachaar, abki baar bas Bhajpa sarkaar” (No corruption, no musclemen, only BJP government). Its slogans also include: “Gundagardi ke thekedaar, nain chahiye Sapa sarkaar” (Don’t need SP’s goon contractors).

The mandarins of the BJP election campaign point out that their slogans are targeted at the SP’s failure to maintain law and order in the state, an issue BJP state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak pointed out, close to the hearts of the people. The BJP’s attack on the BSP is woven around its image of being a graft-friendly party which has lots of ill-gotten money.

The SP, on its part, has also lined-up professionals to coin slogans that would benefit it in the forthcoming assembly elections where it is trying to retain power for a second time.

While Akhilesh Yadav, mired in a power struggle with his father, remains the hot favourite for copy editors and slogan writers, with slogans like “Ye jawaani hain qurbaan, Akhilesh bhaiyya tumhare naam”, “Vikas ka paiya, Akhilesh bhaiyya”, “No Confusion, No Mistake, Sirf Akhilesh, Sirf Akhilesh” and “UP ki majboori hai, Akhilesh Yadav Zaroori hai”. The message sought to be conveyed: Akhilesh Yadav is your manna.

A “creative team”, close aides told IANS, was involved in designing an advertisement blitzkrieg. This includes attractive slogans. Some enthusiastic workers of both parties who are pitching for a pre-poll alliance between the Congress and SP have coined a new slogan, seeking active participation of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and Dimple Yadav, MP from Kannauj and Akhilesh Yadav’s wife.

Hoardings of the two have come up at some places in Allahabad, the seat of the Nehru-Gandhi clan.

The “Netaji” camp is so far sticking to old and time-tested slogans like ‘Dharti Putra Mulayam Singh’ and ‘Jiska Jalwa Kayam hai, Uska Naam Mulayam hai”.

The Congress, which is trying hard to regain lost ground over the past several years, and is now seeking for a pre-poll understanding with the SP, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and some small regional parties, is focussing on the past and its slogans generally revolve around party greats like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

They also centre around secular politics, farmers, communal harmony and development.

The BSP, which is making a feverish attempt to regain power in the state, which it lost to arch rival SP in 2012, is for the first time making a serious effort in political campaigning. With the tag line “Behenji Ko Aane do” appealing for the return to power of party chief Mayawati, strategists have drawn up a campaign that will focus on Dalits and minorities and the poor law and order in the state.

And so for now, as the nomination process for the seven-phase poll begins on Tuesday, the sloganeering is set to achieve a feverish pitch with parties vying for attention and votes.