Days after the announcement of the 2019 Lok Sabha poll schedule on March 10 by the Election Commission of India, the war of words between the two principal parties – BJP and Congress – have been heated up.
While the BJP pitched ‘Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar’ and the Congress has come with ‘Ab Hoga Nyay’.
Firstly, the Congress president Rahul Gandhi had accused the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of wrongdoing in the Rafale fighter jet deal and called him ‘Chowkidar chor hain’. The reference to Chowkidar came from Modi’s 2014 promise that he will play guardian to the nation’s wealth, and not let politicians steal it.
But in politics, perceptions matter as much as reality. The NDA came back using the same Chowkidar meme to turn the tables. The Prime Minister said that all citizens need to be vigilant chowkidars and not just himself. He launched the #MainBhiChowkidar campaign.
Subsequently, the PM’s Twitter handle quickly became Chowkidar Narendra Modi, and soon all his cabinet colleagues followed the suit.
From #MainBhiChowkidar, it was just a hop step and jump away to the Modi campaign’s final tagline: Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar.
The Modi tagline worked well with another campaign slogan, Majboot Sarkar versus Majboor Sarkar. Given the rag-tag nature of the opposition to Modi, the progression from #MainBhiChowkidar to Majboot Sarkar and Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar was smooth.
On the other hand, Congress later introduced its NYAY – Nyuntam Aay Yojana – for the poorest 20 per cent of the population. The NYAY means that justice will be delivered to the poor, which also serves as an indirect hint that the present government caters largely to the rich. This logically led the Congress to its campaign slogan – Ab hoga Nyay.
The BJP released its manifesto and dubbed it as ‘Sankalp Patra’. While Congress termed its manifesto as ‘We Will Deliver’.
The two parties’ slogans are completing opposite: the BJP’s Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar and the Congress’ Ab Hoga Nyay.
Both are short forms for two different ideas for voters to accept-reject. One asks voters to trust in a strong leader who tirelessly works for the nation, and the other asks voters to invest in an idea of self-interest combined with the larger idea of justice.
But only the time will tell not only which party will win, but which slogan got more traction with the voter.