Never have bypolls taken up as much primetime news as they did in the recent bypolls to Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha seats. Given the antics of endlessly politicking netas, and bypoll after bypoll, most would like to say bye bye polls.
One line slogans capture voters’ imaginations. In the lush sugarcane fields of western UP, is Kairana where an important bypoll took place. During the campaign the opposition yelled: “They say Jinnah but we say ganna (sugarcane),” a reference to the ruling party’s campaign on religious issues like Jinnah’s portraits while the opposition was at pains to emphasise economic problems faced by sugarcane – or ganna – farmers in the area.
After all, democracy does translate as ganna-tantra in Hindi not to mention our respected national anthem Jana Gana Mana. Nevertheless winning elections is not just about wielding the meetha danda, it’s also about when under pressure, remaining thanda. That’s why the opposition in Kairana could create the winning combination of ganna, ganit and gatbandhan: namely, sugarcane issues plus caste arithmetic plus a united opposition front. Perhaps the united opposition should have been called an all parties ganna parishad.
PM Modi’s a master of the one-liner. In the 2014 campaign, he used two catchy words, namely “acche din”. But now there’s a din about whether anything turned out acche. The PM has also said the economic debate was one of Harvard vs hard work, that his government was doing the hard work, because Harvard economics hardly works. Voters generally want money for jam, which is why the Modi government has unveiled a policy called Jam – namely Jandhan+Aadhaar+Mobile. However with high petrol prices many are stuck in a jam. In the 2014 campaign, Modi even borrowed from a cola ad, when he said, “yeh dil maange more” and in Karnataka he said he was a kaamdaar against naamdaars, or worker vs dynast.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi too has latched onto the one liner bandwagon by calling the GST a Gabbar Singh Tax and Mamata Banerjee swept polls with one word “Poriborton”.
Given our addiction to the one-liner, we may ask when did this craze for the one-line begin? For that we have to turn to the original lady of the single line: namely Indira Gandhi who famously coined “garibi hatao”. Now that was the mother of the one-liner but the Indira example shows that governments who live by one-liners can soon become hardliners.
DISCLAIMER : This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.