LUCKNOW: As the Lok Sabha polls become increasingly personality oriented, the creativity behind coining political slogans has been crushed to death.

Slogans that used to be the mainstay of campaigning have now been replaced by punch lines that carry little colour and context. Yeh dekho Indira ka khel, kha gayi shakkar, pee gayi tel, was coined by the erstwhile Jana Sangh

In the seventies, slogans like ‘Jali jhopdi, bhage bail, yeh dekho Deepak ka khel’ – bail or bullocks being the Congress symbol and Deepak being the Jan Sangh symbol. This slogan was responded with ‘Is Deepak mein tel nahin, sarkar chalana khel nahin’.

Campaigns during this period were colourful and joyous with no individual baiting. Children scampered around singing these slogans without realizing the political relevance.

Indira Gandhi’s ‘Garibi Hatao, Indira lao, desh bachao’ caught the voters fancy and propelled her back into power.Jayaprakash Narayan countered this with, “Indira hatao, desh bachao.” Undettered the Congress continued with, “Ek Sherni, Sau Langur, Chikmaglur bhai Chikmaglur.” And after Indira Gandhi was assassinated the Congress mourned with, “ab tak sooraj chand rahega, Indira tera naam rahega.”

As the Ayodhya movement gained momentum, it was “Ram Lalla hum aayenge , mandir wahin banayenge’.

The Congress tried to counter the impact of the Mandal commission with ‘Jaat par na paat par, mohar lagegi haath par’ but got voted out in 1989.

Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee tried to push the temple issue on the backburner and the slogan that ushered in his government was ‘Sabko dekha baar baar, humko dekho ek baar’. The shift from religion to development was subtle but definite.’Sab par bhaari , Atal Bihari’ cashed in on the popularity of Mr Vajpayee.

In 2004, ‘Congress lao, desh bachao’ brought Congress back into power. And in an effort to build Sonia Gandhi’s acceptability the Congress party coined, “Sonia nahi yeh aandhi hai, doosri Indira Gandhi hai.”

The regional parties were not to be left behind with “jab tak rahega samose mein aloo, tab tak rahega Bihar mein Lalu” becoming a very popular slogan in support of Lalu Prasad Yadav. And in what was a predecessor of the Samajwadi party-Bahujan Samaj party gathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh today, “Mile Mulayam-Kanshiram, hawa ho gaye Jai Shree Ram” worked for the patriarchs of the two parties.

In 2014, the election system went for a change and a more visible presidential form of system was seen during the campaign. Prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi became more important than his own party and the slogans that reverberated in the air was ‘Har har Modi, ghar ghar Modi’ and ‘Achche din aayenge’.

The campaign came with a tag line that said “Abki baar, Modi sarkaar’ and the impact swept the BJP into power with an overwhelming majority.

As the 2019 polls rolled in , slogans have given way to punch lines that are short, crisp and convey the message in less than five words.

The BJP is banking on ‘Main hoon chowkidaar’, Modi hai to mumkin hai’ and ‘Phir ek baar Modi sarkaar’. Having failed to fulfill most of the promises it made in 2014, the BJP has conveniently dropped the ‘Achche din’ tag line.

The Congress, this time, has also come up with the punch line ‘Ab hoga nyay” and the reference is to its promises of giving Rs 72,000 a year to all BPL families if voted to power.

Senior journalist Suresh Bahadur Singh explains the phenomenon when he says, “Majority of the voters are youth and political parties want to address them in their language. This is the age of texting and WhatsApp and the message has to be short and crisp and slogans have been replaced by punch lines”.