In 2004, ‘India Shining’ became the marketing slogan for then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government ahead of the General Elections but when the NDA lost to the Congress-led UPA, the tagline became a butt of jokes and was dubbed as a disastrous gimmick that cost the party an election in the Indian political history.
Now, 14 years later, the former chief of the Congress party and arguably its most important leader still, Sonia Gandhi has likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Achhe Din’ to ‘India Shining’, seemingly in a bid to bring back the memories of Vajpayee’s failed campaign, ahead of next year’s General Election.
“I am confident that the BJP’s achhe din will actually turn into Shining India, which brought us victory (sic),” Sonia Gandhi said at an event. She also questioned the claim that Modi government created 7.5 million jobs in 2017.
‘India Shining’ was a slogan popularised by the NDA with an aim to promote India’s economic optimism internationally, which analysts believed, backfired as the majority of India’s voters, living in rural areas, could not identify with it.
Swinging into action after a long silence since her son Rahul Gandhi took the charge at the helm of the party, Sonia Gandhi hit back at the Prime Minister reminding him of NDA’s failure, responding to several political barbs issued questioning the role of the Congress in the nation building.
Interestingly, even BJP leaders, time and again, have compared Narendra Modi’s economic decision to those of Vajpayee’s. Over the past few years, political analysts, too, have drawn some parallel between the Modi government and the Vajpayee government, with both giving high priorities to highway and road building, structural changes and economic optimism.
In fact, Moody’s last year upgraded India’s sovereign rating after 13 years. It was last done in 2004 during Vajpayee’s regime. Interestingly, the NDA government lost the elections just a few months after the Moody’s upgrade. Now, when Moody’s has upgraded India again, another general election is around the corner.
In 2014, Narendra Modi won the elections with a thumping majority with his political message of ‘Achhe Din’ aimed at rejuvenating the economy of the country, job creation and controlling inflation. Although, two major structural reforms demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which are getting lauded by rating agencies, also became the major disruptive force over a couple of years putting stress on the informal sector.
While the BJP government, so far, has won almost all major elections including Uttar Pradesh, Tripura and Gujarat, the GST disruptions were understood to have made it a difficult win for the BJP in Modi’s home-state Gujarat and opened doors for the Congress win in rural areas.