With 294 legislative constituencies and 42 parliamentary constituencies, West Bengal has turned the epicentre of the political battle between the BJP and non-NDA parties including Congress, Left and TMC. While a three-front battle was expected in the state among the BJP, Congress-Left and Trinamool Congress, most of the regional parties have put their weight behind TMC making it a two-front battle between the BJP and the TMC. The high-voltage campaign in the state is being driven by some key slogans and are believed to have been shaping the poll narrative. Let’s take a look:
Bangla nijer meyekei chaay: The official poll campaign slogan of Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, ‘Bangla nijer meyekei chaay’ means Bengal wants its own daughter. The slogan is aimed at outsider debate. Mamata Banerjee has been calling the BJP leaders an outsider in the state and now she is facing the same charges in Nandigram where she is pitched against Suvendu Adhikari, a former TMC leader.
Khela Hobe (The game is on): The jingle coined by Trinamool Congress leader Debangshu Bhattacharya may suggest a sportsman-like spirit in connection with the poll, but it has a double meaning when it comes to voters. The slogan is being regularly used by TMC leaders at poll rallies and the BJP has also been countering it in their style. However, for a state like West Bengal where elections have rarely been violence-free, the slogan represents fear, threat and violence but playfulness.
Asol Poribortan: It’s BJP’s main poll slogan in West Bengal and is being repeatedly used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders. Notably, the word Poribortan (Change) was used extensively during 2011 West Bengal elections, the poll that saw TMC overthrowing the 34-year-old Left government. Citing the lack of development, culture of violence and cut-money, the BJP is using the modified slogan Asol Poribortan meaning Real Change. The BJP had also held several Parivartan Yatra in the state ahead of the poll date announcement.
Jai Shri Ram: A slogan that is often used in northern states for greeting and has a religious meaning as well, Jai Shri Ram is being chanted at every BJP rally in West Bengal. It’s for this slogan that Mamata Banerjee angrily announced not to speak at the Victoria Memorial function where PM Modi was also present. The TMC government later brought a resolution in the assembly condemning the incident of raising the Jai Shree Ram slogan in a government programme. Addressing a rally in Bengal, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had said that ‘Ram-drohi’ (those who hate Ram) has no place in India.
Sonar Bangla: It means Golden Bengal. While it’s one of the most common jingles used, the BJP is trying to set a narrative of change using the slogan. The saffron party has been alleging that no development has taken place in Bengal in the last few decades and it’s time to bring back ‘Sonar Bangla’, a Golden Bengal which was once known for its arts, culture and prosperity.