In the last month before the election commission enforces the model code of conduct for the forthcoming polls, the Narendra Modi government has unleashed a barrage of advertisements in newspapers and on social media. The ads are all accompanied by a slogan: “Namumkin ab mumkin hai”. The impossible is now possible.
The newly crafted slogan, described as the Modi government’s “campaign tagline”, first appeared in media reports on February 21. The Asian Age reported the slogan would accompany ads about the government’s achievements in implementing welfare schemes.
Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign slogan is quite similar: “Modi hai toh mumkin hai.” With Modi, it’s possible. The slogan was first used by the prime minister himself while addressing a BJP rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk on February 23, according to NDTV.
Since then, the slogan has featured in the party’s campaign material. It could be seen on the party’s billboards and hoardings in Ahmedabad in Gujarat ahead of Modi’s visit on March 4, The Indian Express reported. The hoardings included pictures of Modi with soldiers of the Indian Army and lauded him for the action taken in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.
Strikingly, when the prime minister travelled to Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi to inaugurate some development projects, Chief Minister Adityanath fused the government’s slogan with the party’s campaign line. “The public today has full faith that any work for the betterment of the country is not impossible because now the impossible is possible,” he declared. “So now you will all say with me that Modi is there, then it is possible.”
‘Public money to campaign for party’
Crafting similar campaign slogans for the government and the party was effective thinking by the BJP, said political observers while raising questions of legality and propriety.
Yogendra Yadav, president of Swaraj India, said the slogans were a “milder way” in which the BJP was “blurring the lines between the party and the government”. “The point is to fuse everything in the campaign into Narendra Modi,” he explained. “The effectiveness of their campaign is to connect everything to him and to the BJP. It is a chain of equivalents which is to say that India equals the Indian government, which equals the BJP, which equals Modi.”
As Scroll.in reported earlier, the prime minister has been combining official work with BJP rallies since the start of the year, raising questions about how his travel expenses were being divided between the government and the party.
Such blurring of the lines was not uncommon but it was happening more “blatantly now”, noted Jagdeep Chhokar of the Association for Democratic Reforms. “This certainly raises questions of propriety,” he said of the similar-sounding slogans. “Public money is being spent indirectly to campaign for a party. It can also raise questions about legality but that depends on the election commission, if they want to take it up.”
Blurring the lines further
Not only do the slogans sound similar, the BJP has been using the government’s tagline in social media posts carrying government publicity videos and posters.
Modi himself has used the government’s slogan while speaking at BJP rallies, including the February 28 “Mera booth, sabse mazboot” programme with the volunteers and workers of his party.
“Today, the country is filled with confidence,” he said at the programme. “The youth today have the will and faith to do something. From farmers to army men, everyone has faith that the impossible is now possible,” he said.
He had used the same slogan while speaking about Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, a minimum income support for farmers introduced on February 1, in Churu, Rajasthan, on February 26. He was addressing a BJP rally.
“When we announced this scheme in Parliament, then many people said it will not be possible. That it is impossible,” he said. “But the impossible is possible, because this is the Modi sarkar.”
The previous day, he had used the slogan while speaking at the inauguration of the National War Memorial in New Delhi. “Now a strong government is in front of you, which knows how to turn the impossible into possible,” the prime minister said. “For the pride of the nation, for the respect of the brave, for you and for your family, your prime servant here will always take decisions for the benefit of the nation. The aim of security, prosperity and development of the nation are so important to me that I will am ready to fight every difficulty, every conspiracy that comes in my way.”