It was on a freezing January night at 1 Lodhi Estate, BJP’s nerve centre in the Capital, that a slogan was born. It was a simple tagline that Ajay Singh, Spice Jet co-founder, who was on the other end of a conference call in progress, came up with after brainstorming on other catchphrases that included “Desh ki pukaar, Modi sarkar” and “Iss baar, Modi sarkaar”.
The eureka moment was “Ab ki baar Modi sarkaar”, five words, which when dressed with Narendra Modi’s face, permeated through the consciousness of a nation and soon enough found themselves as writings on the wall, campaign pamphlets, hoardings, posters, TV and print advertisements. It was a lesson in rhetoric for the Congress that became a part of all the of Modi’s road to being the Prime Minister of the country. The has a huge role in uniting communities and changing its governance.
“According to a survey we conducted, Modi’s recall value was almost 22 per cent more than the BJP. So I was sure that his name needed to be there. But we never expected it to find so much resonance with the nation,” says 47-year-old Singh, who in the past has been an OST (officer on special duty) in the NDA government for two key ministries including Information and Broadcasting and Telecom and IT.
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But it’s Singh’s reputation to turn around sick units that precedes any project he had taken up. Spice Jet was a defunct airline when Singh invested in it and made it one of the more popular low-cost carriers in the country.
The campaign committee with Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Sudhanshu Trivedi and Singh at the helm, heard numerous pitches, including over a dozen “Kamal khilao” campaigns from various advertising agencies and individuals before finalising Ab ki baar… While a lot of senior members in BJP were keen on words such as swaraj and sushaasan to be included, Singh was thinking of appealing to a younger India.
“The idea was to make the slogan find resonance with everyone, which included a lot of first time voters. We had a new market to tap into and these stakeholders needed to be communicated with. There was real anger among people, be it inflation, safety of women and corruption. To counter it all and attack the existing government, we, in a team effort, brought out Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar,” said Singh. The next line of the campaign “Achhe din aane wale hai” was joined in later when Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and National Creative Director, Ogilvy, came on board. Lyricist Prasoon Joshi and Sam Balsara, Chairman of Madison World joined in soon after. Another line “Janta maaf nahi karegi” was added soon. “Every campaign has its own context. The agendas during Mr Vajpayee’s days were different. Modi’s speech on Friday touched a different chord with people. The guy has terrific focus. We should wait and watch,” said Singh.