New election lexicon

New election lexicon

The Sunday Express brings you some electoral coinages of 2009 - from snarky to inventive - that added colour to campaign speeches and peppered conversations across India.

108 kuien kuien kuien ANDHRA PRADESH

A phrase popularised by Chief Minister YSR Reddy to remind people of his Rajiv Gandhi Arogyasri Scheme,which involves participation by private sector hospitals to bring medical care to the poor. The numbers 108 and 104 (for cities and rural areas) are what you need to dial for an ambulance which carts the patient to the nearest hospital. The ‘kuein kuein kuein’ was used effectively by YSR to mimic the siren.

Dalit Brahmins UTTAR PRADESH

Brahmins who flocked to the BSP in the 2007 assembly election—as a consequence of Mayawati’s ‘social engineering’—are sniggeringly called the ‘Dalit Brahmins’ by some in their own community. At one level,the term suggests that the BSP may not have attracted a representative Brahmin leadership in 2007. It is also a sign that caste prejudice,which had arguably taken a backseat to the overwhelming anti-Mulayam wave in the 2007 polls,may now be kicking back in.

Secular bones ORISSA

It was a phrase popularised by Naveen Patnaik in the aftermath of the Kandhamal riots. Though he first said it in a TV interview last year,Patnaik stressed his secular credentials during campaigning,repeating his famous “each bone of my body is secular” speech. He never forgot to remind voters that he chose to break away from a “communal BJP” after the Kandhamal riots.



When Punjab politicians say ‘ruler’,what they mean is ‘rural’. Call it a Freudian slip or a malapropism,but most of the prominent leaders of the state,including the chief minister,say: “Aaj ruler areas vich rally haigi (today there is a rally in rural areas).” The word has caught on: people in these ‘ruler areas’ think ‘ruler’ means village.

Baloongra PUNJAB

A not-so-pleasant appellation that has come to be associated with Akali Dal President and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal,courtesy former Congress Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Baloongra,in Punjabi,means a little male kitten. In all his public addresses,Singh calls Badal Jr ‘baloongra’. When asked about it,he said,“What is wrong with that? Little cats are such adorable creatures. Don’t you like them?” Badal responded by saying: “So much for his genteel blue blood upbringing. No one can beat him in foul language.”


This elections,‘cover’ means a variety of gifts distributed to voters either early in the morning or late in the night—when it’s safe from election observers and rival party cadres. The word was coloured to mean bribe after voters in some areas received crisp

Rs 500 notes recently. Even when the gift becomes saris or tokens for liquor,the question now is: “Did you get the cover?”

Dil ka rishta UTTAR PRADESH

This was the Gandhi family’s pet phrase to explain their absence from Amethi and Rae Bareli while they campaigned in the rest of the country. Both Sonia and Rahul—who campaigned only for a day in their constituencies—said they need not worry because “Rae Bareli aur Amethi ki janta se humara dil ka rishta hai (we share a bond of the heart with the people of Rae Bareli and Amethi)”. Priyanka said in her public meetings,“Aap se to humara dil ka rishta hai,isliye apse vote nahi pyar chahate hain (we share a bond of the heart with you,so we seek love from you,not votes).”


The phrase is often used to underline the importance of the Scindia family in the electoral politics of the Gwalior-Guna-Shivpuri region. When a representative of the erstwhile royal family is contesting,the mahal (palace) factor comes into play directly. When a Scindia is not in the fray,a representative backed by the family,irrespective of the political divide,is believed to benefit from the M factor.


The word was popularised by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to describe his role as a provider to poor families that benefit from government schemes such as Ladli Laxmi and Kanyadaan. The Congress tried to run down Chouhan by prefixing ‘Kansa’ before ‘mama’.

Payment seat KERALA

The phrase is usually associated with self-financing colleges,where students who pay hefty donations get seats,irrespective of merit. In this election,the phrase gained currency in both Congress and Left circles. Congressmen called Thiruvananthapuram a payment seat after the high command flew down Shashi Tharoor as the party candidate. In the Left camp,Kozhikode became a ‘payment seat’ after the CPI(M) fielded a young,not-so popular comrade,who is reportedly close to a controversial moneybag.

Poribartan WEST BENGAL

Poribartan,or change,is the buzzword here as people see the Left Front in a rare,defensive mode. The CPI(M) is not convinced,however. “This is a term coined by the Opposition parties. This is irrelevant in this election because even if there is a change,that will happen at the Centre and not at the state,” says Manab Mukherjee of the CPI(M).

Yeddy-Reddy-Cheddy KARNATAKA

This is a reference to the power triumvirate within the BJP in Karnataka—Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa,the Reddys (mining barons from Bellary) and the khaki shorts (cheddy or chaddi) of the RSS. The phrase emerged in the opposition Congress camp and was used by former chief minister S. Bangarappa (now in the Congress) in the course of his electoral battle with Yeddyurappa’s son B.Y. Raghavendra.

Hakka-Bukka,Sachin-Dhoni,Koti-Chennaiah KARNATAKA

Hard pressed to prove that simmering differences between him and CM Yeddyurappa are a figment of people’s imagination,BJP leader H.N. Ananth Kumar compared his relationship with the CM to several historical and contemporary partnerships. At one point,they were the twin founders of the Vijayanagara kingdom—Hakka and Bukka. At another,Ananth Kumar was Sachin and Yeddyurappa was Dhoni. And then,they became Koti and Chennaiah,the mythological warlord brothers known for their unity.

Parking lot KARNATAKA

Early in the run-up to the elections,BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu referred to the Third Front as ‘a parking lot’ where parties will park until the day of the election results. Though Naidu himself rarely re-used the phrase after others pointed out that the BJP could also need parties from the parking lot,the phrase seems to have stuck.

Express News Service Bureaus


‘Afzal ko maafi,saadhvi ko jail,yeh hai UPA ka khel’

Used by both Yogi Adityanath,the BJP’s Gorakhpur candidate,and Uma Bharati,this slogan was popular in Hindutva seats like Gorakhpur,Maharajganj,Faizabad,Ambedkarnagar,Pratapgarh and Mirzapur.

‘Badlaav ki aandhi,Varun Gandhi’

The popular Congress slogan of the 80s,‘Badlaav ki aandhi,Indira Gandhi’,following the fall of the Janata Party government in 1979,has now been adopted by the Pilibhit unit of the BJP for the party’s new firebrand leader,Varun Gandhi.

‘Congress ka nara vanshvaad vanshvaad,BJP ka rashtravaad rastravaad’

With this slogan,the BJP in UP is going in for a twin-pronged attack: hit out at the family politics of the Congress while claiming to be more nationalistic than its rivals.

‘Gunde chadhh gaye haathi par,goli maar rahe chhati par’

In the 2007 assembly elections,BSP’s slogan was ‘Chadhh gundo ki chhati par,mohar lagegi haathi par’ (grab the goon by the neck and vote for the ‘elephant’,the BSP’s symbol). The Samajwadi Party tweaked this slogan to attack Mayawati for alleged murders by BSP members.

‘Haath nahi haathi…’

To woo traditional Congress voters in South Mumbai,where the BSP’s Mohammed Ali Shaikh is pitted against Congress MP Milind Deora,the BSP had coined the slogan: ‘Haath nahi haathi,Mohammedbhai hain saathi’. The same slogan was used in the Mumbai North-Central constituency,where Haji Ibrahim Shaikh of the BSP is fighting the Congress’s Priya Dutt. Here the slogan was changed to: ‘Haath nahi haathi; Bhaijaan hain saathi’.

‘Nalpathum namathe,naale namathe’

This translates into “forty are ours,so is the future”. This is AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa’s reference to the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and is her way of saying that she will win all 40 seats and decide who will form the government at the Centre.

‘Lootele ba,lutavat ba,lootele khatir dhavat ba’

This translates into: “He first looted people,then spent this loot money to woo voters and is in the race so that he can loot people again.” This Bhojpuri slogan has become popular in eastern Uttar Pradesh and is being used against BSP candidates,especially in Deoria,where the party has fielded Gorakh Prasad Jaiswal,a prominent liquor trader.

‘Na helicopter na paisa,Marotrao Khavse apne jaisa’


The BJP used the slogan in union minister Kamal Nath’s constituency in Madhya Pradesh to drive home the point that its candidate Marotrao Khavse is a common man unlike Nath,who has a helipad in his palatial house in Chhindwara.