Khurshid asks EC to take cognisance of ‘Har Har Modi’ slogan

Uttar Pradesh BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai, who credits himself with launching the slogan ‘Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi’ at a rally in Jhansi addressed by the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in October 2013, said the slogan was a created “by chance”.

“A party worker was casually raising the slogan. I liked it and adopted it. It quickly became popular among the cadres,” he said. The BJP has been using the slogan in Mr. Modi’s rallies in the State. At a meeting in Varanasi a few months ago, senior leader M.M. Joshi exhorted the cadres to chant the slogan with him.

State BJP leaders admitted there has been a backlash to the slogan as Hindu seers have objected to its use. Soon after Mr. Modi’s tweet, the BJP disowned the slogan. “There are discussions on 'Har Har Modi' as if it is a BJP nara (slogan). This is incorrect. The BJP slogan is 'Abki baar Modi sarkaar',” said BJP's national spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has approached the Election Commission to take cognisance of the slogan. “We respect democracy but God is above it...I request the EC to take cognisance of the slogan used by the BJP,” the PTI quoted Mr. Khurshid speaking in Farrukhabad. While posters with the slogan have been splashed across various cities, predominantly Varanasi, there is a page dedicated to the slogan on the social networking site Facebook, which boasts of about 7,261 likes.

Some observers believe the oblique comparison between Lord Shiva and Mr. Modi suggested in the slogan is deliberate, and could even be aimed at wooing the OBCs and the Dalits. Badri Narayan Tiwari, author of Fascinating Hindutva: Saffron Politics and Dalit Mobilization, says the slogan was a direct appeasement of “militant Hinduvta” since Lord Shiva represents the image of a warring God. “Har Har Mahadev has been a popular war cry,” Mr. Tiwari said.