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What’s SCAM, BSP, VIKAS? A battle of acronyms rages ahead of UP elections

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been coining amusing acronyms and redefinitions that have caught the attention of the public and triggered a battle of wits by rivals.

assembly elections Updated: Feb 26, 2017 20:42 IST
Sidheshwar Shukla, New Delhi, Hindustan Times
acronyms,BSP,Behenji Sampatti (wealth) Party
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses an election rally in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.(AP Photo)

In the heat of the crucial Uttar Pradesh elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been coining amusing acronyms and redefinitions that have caught the attention of the public and triggered a battle of wits by rivals.

Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was one his key targets, when, at a rally in UP’s Jalaun, Modi referred to it as ‘Behenji Sampatti (wealth) Party’, in a jibe at its chief, who is known as behenji (sister) and has been accused of selling party tickets.

Modi was only doing what he is best at. A master creator of abbreviations and acronyms, he loves redefining words, or creating new ones, to suit his audience and to get maximum mileage for his party.

Mayawati, on her part, didn’t take too much time to respond and, at a rally in Sultanpur hours later, accused Modi of being “an expert in jumlebaazi (empty rhetoric)”, and added that once he gets a “tit-for-tat reply”, he will forget all about it. “I have been compelled to do the same for him,” she said, spelling out PM’s name: “Narendra means negative, Damodardas means Dalit, Modi means man. It means our PM is Mr Negative Dalit Man.”

The ongoing assembly elections have seen the parties coming up with unusual acronyms and definitions. The list, of course, is led by the PM.

It all started with Modi’s reinvention of SCAM. Not the one where money, real or imaginary, is appropriated, but where the word, with all its negative connotations, stood for Samajwadi (Party), Congress, Akhilesh (Yadav) and Mayawati — never mind the emphasis on the ruling party and its CM. Or maybe do.

This one acronym coined by the PM during his first poll rally in UP led to attacks and counter attacks creating what could at best be described as an alphabet soup.

PM’s definition of SCAM was countered by UP’s CM Akhilesh Yadav’s re-interpretation at a rally in Auraiya: “Save the Country from Amit (Shah) and Modi.”

Congress too was not far behind, with party spokesperson Tom Vadakkan giving it a Hindi twist. “SCAM means satta bhogi, captee dhongi Amit Shah Modi,” he told reporters.

It’s a different matter altogether that his definition could at best be abbreviated as SBCDAM, that is, if we discount ‘Shah’ as silent. But, when it comes to political mudslinging, some liberties are taken for granted.

Read | From Modi, Mayawati to Akhilesh, it’s a no holds barred slogan war during UP elections

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tried to see some positive in SCAM and told a rally in Kanpur that it actually stands for “service, courage, ability and modesty”.

Seeking to trump the PM, the Congress also came up with six full-forms of his party, the BJP. Vadakkan defined it as “Bhagoda Jugadu Party”, “Bhai Bhateejawad Party”, “Bhaichara Jalao Party”, “Bhrashtachar Jagao Party” and “Bhramjaal Jagao Party”.

Just a day after redefining SCAM, PM announced in Aligarh that only his party can bring VIKAS. The Hindi word translates into development, but for PM it’s an acronym for Vidyut (electricity), Kanoon (law) and Sadak (roads), three aspects that BJP has been using to woo voters.

With the seven-phase elections in the state reaching only the half-way stage, it would be interesting to watch what else the PM and other political parties come up with.

First Published: Feb 21, 2017 12:17 IST