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BLAME game

Politicians are ‘Boldly Loving Acronyms Made for Elections’. Will these engage voters too?

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February 8, 2017 12:09:21 am
 UP elections, Uttar Pradesh, UP polls, Modi, SCAM, SP-Congress alliance, Modi-SCAM, assembly elections, India news, Indian Express Aligarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election rally in Aligarh on Sunday. The rally drew huge crowd with BJP workers pouring in from all sides. (PTI Photo)

As election season arrives, netas are adding colour to the polls with their fresh and springy barbs. PM Modi, addressing poll-bound UP, stated that the region had to save itself from “SCAM” — meaning S for Samajwadi, C for Congress, A for Akhilesh, M for Mayawati. The PM is famously fond of acronyms; he’s used simple ones to deadly effect. Remember the “ABCD” he hit the Congress with, unfolding to Adarsh, Bofors, Coal, Damaad. Or the “AK-49” he used for Arvind Kejriwal, who had resigned as Delhi CM after 49 hectic days.

But the PM doesn’t coin acronyms only to score PPP — piquant political points. There are socially productive acronyms and metaphors (SPAM) Modi unleashes while discussing desh ka development too; these include beguiling JAM (neither a sweet treat, nor a sweaty music session, but instead, the prosaic Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile), 4Ps (People-Public-Private-Partnership) for 2G, sorry, good governance, and that philosophical gem: IT + IT = IT (Indian Talent + Information Technology = India Tomorrow). To ensure the world doesn’t feel left out (LO), Modi captures foreign relations in nifty acronyms too. Sample InCh Towards MILES, meaning India-China Towards a Millennium of Exceptional Synergy, received with implacability by an inscrutable Chinese establishment (ICE).

This whirlwind of acronyms might dismay lovers of language. But this is inevitable in the time of Twitter, fast emerging as an alternative house of commons, a bustling, argumentative forum where big ideas must be squeezed into 140 characters — or, even better, a nimble acronym. Given the fun PM Modi is clearly having, his opponents are joining the word-game too. Hence, SCAM has become a bold, many-splendoured term. While Rahul Gandhi created a quiet counter (“SCAM stands for Seva, Courage, Ability and Modesty,” he told a Kanpur crowd), Akhilesh Yadav hit back with a less subtle blow, saying the real definition of SCAM was “Save the Country from Amit Shah and Modi”. The netas clearly love this new war of half-words. Just remember, voters have their own acronym too: NOTA.

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