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Last Updated : Jan 30, 2019 10:25 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

In Other Words | BJP is SEETA, Congress and others are GEETA

The BJP’s acronyms can be largely classified into two categories: the HAHAs for political rivals and the SAMOSAs for government schemes.

Viju Cherian @VijuCherian

Viju Cherian

When compared with other political parties in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is BICA. If you don’t know what BICA is, don’t bother to search for it on Google, because I just coined that acronym. BICA means Better In Coining Acronyms. When it comes to coining acronyms, the other political parties are still BATCHA — Bad At Catching Acronyms.

My poor effort at neologism and creolization could be an after effect of a constant exposure to the BJP’s efforts at it for the past five years.

Yes, there’s something about acronyms that attracts the BJP towards it. Right from NAMO (NArendra MOdi) till date, the national party has aced at either coining new ones (last counted it was more than 30) or giving alternative expansions to existing acronyms.

The BJP’s acronyms can be largely classified into two categories: HAHA (HArd Hitting Acronyms) or SAMOSA (Smart And MOstly Suave Acronyms). The HAHA is usually used during election campaigns and is reserved for BJP’s opponents. The SAMOSAs are used to explain government initiatives.

On Monday, January 28, BJP President Amit Shah came out with the latest. Speaking at an event at Una, in Himachal Pradesh, Shah said that while his party was serious about OROP (One Rank, One Pension), for the Congress OROP meant ‘Only Rahul, Only Priyanka’. It was a HAHA.

The Opposition, while replying to such jibes, does a bad job. The acronyms seem forced and lack the sting. However, replying to Shah’s OROP dig at Congress, former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah gave a novel twist to ODOMOS — Overdose (of) Only Modi Only Shah.

The last time Shah redefined an acronym, which created ripples, was during a speech in February 2017 when he asked the people not to vote for KASAB — Ka (Congress) Sa (Samajwadi Party) B (BSP). This was Shah’s way of denouncing the Congress-SP alliance and the Mayawati’s BSP during the UP assembly polls that year. This one also was a HAHA.

A majority of the BJP’s acronyms are coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and most of his are SAMOSAs, with the occasional HAHAs. Acronyms pepper his speeches — some complement his speeches, but at times they fall flat as well.

Generations of politicians have talked (and keeping talking) about development, but when Modi decided to talk about it, he gave it a twist and talked about VIKAS — Vidyut (Electricity) Kanoon (Law) and Sadak (Road). When he wanted to stress about digital connectivity and direct cash transfer, Modi stressed on JAM — Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile. While speaking about Make in India, he stressed on the need for FDI, the only catch was that FDI here was First Develop India. All these were SAMOSAs.

Shortly after he became Prime Minister, Modi had a HIT (Highways, Information-ways and Transways) plan for Nepal. In April last year, Modi focused on the STRENGTH (S – Spirituality; T - Tradition, Trade and Technology; R - Relationship; E – Entertainment, N - Nature; G – Games, T – Tourism, H - Health and Healing) of India-China ties. The jury is out on whether ties with these two countries have improved. It’s safe to say these acronyms fell flat.

In the run-up to the 2014 polls, Modi described the Congress as an ABCD party — Adarsh, Bofors, Coal and Damaad (son-in-law). The same year, when Aadmi Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal decided to contest against Modi from Varanasi, Modi said that there were three AKs that Pakistan admired: AK-47, AK Antony, and AK-49 (referring to Kejriwal’s 49-day stint as Delhi CM. These were all HAHAs.

Obviously there is an overdose of acronyms from the BJP. There is a juvenile streak in this excessive love for acronyms. It reflects a puerile enthusiasm that’s akin to high-school students selecting gang names for their group of friends.

That said, acronyms also have their benefits: They make good headlines, give an additional punch to what would otherwise be just another announcement of a government programme or an election speech, and, have a recall value. Moreover, a young India is familiar with acronyms. After all, in the Internet age, where YOLO (You Only Live Once), AFAIR (As Far As I Remember) and EOT (End Of Thread) are familiar words, the BJP might be ahead of the other political parties in the game. The problem is when there is an overkill.

Given that it’s election season, in the days ahead one can expect more acronyms from the BJP — and closely following it will be comebacks from the Opposition, who might be beset with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

To wind up, when it comes to the use of acronyms, the BJP is SEETA (Silly and Extremely Excited in Turning Acronyms) while the Congress and other parties are GEETA (Grudgingly Evincing Excitement in Turning Acronyms).

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First Published on Jan 30, 2019 10:25 am
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