Guest Post by SAIF AHMAD KHAN
The year 2004 saw the Indian electorate defying the verdict of psephologists by voting out the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre. The fundamental reason behind the defeat of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government was the slogan of “India Shining” which was perceived by the voters to be nothing more than a poll gimmick as millions of ordinary Indians were trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty and struggling due to high inflation.
However, a decade after 2004, one has reason to believe that “India Shining” was a blessing in disguise for the BJP. Traditionally, BJP was an anti-technology party owing to its Swadeshi leanings. When computer technology was being introduced by the Rajiv Gandhi government during the 1980s, the socialist parties opposed the move and argued that mechanization would lead to unemployment. The Sang Parivar echoed similar sentiments.
The general elections held in 2004 brought about a paradigm shift in BJP’s approach towards technology as the saffron party ran India’s first computer-centric, Hollywood-style electoral campaign. The most talked about thing of the 2004 elections was the “Indian Shining” slogan of the incumbent government. Prathap Suthan, National Creative Director of Grey Worldwide, was the man responsible for coning the term. India Shining was originally an initiative of the Central Government which sought to promote the country’s economic achievements and industrial progress on a global scale.