M A I N   N E W S

How Modi won the day for the BJP
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
Narendra Modi has delivered for the BJP and how.

Carefully scripted by his crack team, the ‘Modi vs Rest’ is a story that could have easily backfired. Many, including senior BJP leaders, believed the “presidential form of campaign” would never work for a diverse country such as India.

Results prove Modi and his men were able to pre-judge the aspirations of the people at a time the others failed. The win is not a fluke, but a definite mandate signifying Hindu consolidation across castes aided by other religions, analysts say. Performance in the North-East, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan is proof.

Engineering a “Modi wave” that Opposition parties pooh-poohed, Modi and his core group scripted a win that even die-hard BJP fans failed to anticipate. The synergy between RSS-BJP cadres added to the advantage.

Campaign 2014 is a copybook case of how poll campaigns should be run. Modi’s crack team headed by key aide Amit Shah ran a high-voltage campaign, unseen and unheard in modern-day politics, turning social media to his advantage.

Declaring him the PM candidate well in advance worked to the BJP’s advantage, giving people time to dwell over the possibility of Modi as PM. They successfully anticipated the mood of the people, anti-incumbency, anger, despondency and unemployment and tapped it. Exploiting to their advantage Modi’s ‘chai-wallah image’ (presented on a platter by Congress leader Mani Shakar Aiyer), the BJP used it to drive home Rahul Gandhi’s “silver spoon” upbringing.

Campaigning in presidential style, Modi played different cards -- development, good governance, caste and religion -- depending upon the place and the time, connecting with the public directly through interactions.

Modi evoked forgotten Congress leaders Sardar Patel and Madan Mohan Malviya to drive home the point that the Grand Old Party was only about the Nehru-Gandhis.

Social media campaigns underlined Modi’s techno-savvy image, making him a hit with youth and first-time voters. Whether it was the crisp, half-sleeve ‘Modi kurta’ designed by personal stylist Bipin Chauhan or the “mighty muscular” Scorpio he drove, it was a carefully-built image of man with a “56-inch” chest whom everyone could trust and rely upon. The “kamal” on the kurta became a reminder of the Right-Wing party.

BJP leaders say Modi’s day began at 5 am and continued past midnight. Travelling over 3 lakh km, he held 5,827 public meetings. Mixing traditional methods and technology (read 3-D rallies and ‘chai pe charcha’), he participated in what the BJP terms “one of the largest” mass outreach in India's electoral history. Starting on September 15 last year with an ex-servicemen's rally in Rewari, Modi ended his campaign on May 10 in Balia in eastern UP, visiting 25 states, presenting a unique vision for each.

Those who have worked with him closely reveal how he had ready-reckoners and dossiers for each seat, which he studied while in air. This explains how he could speak about the carpet industry in Bhadohi (UP) and switch over to sari weavers in Varanasi. This forged instant connections. Ditto for the North-East, where the BJP was not very strong.

The Amit Shah magic

Narendra Modi entrusted the most crucial of all states, Uttar Pradesh, on Amit Shah. Known for his organisational and planning capabilities, Shah had about 11 months to turn around the situation for the BJP in the state where the party had won only 10 seats in 2009. Shah managed to get the party’s act together by getting right the caste combinations in the electorally crucial state.





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