Author and Journalist Prashant Jha says, “After 75 days of groundwork in Uttar Pradesh, I did anticipate a BJP win but not this massive a win”. He recollects how the former President Pranab Mukherjee once told him that you could understand elections only after the elections. So, while talking about “Inside India’s Greatest Election Machine”, Prashant took the audience through a breathtaking analysis of how BJP wins its elections.
Prashant lists 5 distinct aspects which are of strategic importance in the huge wins that BJP has secured in the last few years.
Prime Minister Modi’s appeal
He points out how Mr Narendra Modi rose to power by portraying himself as a Hindu leader in Gujarat. After 2007, he improved his image to become a Vikas Purush or the leader who delivers, without losing out on the Hindu Leader Image.
In 2015, when BJP which was always considered a corporate friendly party suffered major electoral setbacks, he started brandishing a new image- ‘Gareebon ka Neta’ or leader of the poor. Demonetization, Sharper delivery of welfare schemes like DBT scheme, Ujjwala Scheme in UP, Swacch Bharat, Farm Loan waiver etc. are in that perspective.
Amit Shah School of Election Management
BJP now claims to be the largest political party in the world. Even if that is exaggerated, it is true that there has been a significant increase in the membership strength thanks to the missed call-membership campaign. The Grass root committees of the parties have been kept very active throughout the year. The ticket distribution strategy of BJP was not based on ideology but on winnability.
The party also projects itself as the winning party thereby playing with the psyche of the Indian voter who thinks voting for a party that might lose is a waste of his vote.
Inclusive Hindu Party
Prashant explains how BJP has made efforts to reach out to the OBC population after 2014. Even in the recent elections, one can see for themselves how BJP formed a multi-party coalition against the dominant caste of that state thereby uniting the others. The only people left out were the Muslims.
During the Vajpayee’s government, there was a constant tension between the party and the Sangh. But the camaraderie between RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat and Modi has made things better between them. This means a higher level of ideological convergence between the two and the Sangh deploying its machinery to assist BJP with the election.
“BJP makes Hindu voters angry and bitter. BJP uses deception and spreads lies to emotionally exploit the Hindu voters”, says Prashant. According to him, Love Jihad is a lie and secularism is long dead. It has no resonance on the ground.
In some part of the country, BJP Is also trying to bring the Christian voters together. Some even project BJP as the Bharatiya Jesus party.
Do these factors mean that the BJP is invincible? He says he is not sure because the most important thing in Indian elections is not about which party wins but about which must lose. The strength of the opposition is paramount and the Congress has been losing big time.
“Speaking of BJP’s standing in south, despite their effort to influence through AIADMK, Rajnikanth etc., the BJP is not gaining grounds in Tamil Nadu”, he adds. As for the upcoming elections in Gujarat and Karnataka, he chooses not to comment but he asks the audience to expect Modi to breakdown in Gujarat during the election campaign in the next 3 weeks.
About the Author – Jeevanayagi Ganapathy is Founder Editor and Writer at www.bookstalkist.com.