“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”– John F.Kennedy
What do you do when people think of you as an ailing party with a lot of infighting and outdated ideologies that can’t work in the long run? Bhartiya Janta Party, which is the major opposition party in the country has been fighting its own devils for a long time. The problems are many, ranging from LK Advani’s aspirations to Modi’s perceived aggressions but the party has come out stronger than ever with their election campaign at least to make sure they have the seats for which party leaders have started fighting already. The party took the opportunity of replacing the long rule of UPA and give a fresh change to people head on and realized its priorities well in advance to the run up to elections due in April-May.
The first step to winning elections in India is immaculate planning, and BJP did it exceedingly well. They identified young voters as their target group which can be swayed easily since most of them are going to vote for the first time and they are all pumped up to change governance in the country. Where do you find a large number of educated youth who want better governance? Social media. The word became the central point of everything BJP wanted to achieve in the elections and they hired IT professionals in large numbers last year itself to make sure that #NaMo and #BJP keep trending all over the country, every now and then. The support thus gathered from Modi’s flaring speeches and oratory could then be converted into votes by persuasion through social media and reminding people of the lotus every time they log in to their favorite social network: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest et al.
The BJP mania has been fueled by a lot of factors. Major things which help in giving BJP mileage are the follies of Congress and self-embarrassments that Aam Aadmi Party manages to pull off every now and then including a video that has suddenly turned things sour for them on social media at least. The next big contributor is the man himself, Narendra Modi and his love for technology. Hangouts, Chai Pe Charcha and Women’s Day tribute that BJP did are all masterstrokes played by this man who aims to change the course of the nation when elected to power.
On the other hand, Congress woke up too late to the social media revolution counting its blessings on alms and aids it could provide to people in rural areas which constitute a major share of its vote-bank. The party couldn’t stand anywhere close to the levels of interactions and support that BJP had already garnered on Twitter as well as Facebook. Only Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh are the ones popular on social media but BJP has a long list of leaders who are active and popular among the masses from Sushma Swaraj to Smriti Irani. Congress’ interactions with people are also limited to negative sentiments or the few good things they have done for the economy while 2002 is too far for people to remember now and BJP is counting more on the promise of change they offer rather than their own past performance. Gujarat is still heavily debated and the jury is still out to determine if the Gujarat model of growth is real or just another bubble.
Aam Aadmi Party, a newbie on the political circuit came and changed the equation all together. The next post will discuss the differences in the approaches of the three parties and the results they have managed so far.