Donald Trump has attributed social media as a ‘key element’ in his win. He said in CBS’ 60 Minutes, “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.,”, I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent.”

When we see it in composite numbers, Republican Donald Trump is way ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton. While writing this, Donald Trump, the US President Elect, has a combined Facebook-Twitter-Instagram following of 33.7 million that is a huge 9.5 million more than Hillary Clinton’s. Following is the split of their followers base for these three social media platforms.

Donald Trump
Facebook: 14.7 M
Twitter: 15.1 M
Instagram: 3.9 M

Hillary Clinton
Facebook: 9.5 M
Twitter: 11.1 M
Instagram: 3.6 M

These figures say Donald Trump is significantly ahead of Hillary Clinton in terms of Facebook and Twitter followers – two of the three most talked about social media platforms that along with YouTube help shaping public opinion on issues – like we saw in the case of the Arab Spring – a multi-country revolution in the beginning of this decade that is attributed to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. He is having a slight edge even on Instagram, the junior brethren of these two.

And when Donald Trump says that ‘he thinks that social media has more power than the money they (Hillary’s campaign) spent’, he makes a perfect sense.

America is a connected country with firsts in telecom and internet revolutions. According to Statistica, the US has around 190 million Facebook users, 67 million Twitter users and 67 million Instagram users. That means a lot in a developed society of 320 million residents.

So even if Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is busy clarifying that the Facebook content is authentic and just less than 1% of it can be termed fake and he is terming the ‘criticism of Facebook for spreading fake news’ as crazy, we have reasons to believe when Donald Trump says social media helped him win or when Hillary Clinton blames FBI director James Comey for her defeat who reopened the Hillary’s role into the classified emails probe days before the polls, on October 28.

Okay, Hillary doesn’t say anything about social media here. But it is social media only that can shape opinion so rapidly – in a week – something that has potential to decide the electoral outcomes – at least in a connected society like the US – in a society where even many Democrats and states/regions who had voted for Barack Obama in the previous two polls, went on to vote Donald Trump – in a society that stands bitterly divided after Donald Trump’s victory – a fact that also tells us that there are very limited chances of some surge or drop in the followers base of Trump or Hillary post the election result.

Just to sum up, a February 2013 observation by Adweek says, “Social media takes up a lot of time, and internet users are happy to get stuck in. This leads to the use of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter becoming second-nature, forming habits that influence their lives, both on and offline.”

When it was so four years ago, imagine it now – when social media platforms have made rapid strides including new platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat – that are taking the world by storm.



Bihar is going to polls. Voting for the first phase in five-phase electoral process is tomorrow.

And as expected, intense communication packaging is on to make JP or Loknayak (a mass leader) Jayaprakash Narayan the figurehead of BJP’s or NDA’s political ‘conscience’ while campaigning for votes.

JP led India during the tumultuous days of the Emergency and stood his ground against Indira Gandhi, rallying leaders and people against the dictatorial regime of Mrs. Gandhi – the public anger that finally uprooted her in 1977 election.

JP was from Bihar. And JP’s birth anniversary this year – on October 11 – is falling in the midst of Bihar’s poll season.

JP is seen as the mascot of anti-Emergency protests and thus the doyen of the pro-democracy mass movements in the country in the post-Independence India. Most of the present breed of non-Congress political leaders in states and in Centre are products of the JP-led civil-political movement.

As the Narendra Modi led NDA government has been on a spree to claim legacies of India’s icons like Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekananda, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and even Jawahar Lal Nehru and is trying to bring many more icons in Nation’s mainstream conscious – JP was a name waiting to be picked up.

And never could be a more opportune time than the Bihar assembly election, especially when products of the JP movement are pitted against each other, and especially, when some of them, helplessly, cannot quote JP ‘so’ openly as they are together in alliance with Congress – the party that was political nemesis of JP.

That has left the turf open for BJP and the party is going in full speed on it.

JP has been echoing in NDA’s poll materials for campaigning and the party today held an event named Loktantra Prahari Abhinandan on his birth anniversary to further the packaging. The event was addressed by Narendra Modi and was attended by other big leaders. Every wing of BJP and RSS paid rich tributes to JP on every possible communication platform. BJP’s national president Amit Shah held a rally in JP’s village.

October 11, incidentally, happens to be the birth anniversary of Nanaji Deshmukh, a senior RSS ideologue, and he, too, got prominent space in party’s communication materials.

But while he will be not there tomorrow (literally), JP will be on the block at least till the outcome of this Bihar assembly election.

And as expected, as is the trend, no one is talking about Dr. Rajendra Prasad or Rajendra Babu, India’s first President, the great freedom fighter and one of the gems of his generation that India had – who was from Siwan district in Bihar – obviously, due to socio-political factors revolving around caste arithmetic.

Bihar AE-JP-Collage-Oct112015

Featured Image Courtesy: Wikipedia and Website of Bihar’s Chief Electoral Officer

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


What are the trend-setting takeaways for the 2014 General Elections campaign from the outcome of the four assembly elections held this November-December the results of which were announced on December 8 (Mizoram, being one Lok Sabha seat only, doesn’t matter for the mainstream political parties when it comes to the electoral equations and thus the political calculations to devise strategies and design campaigns).

Look beyond Rahul Gandhi – Look inside – Though complete redemption impossible in the time available but, at least, some ground can be saved, some humiliation can be averted:

It was ignorance and arrogance both that led the Congress party, the grand old party of India, to bite the dust, to go down so miserably.

Arrogance has been trademark of Congress rule and whenever they continue in government for more than one term, we see its convoluted form on display. First, the Manmohan Singh led UPA government messed up with the economy during the first three years of its second term. Then, in order to win the elections riding on easy money, they pushed schemes to pump easy money into the lives of millions of its targeted voters (at the cost of others who have been mostly silent till now – the middle-class bearing the brunt of everyday corruption and price rise – that was until now).

This has been a tried and verified route to pull votes the Congress party strategists believe. They have been doing this at the cost of the middle-class votes. Also, they have been attracting the minority votes significantly. Their equations have been to rely on votebanks coming from the bottom of the human pyramid as well as from the minorities.

But things are changing now. The middle class is emerging as a major segment in Indian electoral politics. This middle-class is aware of its rights and votes accordingly. The huge youth base of India, across the caste, class and religion lines, that votes on ‘issue-based politics’ comes from this class. To add to it, there are other significant claimants of minority voters now in the league as well.

In all this, the Congress party could not understand or gauge the public sentiment on issues of price rise and corruption. Political corruption in India has become a global talking point and Manmohan Singh’s government is seen as the most corrupt of the governments in the office.

And the price rise – it is affecting all, the targeted votebank of Congress at the bottom of the pyramid, the minorities, as well as the ignored middle-class.

By the time, the Congress party strategists realized the deteriorating ground for them, it was too late. The Rahul Gandhi elevation was a desperate effort to reclaim the lost ground. In 2013, Congress could win just one big state, Karnataka. But linking this to Rahul Gandhi factor, if they thought so, was again a mistake. Congress didn’t win in Karnataka but BJP lost it.

The other approach that the Congress party strategists saw to corner votes – the populist schemes – direct cash transfer for subsidies and the food security have failed to leave any impact so far and there is very little time left in the Lok Sabha polls.

The Rahul Gandhi factor and the ‘easy money for easy votes’ experiments, both have failed to help Congress.

In 2009, the situation was different. UPA had performed well in its first term. Then there were populist schemes like the farm debt waiver riding on a successful government and a faceless opposition. Also, Narendra Modi was not a popular leader of national stature then.

It’s different now. UPA has failed on almost every front in its second term. Results of the assembly polls just concluded tell us the populist schemes did not add to the votebank. In fact it was slipped away considerably as the huge losses in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi (both Congress ruled till the elections) show us. And Narendra Modi is a much taller leader of national acceptance now. No other political leader comes anywhere near to him in popularity.

And midst all this, Rahul Gandhi is failing, again and again. The Rahul Gandhi factor has become more of a hot air than substance. Rahul does campaign extensively but his words are still fatigued by the old symptoms of his politics – no connect, no context, no modulation, repetitions, alienated words and poorly researched customization.

He is failing to establish the connect that is needed to align the voters. And remember, Rahul Gandhi is the main campaigner for the Congress party.

Though it cannot save the day in the prevailing circumstances, a Congress party relying heavily on Rahul Gandhi needs to introspect if it has to save itself from the ignominy of political marginalization in the next Lok Sabha polls.

It needs to realign its campaign on the lines of fighting the Lok Sabha polls in a sporting spirit, beyond character assassinations. It needs to act humbly and sound so while approaching the voters. Rahul Gandhi must not make the voters vote for hours in his rallies. The Congress party strategists must look beyond the trio of Sonia-Rahul-Manmohan. Their leaders must not make insensitive comments on price rise and corruption.

And they must look utmost sincere, sensible and honest in dealing with price rise and corruption. It is difficult for them to do because it has been the work culture and culture of the Congress party.

They have two opportunities to set the precedent to base their campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls – the JPC report on 2G Spectrum Scam and Anna Hazare’s renewed agitation for the Lokpal Bill.

Can they do it this time? Going by the government’s attitude on the 2G scam report, it doesn’t look so.

Watch to see an interesting trend analysis unveiling!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


What are the trend-setting takeaways for the 2014 General Elections campaign from the outcome of the four assembly elections held this November-December the results of which were announced on December 8 (Mizoram, being one Lok Sabha seat only, doesn’t matter for the mainstream political parties when it comes to the electoral equations and thus the political calculations to devise strategies and design campaigns).

BJP’s Modi-wave rant is going to be under the impending influence of the reality: The reality is imminent and the BJP strategists should read it rather than trying tagging along to getting aligned with the all powerful prime ministerial nominee of BJP and NDA. They need to read the writing on the wall carefully because there are in-built elements of confusion.

Confusions that will lead to complacency and hence to the possibilities of debacle in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls!

Before the elections, till the day of the counting, BJP was being projected to be the clear winner in all the four important states where elections were being held, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, in the polls being seen as the semifinal, the immediately preceding electorally important event before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The talks of the Modi-wave were all around, being discussed, being dismissed.

So, it was more of a test of the Modi-wave it could be said. Also, it was going to give an opportunity to test the waters for the design of BJP’s election campaigning for the upcoming general elections.

Only if they read into it! Only if they are reading further into it!

Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan may confuse but Delhi, Chhattisgarh should act as eye openers.

While BJP has performed exceedingly well beating expectations in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, a point that can be raised in favour of a Modi-wave, the close contest in Chhattisgarh and not getting majority in Delhi should be enough to rebut any such point.

Though BJP has won this round of electoral politics, it needs to remain beware of the complacency factor.

True, Narendra Modi is a factor adding positively to the BJP prospects, but he is yet to become a wave, if he becomes a personality wave at all, something that remains cryptic as of now.

Had there been a Modi-wave, we would not have such a close fight in Chhattisgarh; we would not have a hung assembly in Delhi.

Personality waves in electoral events, if is there is really a personality wave, are very strong, strong enough to dwarf every other factor.

Had there been a Modi-wave, it could have easily countered and negated the sympathy wave that helped Congress in Bastar constituencies in Chhattisgarh after its top state leaders were killed in a Naxal attack there. 8 out of 12 assembly seats falling in that area went to the Congress party.

Had it been for a Modi-wave, we would not have a hung assembly outcome in Delhi. It could have easily replaced the Anna and AAP factor in being the primary claimants exploiting the huge anti-incumbency against the Congress-led governments, at Union and at State levels.

But that did not happen.

This realization is important for BJP if the party has to capitalize on the deepening anti-Congress sentiments across the nation. Modi’s popularity across the country (and not Modi-wave) would certainly help the party to gain deeper and wider.

True, there are factors that can make it a Modi-wave by the time we enter the final round of the campaigning for the 2014 General Elections, but they need this realization and the subsequent synergizing efforts to make them dominating at play.

Watch to see an interesting trend analysis unveiling!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The intensifying electoral fever is giving us interesting (amusing, funny) throwaways and the pitch is getting louder with every passing day of political fiefdom on its ugly display. It is in perfect harmony with the benchmark of the electoral phase of Indian politics – a hallmark of an insensitive class of politicians.

The electoral pitch has become entertaining enough for those who watch the proceedings of the biggest festival (spectacle) of a democracy – elections – to ‘recruit’ the representatives to work for the common man and so for the country.

And the churning from this display has started throwing away its regular, expected throwaways – the spillage from communication practices being exploited – the leftover from the ideological dump being explored.

Let’s take a look at some of these routine throwaways:

  • The process to render the norms – to speak-up in public following the practices of maintaining even the bare minimum of the probity values – completely irrelevant is well on the way to achieve its pinnacle. Expect it well on the highway of ‘no holds barred’ communication spillage by January 2014.
  • Facts are fast becoming fastidious, the way it happens. The electoral pitch of Indian politics confines facts to the extremes of ‘what is being said from the dais’ only.
  • Such ‘facts’ are producing their effects for the ‘stakeholders’ as desired – the spillover is making the concerned watchers even more studious as these self-made facts are.
  • As has been the cases, as expected, egregious interpretations of such ‘facts’ are already ruling the roost. In the electoral phase of Indian politics, whatever said from the dais is meant to be what the opponents seek to interpret as and exploit further, and so in turn, mutually helping the ‘speaker’ and the ‘interpreter’.

And! The result?

We, by now, have an established channel to have us the regular dose of funny, bluffy and interesting throwaways in the latest event of the Indian electoral process.

One can debate if it is to be termed auspicious or ominous, but for sure, the coming days are going to be full packed houses stuffed with ‘overstuffed’ shots of such facts spoken and their spillovers interpreted, giving us, thus, more than enough moments of sitcoms.

And these elections have one additional, super-special effect to affect the overall process of communication spillage, making things even more watchable, even more readable – the Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi duel – scaling new highs with every rally held.

So! Be hooked!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



War of words – allegations and counter-allegations, politics over even apolitical themes, claims and counter-claims – the free-floating, unrestricted flow of verbal juggernaut is frying up the atmosphere, is ratcheting up the theatrics.

In the series, on a day like this, in the run up to the polls, they both started speaking almost at the same time, but soon, it was Narendra Modi all over, on almost channels of the airwaves, and so in millions of the homes across the country, and so on the countless channels of the social media platforms – the story of two speeches – delivered same day, almost same time – one in Delhi, the other in Patna – on October 27.

For sometime now, Narendra Modi has been the hottest, the most covered, the most talked about, and the most written about one. Rahul Gandhi did receive attention whenever he spoke on public platforms, but he could never match the scale Modi would achieve, rally after rally.

And when it came to the parallels on a day of parallel presence, we found how skewed it had become.

Even if we do no go into the reasons, if we do not dissect the ‘what, why and how’ of Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi on campaigning parameters and communication management practices, we can see easily certain trends well evolved (and clearly visible) by now – of crowds in rallies and of media presence multiplying the presence of the crowds elsewhere – trends that would be giving nightmares to the Congress party strategists – trends that can also harm the Modi-party by injecting a sense of complacency much before it is the time to up the throttle for that final ‘finality’.

Though, in recent times, Rahul, too, has upped his pitch, putting his aggression more on display with each passing rally, he simply fails to match the Narendra Modi blitzkrieg.

Modi’s rallies are witnessing full houses with crowd spilling over in each rally while Rahul’s rallies fail to produce sense of massive (even sizeable) gatherings even if the camera tries to show us so.

What could be the better testimony to it than October 27? In spite of the serial blasts, Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna saw hundreds of thousands coming to listen to him while Rahul had to wait before he began to speak as there were not enough of people.

When it comes to media, it’s Narendra Modi is all over. Rahul does get wide coverage and attention but, on a day, when both were speaking together, it was only Narendra Modi – almost all the TV channels were showing Modi live while Rahul was not even in the side window.

And that tells us the base approach by the media outfits in this Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi duel. Modi has become the prized catch for them in race to earn more eyeballs while Rahul is the routine editorial stuff. For them, Modi is the ultimate ‘eyeball stuff’ of the moment.

Modi’s media appeal can also be gauged from the fact that, though the serial blasts in Patna killed 5 and live bombs were recovered from the venue of Modi’s rally, Gandhi Maidan in Patna, the main news discourse of the day was Modi, the major elements discussed on the day were ‘what Modi said’. Rahul’s speech did not get much attention apart from the routine editorial planning elements.

The Congress party strategists should be worried. (Yes, but, the Bhartiya Janta Party thinkers should not get complacent.)

Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi – it is going to be even more interesting to watch as the Lok Sabha polls near, as the resultant chaos spreads even more.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



The campaign heat is going up. It is throwing interesting developments and the frequency is getting more frequent every passing day, as the assembly poll dates in the five states approach closer, as the scramble to score points for the upcoming parliamentary polls get more intensive.

If we talks of campaigning and communication management, it has been a Narendra Modi show overall.

The way political developments are shaping up, it is supposed to be a full-scale Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi blitzkrieg as the campaigning for the General Elections 2014 enters its decisive, final leg in 2014. The process is already on the launch-pad with the assembly polls in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram scheduled to be held in November-December.

Today, we saw first glimpse of it.

Today, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi both had rallies almost at the same time. Narendra Modi’s Hunkaar Rally in Patna, that saw serial bombs blasts in the city, formally unveiled his Bihar leg of campaigning while Rahul’s Delhi rally was more focused at the Delhi assembly election next month.

The comparison was inevitable but soon, it became clear, there was nothing much to compare.

Modi delivered 90 minutes of customized, localized, nationalized and well-improvised show full of punches, that the massive crowd in Patna, the airwaves people and the people hooked to the airwaves, found much more newsworthy and watchable while Rahul’s show was a poor repetition of what he says in almost every election rally, the dull revisionism of attributing all that is good in India to the Congress party.

Eyeballs, insights, analyses – Narendra Modi cornered all, effectively pushing the Rahul Gandhi show to the programming junk of ‘fillers’.

Congress, its strategists, the Team Rahul Gandhi and the heavyweights entrusted to manage public opinion though media need to be wary of it.

They need to think why Narendra Modi’s aggressive style makes him more interesting (and relevant) to listen to while Rahul Gandhi’s aggression mostly draws flak?

The answer is before everyone to see. Much has been written over it. The question is why the Congress party strategists and why Rahul Gandhi himself are not reading the signs?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


What Narendra Modi is doing is akin to tapping the neglected votebank of the majority Hindus.

Indian politics has had absolute shades of minority appeasement. The politicians enjoying the riches of a fractured majority votebank have crossed limits many a times in appeasing the minorities, clearly at the cost of promoting communal divide in the country.

It is foolhardy to ignore this fact. I am confident that I am free from religion and caste biases and I am not writing this because I am a Hindu. I am writing this because I am an Indian first. Hindus, Muslims or people of any other religion or faith are equal citizens of India and there must not be preferential treatments based on religious lines, as the politicians have been doing, to a particular religion.

In a democracy with staggering number of poor people, that India is, the only criteria for preferential treatment can the social and economic conditions.

If the BJP has to come to power and if Narendra Modi has to become the next prime minister of the country, they need something to mobilize the votes that can match the huge (but not enough, as it may depose the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government but may not guarantee the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) the 7 RCR) anti-incumbency against the Manmohan Singh led UPA government.

And for an alienated votebank, largely unaware of its rights and the power of its vote, that can be achieved through polarisation of votes on communal lines.

Polarisation of votes on the communal lines is the only factor in the prevailing sociopolitical circumstances in the country that can unite the majority Hindu votes divided along the different caste and regional lines.

It is not that only Narendra Modi is realizing it. Others, too, realize it but they would never be sure of getting returns as they, till now, have played the communal card of the minority appeasement politics and have no experience on dancing to the tunes of majority appeasement.

While Narendra Modi of the day is creation of the communal card of the majority appeasement politics! An intensifying ‘communal Vs secular’ debate benefits his style of politics.

It is true, the BJP did reap the benefits of the religious politics by exploiting the majority sentiments on Ram Temple issue to become one of the major political forces in the country but it doesn’t hold that ground anymore. On the other hand, Modi, though trying to reach out to the Muslims or other votebanks in recent times, has carefully continued with his Hindu hardliner image.

But, in the prevailing circumstances, the BJP is not going to play the religious card openly in the elections, and even Narendra Modi is not going to be verbose about exploiting the religious sentiments.

But, mere presence of Narendra Modi is enough to polarise the Hindu votes.

And the rest of the job of carrying out acts, the ‘push’, like ‘84 Kosi Yatra’ or ‘rallies and protests for the Ram Temple’ or ‘Kashi’ or ‘Mathura’ or ‘anti-Hindu violence in J&K’, can be done by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or some other Hindu outfits.

Modi has proved his identity as an efficient election manager in uniting the fractured Hindu votebank in Gujarat. He has, for the first time in the Indian political history, successfully sustained the majority appeasement politics by combining it with a pro-development agenda and its efficient execution.

It is true what he has been able to achieve politically in Gujarat cannot be applied for the rest of India. But the alternative premise is also equally possible that it can be applied to the rest of India.

What happens will only decide the next course of drama in the political arena of India and that leaves the doors open for extensive and wild experiments, at least, till the outcome of the next parliamentary polls.

In other words, ‘what is going to be and what is going not to be’ can only be tested on the timescale and the immediate point of reference for this on the timescale is going to be the next parliamentary polls.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Tricky but interesting political premises:

Congress strategists are feeling they are effectively on the way to polarise the anti-Modi and anti-BJP Muslim votes in their favour and it manifests in party’s silence over Shakeel Ahmad’s tweet on Indian Mujahideen quoting an NIA report blaming BJP, RSS and 2002 Gujarat riots for the terror outfit origin. They would be aided by the premise that a communal Vs secular polarization would help them get over the huge anti-incumbency against the UPA government.

Narendra Modi would be feeling good that the Congress strategists are playing the game he has started exactly as per his designs as the main ruling party’s efforts to polarise the Muslim votes would help his efforts to polarise the Hindu votes in his favour. The polarisation of the divided Hindu votes along with the UPA’s anti-incumbency and Narendra Modi’s pro-development reputation would be a cocktail that several millions of voters would be tempted to try in a country where something like chronic political corruption is still not a decisive issue.

Some in the Congress are playing to look worried or some are worried believing in the hypothesis (hypothesis at the moment) that Modi’s image of Hindu fundamentalist and his vote-polarizing ability can unite the Hindu votes across the country to an extent to give the BJP a clear edge to form the government in the next parliamentary elections. And only Congress is not worried. If Digvijay Singh has to claim and cry that he is a practicing Hindu, Mulayam, too, has to come forward to say that he feels sorry for ordering the police to open fire on karsevaks in 1990.

Some in the BJP are also sounding cautious that the excess of Hindu nationalism and Hindutva would push burning issues like corruption, price-rise, failing law and order and bad condition of the economy, where the Congress and the UPA are on the back foot, to the periphery, giving the UPA strategists the opportunity to duck the answerability for the all-pervasive mayhem they have created.

It is an established fact that the Congress-led UPA government is a total failure. It has failed on almost every front that could easily kill the electoral prospects of any political outfit or coalition – price rise, corruption and law and order. Yet, it has scored victories in many assembly elections.

Such chaotic conditions provide for enough of ‘food for thought’ to every ‘thinking’ political strategy maker and every one feels he is thinking in the right direction until the outcome gives them some more food for thought.

Tricky! Isn’t it?

But, at the moment, the game looks headed the Narendra Modi way.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


It has already begun. The Reuters interview should be seen as the formal announcement – timed and worded the Narendra Modi way!

It is just a matter of time when Narendra Modi is declared the NDA’s prime-ministerial nominee. Anyway, he is already calling the shots. He has started writing the script of BJP’s and NDA’s strategy to approach the upcoming assembly and parliamentary elections.

As expected, it is going to be the reflection of the Narendra Modi style of politics and is going to be based on the experiences gained in Gujarat. And it has to be seen in the light of the growing realization among the majority of the BJP leaders that a wider deviation from the core Hindutva ideology has harmed the party, especially in absence of someone like Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

This would certainly push the party and the coalition strategists to push for a ‘mix’ of religion and politics that could serve the twin purposes of – not looking too deviant on the core Hindutva ideology as well as not sounding communal while wooing the voters on the religious line.

And Narendra Modi has been doing it exceedingly well in Gujarat, especially after 2007 when he won the state the second time.

And so, the cardinal elements of the script are expected to be:

A greater emphasis on the Hindutva branding: As already indicated in the Reuters interview where Modi reiterated himself to be a Hindu nationalist first.

An increasing mix of the hardline ideology as the time progresses: More in sync with the RSS thought process – to stir the voter’s thinking pattern with the notions of Hindu identity and the Hindu pride!

Religion and politics to gel even more deeply: Yes, the BJP may not make the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya an election issue but it is only because the party knows its support groups like the VHP or its ideological mentor RSS would do this bit.

But the party would keep talking about it in varying degrees as Amit Shah spoke about the temple during his Ayodhya visit recently. Expect Modi to polarize and exploit the religious sentiments of Hindus to unite them across the divided Hindu votebanks on similar lines.

‘Gujarati Pride’ to prop up the ‘Indian Pride’: ‘Gujarati Asmita or Gujarati Pride’ has created a huge pro-Modi middle class votebank across the different caste lines in Gujarat. It pulls the affluent class and the Diaspora as well. Modi would love to rake up the imagination of Indians for their position in the globalized world, a not so encouraging picture at all. He would talk and eulogize the Gujarat development putting it in context of the BJP’s performance in the party-run states. The development plank would run parallel to the religious plank.

Expect more of the comparisons like with China and other neighbours as Modi elaborated on in his Pune speech on July 14. The meekness of the Manmohan Singh’s government in dealing with China, Pakistan and other neighbours as well as acting coy in dealing with the global powers like the US can be exploited very well. And there are plenty of such issues.

Besides these are the routine pot-boiler elements like the UPA corruption or the price rise or the falling Rupee.

Elections in a country like India are not fought on statistical manipulations like what the Congress tried to do by putting a point-by-point rebuttal targeting the Narendra Modi’s Pune speech a day after.

In a country that has not had the history of distinguishing between ‘status quo’ and ‘progress’ as the election plank, elections are fought by creating stronger elements of perception putting the adversary in the negative light. Yes, having a pro-development image is an added advantage. And Narendra Modi as the most popular political leader in the country with the twin advantages of being ‘pro-religious’ and ‘pro-development’ looks far more capable than any other leader in any political outfit to deliver it.

So be ready for the fireworks. Narendra Modi knows a small spark lit by him creates a huge fireball taking every political opponent within its reach. And he seems to be enjoying it. That is what he is looking for.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –