JP WAS WAITING TO BE PICKED UP..

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 – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MODI-FACTOR VS MODI-WAVE

Personality wave in electoral battles basically follows personality cult. To be a personality cult there, there need to be a large scale uniform acceptability across a large geographical and sociological cross section of the poll-bound area.

If we follow this simple logic of common sense, we can easily say there was no Modi-wave in the recently concluded assembly polls in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Better than expected results in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh help the proponents of the Modi-wave theories but then Chhattisgarh and Delhi results, where BJP could hardly win in one and could emerge as the largest party but short of majority in other, defy their every logic.

It is true Narendra Modi did positively add to the BJP vote-share in these assembly polls but it was not a wave, it was the Modi-factor in play.

And there is a clear and visible distance, from Modi-factor to Modi-wave, to be travelled.

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, we would not have such a close fight in Chhattisgarh; we would not have a hung assembly in Delhi.

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.

To dwarf such known factors and some unpredictable factors like the sympathy votes in Bastar, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Modi’s popularity needs to travel this distance, it there has to be a Modi-wave by the next April-May when the voters go out to vote to elect the next Union Government of India.

But in the prevailing political circumstances, even a Narendra Modi factor would be more than enough for the BJP to secure around 200 seats, a threshold that the party needs in order to command political allies to cross the 272 mark to prove majority in the House, if the BJP strategists could successfully align the Modi-factor along the huge nation-wide anti-incumbency against the Congress-led UPA government.

And so what is this Modi-factor. It is many sub-factors that make Narendra Modi the tallest political leader of the present political lot; that make Narendra Modi the most popular political leader in the country literally dwarfing all others; that make Narendra Modi an icon of development politics; that make Narendra Modi an experimenter and promoter of the identity-politics; factors that make Narendra Modi the absolute factor of the ‘politics of polarisation’ in India.

There are in-built positives and negatives with these Modi sub-factors. How these sub-factors are played out by BJP is going to the shape the effectiveness of the Modi-factor in the upcoming general elections; is going to write the equations for the party.

Yes, if there comes around a political scenario of BJP getting the absolute majority on its own, then we can safely call it’s a Modi-wave where positives and negatives don’t matter; where the cult of the personality becomes a phenomenon sweeping the mindsets.

Let’s watch to analyse.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AAP BEYOND DELHI

Though just a regional party at the moment with just one electoral performance in Delhi in its bag, it has stirred the established notions of the current political establishment in India; it has made the members of the existing political class to accept the demand for political change in India.

Barring few, almost everyone was dismissive of the new outfit until the results came on December 8. They are now expressing their desire to learn from ‘how AAP did it’; they are talking of restructuring their outfits, their ways of doing politics.

And yes, what a surprisingly pleasant entry it has been. A voice to the suppressed and expressed desire of political change in India! An echo to the demand that was always there!

The symbolism in AAP’s victory has to be read.

Though there have been earlier instances of new political outfits leaving their mark in the very first election they fought, the timing and the background that led to the formation and political unveiling of AAP in Delhi is different.

It has its roots in the hugely successful apolitical anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare, a peoples’ movement by people with great people to people connect, in 2011. Delhi was its epicentre.

That has directly affected the prospects of AAP. Additionally, AAP was supported well by the arrogance of the Congress party that regularly dismissed the issues of price rise and corruption with insensitive remarks. Remember former chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s callous remarks on electricity tariff in Delhi! And a BJP plagued with internal frictions in Delhi unit till the last few days when Dr. Harsh Vardhan was announced the chief ministerial candidate, was another point to encash.

Delhi poll results tell AAP has caught that imagination of people. Though many of the promises it made look next to impossible to implement but there is always a first time for everything and AAP should be given the benefit of doubt if is entrusted to the office to carry out the promises it made.

Anyway, anything like that is secondary at the moment. The primary thing, Delhi may not have a government for the next six months with the President Rule in place after the hung-assembly verdict. Everyone in Delhi including BJP is playing to the tune of ethical politics. Whatever be the underlying reasons, it all looks so good.

As the Lok Sabha polls are scheduled by April-May, holding another assembly election in Delhi should not be an issue. In fact, it should be seen as a welcome opportunity giving us the rare window of ‘politics of values’ at play in India.

Though it should expand, AAP needs to focus on consolidating its Delhi gain and should design its campaign in a way so as to not to dissipate its efforts and energy in widening its base out of Delhi.

Widening base – for any political outfit, that is important. But AAP needs to play it differently. It needs to play down its Delhi feat until it gets comfortably in the office and starts running the show of governance comfortably as well.

For them, it’s good if they get the opportunity to play the role of a responsible opposition for five years in Delhi. That will be the testing period, the cooling time to sift the required from the undeserving. A molestation case against an AAP MLA, a sting operation showing AAP candidates talking of accepting unaccountable money – there are many among the 28 AAP MLAs who are needed to be tried and verified on the scale of political and socio-political maturity.

The five years in opposition – if AAP doesn’t get the chance to form the government – that will give time to the party to understand its members inside out. That will give AAP time to understand and learn what it takes to become a national political party. More importantly, it will give the new political outfit a window of opportunity to realize its own fault-lines. They need to see they do not become another Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).

And that will also give them the logical time to expand beyond Delhi.

Expanding beyond Delhi needs considerable resources in terms of time and finance availability. Also, demography of Delhi that made AAP the real winner of Delhi polls is not there in the small town and hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or Maharashtra or any other state of the country. Also, Arvind Kejriwal is not JP. Even Anna Hazare could not be.

So, it is important for the party to set its priorities right to move further, to expand its political footprint, to design a campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls (and possibly for the Delhi assembly repoll) incorporating these elements.

It should not allow its Delhi gains to be washed out for the lure of reaching out to the whole nation so fast, something that killed the Jal Lokpal movement. Even if the movement was failing, people associated with it had started focusing on other entangled issues.

Its campaign should focus on demographic pockets of the country with similarities to Delhi to expand its base. Obviously it is going to be the urban centres first. It is going to be the people at the bottom of the pyramid, the middle-class and the youth of urban areas who are going to be in dialogue with AAP first. Once that happens across the urban pockets of the country, taking it to the small town and rural areas will follow.

But that needs time and patience. Does Arvind Kejriwal have it?

Also, they need to align their energy and synergize the same with Anna Hazare’s renewed call for the Jan Lokpal agitation, something Arvind Kejriwal must do to pay for failing the anti-corruption movement of 2011.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AAP: TREND-SETTING TAKEAWAYS FOR 2014 GENERAL ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN FROM FOUR-STATE POLL RESULTS ON DECEMBER 8

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).

Delhi or no Delhi – Aam Aadmi Party needs to play it down to play it longer:

Yes, AAP now needs a special mention here. Though just a regional party at the moment with just one electoral performance in Delhi in its bag, it has stirred the established notions of the current political establishment in India. Barring few, almost everyone was dismissive of the new outfit until the results came on December 8. They are now expressing their desire to learn from ‘how AAP did it’.

And yes, what a surprisingly pleasant entry it has been. A voice to the suppressed and expressed desire of political change in India!

Delhi may not have a government for the next six months with President Rule in place after the hung-assembly verdict. As the Lok Sabha polls are scheduled by April-May, holding another assembly election in Delhi should not be an issue. In fact, it should be seen as a welcome opportunity.

AAP needs to focus on consolidating its Delhi gains and should design its campaign in a way so as to not to waste its efforts and energy in widening its base out of Delhi so soon.

Widening base – for any political outfit, that is important. But AAP needs to play it differently. It needs to play down its Delhi feat until it gets comfortably in the office and starts running the show of governance comfortably as well.

It needs to prove it first in the office. Expanding from there would be the next logical step. It needs to see it does not become another AGP (Asom Gana Parishad).

Expanding beyond Delhi needs considerable resources in terms of time and finance availability. Also, demography of Delhi that made AAP the real winner of the Delhi polls is not there in the small town and hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or Maharashtra or any other state of the country. Also, Arvind Kejriwal is not JP. Even Anna Hazare could not be.

So, it is important for the party to set its priorities right to move further, to expand its political footprint, to design a campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls (and possibly for the Delhi assembly repoll).

With Delhi as mainstay for its Lok Sabha election campaigning (and possibly for assembly seats in case of repoll), its campaign should focus on demographic pockets of the country with similarities to Delhi to expand its base.

Obviously it is going to be the urban centres first. It is going to be the people at the bottom of the pyramid, the middle-class and the youth of urban areas who are going to be in dialogue with AAP first. Once that happens across the urban pockets of the country, taking it to the small town and rural areas will follow.

But that needs time.

Watch to see an interesting trend analysis unveiling!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CONGRESS: TREND-SETTING TAKEAWAYS FOR 2014 GENERAL ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN FROM FOUR-STATE POLL RESULTS ON DECEMBER 8

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 – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BJP: TREND-SETTING TAKEAWAYS FOR 2014 GENERAL ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN FROM FOUR-STATE POLL RESULTS ON DECEMBER 8

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 – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/