One can say that chief minister Narendra Modi has been setting the agenda of
Modi talks about his favourite idea – the development agenda and plays to the galleries taking potshots at Congress and Sonia. But except Modi, rest of the BJP leaders have found a solution to get the attention of the crowds – by talking only about Modi. And they know what sells in
The pitching for Modi as the Prime Minister of India is not new and has been going on since the beginning of the Vibrant Gujarat summits. First the business and industry spelt it out and now the different leaders in the BJP end up repeating the line that Modi has the potential to become the PM. Interestingly, no one is committing that Modi is going to be projected by the BJP as its PM candidate. Everyone seems satisfied that a teaser is good enough to catch the fancy of Gujarati middle-classes.
It is actually a strategic masterstroke of communication. It’s helping Modi and BJP tide over a lot of discontent and the powerful force of fatigue and anti-incumbency factor that a ruler faces after such a long period in power. People wanted change, and this strategy has given just that. It has helped present Modi in a different light - not as a CM seeking re-election but a Gujarati seeking support of other Gujaratis to be the most powerful person of the country. Though parochial in nature, it’s a serious appeal that most voters would find very difficult to escape from.
Besides, this strategy has helped Modi make the voters forget the ‘petty squabble’ over who should be the chief minister of
Is it going to yield fruits for him? It’s anybody’s guess, but prima facie, in an election devoid of any major agenda and issue, the strategy to lift himself above the rest may pay off well for Modi. The manifestoes seem to be meaningless, the press conferences held by the parties have been pointless. Poll rallies and meetings by leaders of the BJP, without Modi on stage, have been a total flop show. The only hook to get voters out of their homes for supporting Modi, is to say that you will be electing a CM who is going to be the PM!
The biggest gift for Modi has come from the most unlikely quarters – Congress. The grand old party has lost the plot and how! After initial gains in July and August with its ‘Gahr-nu-ghar’ scheme, it stood a strong chance of resurgence. But in absence of a clear leader the momentum was lost immediately and reversal of fortunes is now complete.
In fact Polls 2012 will go down into the history as the most inconsequential election that
Most of the people outside Gujarat end up crediting Modi for everything that is good in
The most interesting take away from this elections is emergence of a new style of politicking – banking on one’s own brand rather than a party or an ideology. Modi banks so heavily on self branding that the party has become almost incidental. What happens in Gujarat on December 20, the day on which the poll results are out, is also going to decide whether this model will work in the Indian context or not.