Since Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in 2014, BJP has been on a victory ride which is still going on steady. While Amit Shah plans the strategy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi weaves magic with his addresses. The Modi-Shah duo has been tough for opponents to crack. The recently held Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections were a testimony to this. Ram Madhav, National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, in a column for The Indian Express today, revealed the strategy that helped the BJP clinch the elections. He said winning elections is both an art and science and ‘one has to master it, the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah did’.
Defending the aggressive election campaign by the BJP, he wrote, “Politics is not charity; nor is it a pastime, that you indulge in when convenient… So, if Prime Minister Modi spends long hours in Gujarat, it is not something to criticise. Rather, it is something to understand — that elections come first, and if you succeed, then there’s governance. Not the other way around.” In the column, he accepted that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) decision on heavy vehicles and nuclear power plant project at Mithivirdi (Ahmedabad) cost the party a huge chunk of votes. He wrote, “The NGT is a statutory body integral to our democratic governance, and it is not an elected body. We faced it in Gujarat; one decision of the NGT — probably the right one from the environmental perspective — had cost us a chunk of votes.”
Acknowledging the huge transition that the electioneering has undergone in the past few years, he wrote, “Technique and technology — both have a big role to play. And the BJP has deployed both appropriately and abundantly.” He also accepted the use of social media by the party to mould the public opinion in the party’s favour saying, “Social media in India has come of age. With millions of smartphones, it has become a powerful tool for communication. Mainstream media, too, has grown by leaps and bounds. It has empowered the average voter in the country. He or she can no longer be tackled through traditional politicking.”
In a big comment on the opposition, Madhav accepted that the opposition made its presence felt in the Gujarat elections. He said, “I wrote sometime back that there was no fun because there was no Opposition in the country. I must admit that the Opposition has made its presence felt this time round in Gujarat. And so forcefully, sending our generals into the trenches.” Madhav, in his article, not only highlights the hits of BJP but also pointed misses of the Congress. He wrote, “When you want a mighty rival like the BJP to lose, you have to mobilise and unite all the forces available. But in Gujarat, the Congress could not even keep itself united. It allowed a Shankersinh Vaghela to walk out; dismissed alliance partners; and even ignored traditional vote banks like the minorities.”
Madhav summed up his column writing the elections come as a package and the factors that matter are – ‘Governance, a perception of humility, party unity, grassroots network’. He also didn’t forget to mention that the BJP has an edge as the party has none other than the charismatic Prime Minister Narendra Modi