When the General Elections 2014 were imminent, there were two things that India was going through: general mass frustrated with the everyday scams not to forget a dwindling economy and rising inflation making its life troubling; and a search for an alternate form of governance.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the seeds sawed by Anna movement and capitalised by Arvind Kejriwal, gave hints of satisfying both the fronts by offering a picture of clean governance. Amid lofty and, mostly, unrealistic promises AAP went on to win an unprecedented 28 seats out of 70 in Delhi Assembly Elections and went on to form a government headed by Kejriwal.
However, a party whose identity was to shout and question found itself forced to sit in the driving chair. It was simply impossible to take care of the state’s budget and fulfil the promises of free water and subsidised electricity. So Kejriwal, sensing that his party had public support, aimed his guns at Lok Sabha elections.
For being able to do that he had to focus on a nationwide campaign and being a CM of the capital city of India and being 24×7 in media scrutiny, it was difficult for him to survive. He looked for a hole and promptly resigned over a non issue.
The resignation was a disappointing time for many voters and admirers of an alternative governance that could have come for good. It was this time that the elections were announced in India.
Narendra Modi, Gujarat’s three time serving CM, who was projected as Bhartiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate way back in September 2013, came in to media frame as Kejriwal’s truth was out in open and content hungry media wanted another story.
Modi was already in to half way of campaigning and rallying when his opponents hadn’t yet started properly. With a strong and creative media team behind him, Modi started with feeding momentum to the young people of this country.
Connecting to the young was important for two factors: half of India’s populations is under-35; and young people are consuming information from social media.
This was identified and the creative team of Narendra Modi started tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, social media hashtag campaigns along with a series of innovative 3D holographic rallies where he could reach out to hundreds of places at once and talk to masses were started and executed well.
The pseudo-liberal/intellectual/secular/academics group
This increased his visibility in media. With increased visibility there was a lobby of sorts across intelligentsia that advocated a fear factor that might emerge if India gives her mandate in Modi’s favour. The old rhetoric of Godhra riots which people have forgotten was played continuously till the election results were announced today (May 16, 2014).
It must be noted that neither he or his close aide Amit Shah, master strategist of Uttar Pradesh which brought 73 out of 80 seats, have been convicted by any court in India and were given clean chits due to lack of evidence. The pseudo lobby can report or understand it in any given way but the fact is he was given clean chit.
No Ram Mandir/Hindutva talks
As the elections were announced Narendra Modi led BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) consciously kept the religion factor out by completely sidelining the Ram Mandir agenda which used to be their headlining talk in manifesto. It was swept to a mere mention on last page.
There was no attempt by the party men or Modi himself to sing that song and seeing this the pseudo lobby itself started singing the tune. The first was Arvind Kejriwal, eventually thrashed by 350,000 votes in Varanasi where he contested against Modi, bringing up the issue that he won’t allow a Ram Mandir to be built.
It must be noted that no one from BJP even talked about it. So clear enough Kejriwal was trying to polarise the votes on religious grounds.
He did the same when he visited seers in temples, religious heads of mosques to ask for votes in their favour. People must know that Congress president Sonia Gandhi called on Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid and asked him for votes. But our media kept on debating that Modi is polarising the votes on religious and communal grounds.
Setting the agenda: Development, good governance, corruption
Elections across the world witness the agenda setting is done by the ruling party but this time Modi was setting the agenda. Hitting the problems at macro level he made a connect with each and every corner of India.
He talked of governance, corruption, water, sanitation, energy, education, infrastructure, growth, manufacturing, and host of other issues bothering the society whereas the opponents couldn’t even respond to it. They were caught off the guard as in the name of development all the funds were looted to the tune of lakes of crores of public money.
Even the Aam Aadmi Party forgot the talk of its central agenda of a corruption free India and engaged heavily in Modi-bashing as that was in vogue till results were announced.
Visiting the unvisited places
BJP has long been considered as a party with North Indian appeal. It never performed well in the North East or South India. Modi, despite knowing it won’t yield favourable results immediately, held rallies in all the seven states of the Seven Sisters (North East) as well as tirelessly campaigned in South India.
These places were traditionally ignored by the candidates as they could never win from there. Modi campaigned everywhere. This did bear fruit and it got a few seats as against none but BJP knows that in the longer run, organisationally, it was the dent that the party needed to make.
Now the party has a seat from Northernmost point of Laddakh to Southernmost Andman & Nicobar Islands and Westernmost Kuchh to Easternmost Arunachal Pradesh! This will certainly go a long way and speaks that BJP is here for a longer run this time.
Turning the hate campaign in his favour, every single time
From being called names like killer, executioner, bloody hands, accused of engaging in injecting poison in masses, murderer to being ridiculed as a tea-seller, Modi was bricked at every instance. May be Congress and its allies took the elections for granted believing they will win this time as well, engaged in a serious mud slinging, unheard in any election as yet in India.
Modi took all the barbs. The tea-seller idea was converted in to a connect to people campaign called ‘chai pe charcha’ (discussions over a cup of tea). That was a huge success as Modi would connect to general mass via video and web confessing and listen to their problems.
Then one fine day, Priyanka Gandhi accused him of doing ‘neech rajniti’ (low level politics) but his creative team exploited the word yet again and he carefully crafted a caste card when elections were due in an area where caste politics has been played since its inception.
Western media’s unwanted interest
It was amazing to see how Western media including the biggest names like New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal etc started a consorted attempt of selective and propagandist publication of opinion pieces and floating it in social media.
A separate article on Western media’s desperation can be found here.
These were picked by the pseudo lobby and praised, as they always do to anything foreign taking that to be the absolute truth, unabashedly. For the first time I, being a journalism educator, saw prominent media houses explicitly writing that Modi was a murderer showing least respect for the courts of this nation.
It was a conscious attempt by Western media to influence opinion of people in an unwarranted and one-sided way. One newspaper interviewed one person who was affected in riots in 2002 and gave a generalising opinion that Gujarat has done nothing for minority. Whereas the fact is Gujarat is the state where Muslims minority is the most employed in India.
Modi, despite being personally attacked in most inappropriate ways, kept his stead. However, he can not be said to be a non-participant in personal attacks, he took potshots at Congress leadership as well but the intensity of calling them murderers etc was not there despite a fact that 95% of riots in India have taken place in Congress (and allies) ruled states be it 84 Sikh riots, Bhagalpur, Mumbai or the most recent Muzaffarnagar in 2013.
Amid all this Modi never lost track. He kept on addressing rallies with his over an hour long speeches and talking development. With a proven record in his home state people believed in him and saw that there was someone who could stand and take on the dynastic politics of Congress.
He kept talking of good governance, inclusive growth and why India’s wrath belongs to the poorest of the poor and those will be his priority.
Modi never deviated even in personal attacks. Whereas every single opponent was focused on why Modi is a murderer, why one mustn’t vote him, they would leave the nation if he becomes the PM, Modi as PM will slaughter Muslims in India etc, Modi talked his manifesto.
BJP was the only party, though overshadowed by the larger than life image of Modi, that talked about what was its plan for the nation. It was the only party which talked about what was written in the manifesto, the problems of each area they campaigned in.
Continued hatred, anti-Modi campaigning
Media kept its fixation with Godhra till very last day of polling. Pseudo lobby floated ridiculous combinations seeing Modi will indeed get majority. Third front was talked with Mayawati or Mamata as PM with former actually failing to open her party’s account. There was a fourth front talk.
Later on, in last phase of elections the pseudo lobby again floated a letter asking countrymen to ‘not to vote for Modi’ as it will be disastrous. A group of NRIs including likes of celebrated author Salman Rushdie asked people not to vote BJP to power.
And when exit polls gave BJP-led coalition a clear majority, the pseudo lobby was again at the play floating a weird idea, oblivious to Constitution, that all the ‘secular’ parties must unite anyhow to stop Modi from becoming the PM. The rule says President invites the single largest party to show majority and form a government, so even if they could have formed a coalition, they wouldn’t even be asked to come and form government!
Finally, Congress-free India dream almost realised
A party which has a history of sixty years in power is still singing ballads of ‘remove poverty’ and is neck deep in corruption was thrown away by the people. From being the largest single party more than ten times in last fifteen elections, touching a historic high of 415 seats (out of 543) in 1984 after Indira Gandhi assassination, Indian National Congress was reduced to a mere 43-seat party. BJP’s tally in Uttar Pradesh is way better than Congress’ national tally with the party unable to cross single digit in any of the states!
Future looks good
Markets giving a thumbs up to a decisive majority, rupee appreciating on daily basis and inflation getting lower, economically the country sees Modi with confidence. From the almost double digit growth rates till 6-7 years back, it dwindled to 4% in this year. The economy needs a serious look.
Gujarat’s development is open for all to see with the ruling central government awarded various programmes of the Modi-ruled state over 250 times. Media’s lust for sensation and one-odd pothole in road does paint a murky picture of Gujarat but unless you go there, see it, you shouldn’t believe them.
Gujarat has been the most economically robust state with best recovery in malnutrition, health, electricity, schooling, girl child education etc. It is very easy to point one odd thing out but over all, I have very recently been to Gujarat, it is one of the best states in North India by a huge margin.
People expect Modi to execute his promises and give solutions. As he has conveyed in various interviews that he must not be judged by a 100-day yard stick rather he should be given full time and then judged.
People need a decisive leader who can look away and stare when needed on International front. Pakistan and China have always been bothering when an intellectual PM never spoke in the way a nation must. We believe Modi will look in to the problem of LoC, LoAC as well as Bangladeshi infiltration through its borders.
India, in his leadership, must expect an inclusive and harmonious growth of society where minorities are not merely appeased but taken care of. The overplayed Modi fear factor must be eased away by his actions so that the same media can take its foot in its mouth in future.
As Modi, despite clear majority to BJP, says that every single representative from every single party is important to him and he need them to run India as for running government he has the majority, for running India he must have the full confidence of all the elected representatives.
We hope good times are to come for sure.