Time to switch gears ?

Its a frequent question now - Will AAP stop the BJP (NDA) from coming to power at the center ?

Let me first place forth what my views are on AAP and then move on to the BJP part

a) In an earlier post, I had called AAP anarchists, and time has only confirmed my doubts - the proof is many, be it the fact that AAP volunteers are taking law in their own hands in Delhi, being "empowered by Kejriwal", or be it the kind of people joining them these days, or be it by reading through some of their "policies and plans"

b) However, to add to that, it is also increasingly becoming clear that there are bigger forces behind the whole game of propping them up - it may be one or more of Congress (including the drama of trying to suppress AAP), the CIA (well, they always love instability in other countries, and add to that the Modi visa issue), the ISI ( quite likely they are pumping in whatever it takes to build up the public opinion against Modi- media, money or otherwise) and China ( given that many of AAPs views are closer to communist and maoist, my feeling is this is biggest player)

Now, what should the BJP reaction be ?  Unfortunately there has been a bit of disappointment that has creeped in among the volunteers - suddenly seeing a predicted AAP rise. Here are my point by point suggestions

1) First and foremost, do not get into the mode of "BJP is not doing anything and so we are going to lose". This is the trap laid out by AAP folks with the help of the media - to try to create an impression that they are on a huge upswing. It is to tap into the general Indian mentality that "people are crowding around there, so there must be something there and let me also join in".. Remember the saying - "garbage must be wonderful, for a million flies cannot be wrong". This is the same trick that Yogendra Yadav applied by predicting 47 seats for AAP.

2)  Consider this - it was never an easy task for Narendra Modi or BJP to begin with.  The more we go back to the "nothing to lose" mode, the better. Lets start by saying, BJP got 138 seats in 2009.can it build up from there ? There is no pan-India presence, there are many more opposing forces than supporting ones.. and yet, there is a chance. Isn't that itself wonderful ? Up to a few months back, I did not imagine that BJP would retain Chattisgarh, did not think MP would give it 2/3rds in a "third time" and a 3/4th in Rajasthan... 

3) So now what about the "urban areas" threat to BJP .. Let me start off by saying that this crowd, except for the BJP loyalists, have always been the kind which would vote against BJP (meaning any other party) at the drop of a hat. In 2009, many of them would have found Manmohan singh "okay to vote for" because "he is after all an honest man". It is more or less the same crowd that is vouching for AAP now - the small catch is that some percentage of them may have voted for Modi if AAP were not there. So in other words, you aren't losing any old votes , but you perhaps may lose some extra votes that you may have received. In one of my previous posts, I have mentioned that BJP lost in 2004 and 2009, more because of the loyalists' lack of interest than these extra votes

4) How many major urban areas really matter for BJP ? Let us take metros as example. Kolkota and Chennai were anyway not in the wish list of BJP . Mumbai - all 6 seats were won by Congress/NCP last time. Delhi - all 7 loksabha seats were won by Congress in 2009.  So what exact damaging are we talking about ? Well, apparently the BJP was expecting to "sweep back" these seats and now that seems tough with AAP - so this whole "AAP eating into BJP" is built around assumptions ! 2nd tier cities are not much different

So then am I saying , there is no AAP threat to BJP at all, and so ignore it. No, to the contrary, instead of being in a denial more  I think it is time for the BJP as a party and its sympathizers to accept AAP as a threat, however small it is and work towards countering it, in a balanced and less emotional way. The reason though that I went into points 1,2,3 above is to however try to give it a bigger picture. It is easier to get lost in the woods and miss the forest. So give AAP what is due - do not underplay, do not overplay either. And how exactly ? Well, it isn't easy, there is no quick solution, just like there is no quick solution to a perennially anti-BJP media. But a few suggestions

i)  Popularize BJPs efforts - like the india272 website, the Campus Ambassador Programme etc etc..

ii) Know more about the policies .. and educate around as well.  Do not assume that "xyz" knew about certain misdeeds or dangerous policies of AAP and is still supporting it - its quite likely that "xyz" did not know it.. Ask "xyz" if heshe knew it.. if the answer is a No, explain it... If the answer is Yes, ask why do you still support

iii)  I have seen that personal or small group conversations have a big effect (it may not be immediately visible, but it will help eventually). This is particularly so if you are considered a logical and honest person in your circle.

iv) Have statistics ready at your hand.. and logical ways to question some propaganda statistics used by AAP/media - for example, "opinion poll suggests 44% in 8 cities will vote for AAP".. How does the same poll predict "58% people want Modi as PM".. did they interview fools who think voting for AAP will help Modi become PM ?!

v) Those who can volunteer for on the ground (house-to-house or small meetings) campaigning - nothing like it

That much is for the "common man".  The BJP leadership too, I hope are planning their own strategies.. The middle level leadership need to connect to the crowd better.. and give clear leadership and directions to the foot soldier. They are very well capable of doing that - they just need to believe in themselves. And finally, what about Modi itself. I am in double minds if he should resign his CM post and do full fledged campaign - a thought that occurred to me a few days back (and interestingly echoed by MNS' Raj Thackerey today)- I think Modi is the best judge.




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