How the battle was won and why the war still remains

Prelude: As I shared my post of what I qualified as Modi wave, flood or tsunami ( ) with my friends in US, one of them asked me my view on how it was engineered. I promised a post after the resultss are declared. I had noted down the points and wanted to post it on May 16th night itself. But the scale of the victory was so overwhelming that I just couldn't pull myself up for a post on May 16th - have been so glued to the TV for the past two days. I took a leave on Friday, because something deep within told me that it is going to be a historic day. Now that it is slowly sinking in, here is my post, divided into 4 parts

Many of these points may very well be discussed to death by media, but I am trying to give my own thoughts - in no way is it comprehensive, neither have I been part of any official campaign team, below are just my observations

Part 1: How the battle was won - "internal" (to BJP) factors

I think BJP, with Modi as its head campaigner, unleashed one of the smartest ever campaigns in the history of Independent India. Though Modi was declared PM candidate only in september, he seems to have planned elements of it even well ahead, but in a way that it was still flexible enough to suit to a dynamic Indian political scene (like the emergence of AAP). To be able to achieve this, there needed a team of not just inspired brigade, but fired up brigade. I think the greatest quality of Modi that made him win this election is that he is some one who inspires. The energy if this 63 year old man, makes some one like me who is just a little above half his age, literally disturbed that I am only able to do so less.  So I can imagine how much some one who is able to work with him can get fired up

There are lot of articles floating around about CAG, how about 200 young professionals quit their job to work for NaMo and so on, but here is a piece that appeared on April 10, that I liked (and saved for this post)

Indeed some of the details of how this was run, may be kept a trade secret - for potential future use. In fact there were even different teams - for example, I was once told that "chai-pe-charcha" and "namo-tea-party" were completely different initiatives, run by completely different people, and sometimes there was even friendly competition and petty fights between their volunteers (I may be wrong, but thats my impression) - so characteristic of youth. Can you remember the last time there was friendly competition among India youth for a selfless work of this kind ?

Whether it was NaMo alone, or whether it was a team advising or discussing with him, there was clearly strategies behind almost every move - I don't think even a single bit of what Modi did was unplanned. In that sense, he showed great discipline in "sticking to the plan".  From September to early March or so NaMo built up the momentum through his weekend rallies (including the famous one in Bihar where he historically completed his address inspite of Bomb Blasts and handled the crowd and the situation so very well). Once the elections were declared it was a flood of rallies - all so well organized , meticulously executed. It was perhaps quite a bit of RSS help, but then you need a leader to bring out the best in every one and to give a chance to do what you are best at ! I have a feeling that even the art-of-living's voter registration drive a way of "taking help smartly"

NaMo's speeches had variety in 3 major ways - one, he was able to change tactics based on the region (including almost invariably mentioning a historical fact or anecdote of the place he was speaking). Two, he was able to change his style based on the type of the crowd - remember his 56-inch chest comment among UP bhayyas as opposed to a "They criticize me by saying that I work for the improvement of urban middle class.. aren't urban middle class not citizens of India?" comment (not the exact words, but along those lines) in Bangalore. And third, he was able to change gears as time progressed .. from a slow build up, to a sustained medium run up to an aggressive ending.

Indeed there are lot more factors - including the fact that many other BJP leaders too contributed immensely. The fact that BJP had strong CMs in MP, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Goa, made it that much easier for BJP - NaMo could much more focus on Bihar and UP.  And undoubtedly the Gujarati contribution - interestingly, if u analyze the results, it literally looks like a Tsunami with center in Gujarat - the closer to Gujarat, the more you were impacted. - Clean sweep in Rajasthan, Delhi.. almost near sweep in MP, UP , Maharashtra,.. big impacts in Bihar, Karnataka .. the water even reached Kanyakumari  Anyways, I cut short my list and move on to the external factors

Part 2: How the battle was won - external (to BJP) factors

 2013 Dec 8, Sunday. Assembly elections in Rajasthan, MP, Chattisgarh and Delhi were being declared. Though BJP got 80+, 75+, 50+ percentages in the first three states, the highest focus was on Delhi. BJP at 32, and the new "killer" AAP at 28. The big question was whether BJP will stake claim, whether they will "buy out" some AAP MLAs etc etc.. Suddenly, or so it appears, NaMo flew down to Delhi around 3 pm or so, had an emergency meeting with BJP leaders including Dr HarshVardhan. Little later in the evening, HarshVardhan came on one of the channels - I think it was Times Now - and to a question on whether he will stake claim, categorically stated "We do not have the numbers, we will sit in opposition". The confidence with which he said that, made me feel right away that it was a well thought out decision and most likely was either a NaMo idea or had his full backing.

The rest is now history- how AAP came to power, messed it up so badly and lost Delhi 0-7 to BJP in LS

The point I want to make is how brilliantly BJP strategized these moves. And I made a post then, and I firmly believe, AAP was a big factor in contributing to such a massive victory for BJP. AAP played the role of pouring oil into an already ignited BJP volunteer. The kind of campaign they ran was easily the ugliest in India's election history - lies after lies, fake stories after fake stories, abuses after abuses. Silence was Modi's weapon against AAP including in Varanasi . And the NaMo youth brigade just grew (many fence sitters, lazy folks like me were now switched on) and fired up.. ney blazed against the imposters , most of whom had no idea of what they are talking about and were more like cult members. I am not dismissing AAP as a long term threat to India - nuisance never goes away you see - but that is for another day.

Arvind Kejriwal wanted to be seen as the "Man who stopped Modi" , but he symbolized what exactly went wrong with the anti-Modi campaign. The anti-Modi ness itself.  Modi wanted to make it a Presidential style election - a referendum on his agenda and the likes of Kejriwal, Mulayam, Lalu , RSVP indeed, and Mamata played into it, each one wanting to be "I stopped Modi" claimant on his own, making it so much more easier for Modi.

That apart, the way the alliances were built up were quite interesting as well. In hindsight , it appears that Modi had a high confidence that BJP will succeed in mission 272 on its own, and did not go out of the way to get allies who were likely to score big - like Mamata, Jaya and Naveen. Shivsena and SAD were existing allies, and the only other big ally that Modi got was TDP, which in my opinion is less controversial and is more along the development lines. There are varying opinions on whether BJP should have gone alone in TN - I think the reason for the rainbow alliance was that BJP did not have the organizational infrastructure in TN (unlike Kerala where its relatively stronger). Allying with kind of parties it did in TN, gave BJP a chance to use their network, and spread NaMo message -

It may not have fetched many seats for BJP in TN, but I think the variety in the way BJP handled different states (for example, going alone in Odisha, Kerala, WB, Assam...) , going with many small groups in some states (TN, Bihar, Maharashtra), tying up with TDP in Seemandhra , and the results of each of these, will give BJP enough insights to learn about for its future plans - and that is what I will move on to next, but it will be brief

Part 3: The war remains: Internal (to BJP) 

BJP won the best tally ever - as Balbir Punj put it, many would have thought it will not happen in their life time. Yet, it still has not won a single seat in Kerala, won only 1 seat (that too in alliance) in TN, won only 2 in WB (and one if not both of those are from the Gorkhaland area) etc etc. In a nutshell, the way BJP got the numbers is by maximizing the impact of where it has been traditionally strong - and even this, in most cases, it won so on Modi wave. Organizationally,  and more importantly from a local leadership point of view, the party still faces challenge - UP is the best example.

However, this is the best opportunity to make it organizationally and ideologically strong in states like UP to a position of winnability in the next assembly election, and in states like Kerala and WB to a position of more-strength in their respective assembly elections.

There is at least one more challenge that BJP faces 'internally'. Managing the Parivar groups. Though most of these organizations and their members and extremely devoted to serving India and its culture and I have no doubt that they will want to do India any harm, in their over enthusiasm, and traditionally think-from-heart nature, they may tend to suggest things in a way that may put pressure (or will be projected to put pressure) on BJP. NaMo has shown that he has his smarter ways of doing some these things that the parivar groups want, and I hope they let him do it his way .. or if at all you want to suggest, do it more subtly than in a way that appears to be pushing for it.

Part 4: The war remains: Eternal (to BJP) factors  
 Well, what I really mean is, factors concerning India itself, but not necessarily to be handled at a party level, but at the NaMo government level. It is likely that Congress and many of the opposition parties will plan its own mischievous activities, not to speak of the "sleeping" cells of our 'friendly' neighbours. There will be the usual NGO wallahs ready to start demonizing India abroad ..   Can NaMo withstand it all, and take India to new heights ?

Perhaps, like his campaign itself, NaMo will need the continued participation of the brigade, in a way never seen before in Independent India's history. The call was already given in Varanasi today - for every Indian to be part of a clean-India-by-2019 (Gandhiji's 150th birth anniversary) campaign, and that may just be the beginning ...