In the Northeast too, it has done well capturing a large number of seats.What is right and what is wrong with this election?
The BJP was preparing for this election since 2014. People of the Northeast didn’t get a good deal from the BJP, but all the time some or other central minister or high BJP functionary was visiting the region.
As is their practice, this government doesn’t make any difference between the government and party activities. So each trip of the high party or government functionary was put to its best use in building the vote base and strengthening its organizational foundation.
This is our experience here. But the same thing was replicated elsewhere. There is a curious thing in BJP’s philosophy and ideology. Ideologically it is regressive. It stands for everything anti-modern. But, pragmatically, it is so alloyed with consumer culture and market economy and adept at using the information technology effectively.
How do the multinational companies build their brand and expand their market base? First, they have a brand ambassador. Then, they do the market study and try to expand their market base to win the hearts of their consumers with their products.
The BJP is just doing that. For them voters are not citizens. They are their beneficiaries and customers. Modi is their brand ambassador and advertiser. Don’t we know what a brand ambassador does! Just remember the advertisements and think whether Modi fits the bill or not?
And match Modi against the MNC advertisements too. He fits them so well in all aspects. What the MNCs do? They present the unessentials as essentials and mesmerize their customers to go for them.
Think about the voters, not all but the majority and gullible ones. They forgot the issues of their long term survival and were most happy grabbing the election time goodies offered by the BJP. The BJP bartered the goodies and money with their votes.
And of course there was that grand narrative of Pulwama and Balakot. And besides what they did?
Here I quote a comment on my Facebook post by a most erudite FB friend Kamaljit Deka who is based in the US. See what he writes about their organizational work at the grassroots:
“…… RSS made its debut in Assam in 1946 when three individuals Dadarao Parmarth, Vasantrao Oak and Shri Krishna Paranjpe arrived on October 27, 1946 to establish the first shakha in Guwahati, Shillong and Dibrugarh respectively although the first regular shakha could be started only in 1949 in Guwahati under the aegis of pranta pracharak Thakur Ram Singh as the organization was facing the heat due to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January, 1948. The present organizational network of the RSS in Assam could be well gauged from the fact there are 1179 shakhas running in 730 places while there are 128 milans and 57 mandalis. The Seva Bharati has 450 projects while there are 546 services that are being done at the moment in the State. We have Arogya Mitra in 3,200 places across the State while there are Kalyan Ashrams operating in 323 places.”
Against this background, what the anti-BJP political parties and other organizations were doing in India and Assam. They failed in giving a united fight to the BJP.
Lalu Prasad grasped it so correct. He pointed out the other day: “The Congress manifesto was far better than the BJP’s…….despite its quality, failed to receive the appropriate backing from the disorientated Opposition parties, which signalled they were looking at their own survival rather than taking the BJP head-on.”
On the other hand, BJP instead of having a macho brand ambassador did everything possible to forge a solid unity with their allies. See how many seats they conceded to the JDU in Bihar and remember how meekly Amit Shah went to meet Uddhab Thackeray.
But in Assam, unlike the rest of India, the Opposition parties and other anti-BJP organizations had the advantage of support of a section of the electronic and print media.
However, the supportive media didn’t do them a service, but a disservice. They helped them delude in their fond dreams thinking about their imaginary support base.
The secular and democratic civil society people also didn’t play their role effectively. The election results have proved that they don’t have any knowledge about the realities at the grassroots. They didn’t know what the ordinary people were thinking. They thought that they would be able to influence people with symbolic protests and their press meets with the help of a supportive media.
No, they were awfully wrong. The news of their protest and press meets went over the heads of the people.They were no match to BJP propaganda machine working at the grassroots offering a different narrative by their RSS foot soldiers and social media.
The liberal democrats were only preaching to themselves. They were converting nobody. By their ritualistic protests they were only pleasing themselves. That didn’t work and won’t work for the future too. One needs a better strategy to reach out to the larger section of democratic people which will not happen automatically if the organizers are not ready to work on a long term strategy and invest some quality time in it.