Never before has a Prime Minister had so much power as Narendra Modi holds today. His party has formed a government in the center and in almost 21 out of the 29 state legislative assemblies. It is not by mere coincidence that the name Narendra Modi has become synonymous with India. Not only among the foreign nations, but also among the 130 crore Indians. The Modi campaign for this year’s election was so systematic and profound that it has shaken Indian politics to the core. We may argue that it has threatened democracy, but we cannot deny the success of it. And the success lay in not just the defeat of the opposition parties, but also in creating a narrative to make people believe that there is no other competent opposition.
Several advertising giants like Sam Balsara, Prasoon Joshi and Piyush Pandey got involved in this campaign. These giants had immediately realized that it was not possible to promote the whole BJP as a brand and so they decided to promote Modi as a brand to the crowds. Thus began the era of endless News channels, Whatsapp groups, Facebook pages, Tv advertisements, Tweets propagating the message that Modi can be the only saviour for modern India. This plan worked out really well because at this point in India’s present, more than 65% of the population are under the age of 65. So, it was important to create their curiosity and it could have been done through social media. Although the Modi government had initiated some good campaigns, they were certainly not executed properly. For eg, the SWACCH BHARAT campaign kicked off really well, but then the crowd started to lose interest in it and then celebrities started to pose their selfies while cleaning the garbage which changed people’s perception of the whole movement.
An empiricist philosopher, said, ‘perception is everything’. And it can be changed very easily. If you are wondering why it is so easy I would like to remind you that public memory is very short and they would not remember a party that appears before their eyes for just a second. They would forget that fleeting glance. So, these advertising companies like Ogilvy, Soho Square have cashed on this very important factor. Even after the 2014 elections, they never stopped promoting the Modi brand. And we know that if you tell a thing a hundred thousand times, eventually, people will believe you. The IT cell of the BJP has been very successful in spreading viral messages which create a messiah like image of Modi and of course, demeans the opposition. The party spent close to 25 crores on the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly campaign. Needless to say, in the absence of any promising CM candidate, Narendra Modi’s charisma was once again put to use. They spread the messages like, the PM sleeps only for 3 hours every day and works for 18 hours every day. Adverts like ‘KUTHE NEUN THEVLAY MAHARASHTRA MAJHA?’ (What progress have you done in Maharashtra?) These kind of adverts heavily criticised the Congress-NCP party which was in power then. The BJP has succeeded in forming a perception of Congress as the second biggest threat to India after terrorism. They have ridiculed the Congress PM candidate, Rahul Gandhi by calling him ‘Pappu’ or ‘Buddhu’ which means a stupid person who does not know anything.
And how can we forget that most famous slogan ‘ AB KI BAAR, MODI SARKAR’ which was also used by Trump to attract Indian voters in the USA. It is a brilliant slogan which is very easy to say. BJP spent 50 lakh rupees to broadcast Modi’s speech on various channels. BJP also used their most trusted formula of Hindutva by showing themselves as the only saviour of the majority that is apparently under grave danger. They succeeded in making Ram Mandir a bigger issue for the rural youth than unemployment. They also succeeded in promoting the image of Modi as a development friendly PM in the hearts of the urban upper middle-class. Just before six months of the general elections, it seemed improbable to think that BJP would acquire a similar kind of majority that they gained in the 2014 elections. But due to the amount of coverage that was granted over the news channels also helped considerably. Almost all the news channels like Zee news, Republic tv. etc provided immense coverage to Modi, almost double than what they gave Rahul Gandhi. The last masterstroke that was played in the Modi campaign was the Kedarnath trip just a day before the Hindi Heartland voting days. This cemented his previous image of being a ‘fakir’ or a saint. BJP’s painstaking efforts at making Narendra Modi look like a fearless, calm and composed Prime Minister has succeeded without a doubt. Exaggerated stories about his childhood in the book ‘ BAL NARENDRA’ also helped. As they have secured more seats than they did in the 2014 general election. BJP’s Modi campaign says a lot about Indian politics and citizens and also how can they be manipulated.