Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back

How Narendra Modi hits back at rivals in real time

Author: Rajeev Deshpande
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 1, 2014
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/lok-sabha-elections-2014/news/How-Narendra-Modi-hits-back-at-rivals-in-real-time/articleshow/34449945.cms

Just after a mid-morning rally in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday, Narendra Modi spoke to the BJP campaign offices at Delhi and Gandhinagar before boarding his chopper for the next meeting.

 A website report suggesting a link between him and an alleged hawala operator was bothering him. Get the details and issue a denial, he instructed BJP managers while disclaiming any acquaintance with the person.

 Later in the day an informal briefing by enforcement directorate officials that no connection has emerged linking Modi to the person under investigation helped BJP defuse a potential controversy.

 Keenly aware of the need for responding to issue in real time, Modi tracks campaign issues with the help of a team that carefully monitors news sources and keeps a tab on the speeches of political opponents.

 Team BJP's monitoring of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi has seen Modi fashion a riposte within hours of a point being made against him, a tactic particularly useful in influencing TV tickers.

 Modi, however, does not rely on the BJP machinery alone in selecting campaign themes or ensuring a swift response to a particular issue such in the case of the alleged hawala operator Afroz Fatta.

 Modi crowd sources ideas and his aides scan suggestions of hundreds of volunteers on BJP's mission 272 portal, which along with party and RSS feedback, has seen him sometimes touch on Hindutva issues.

 He deviated from his "development and governance" pitch to touch on polarizing issues on a couple occasions recently and in both instances he decided to go by the strong sentiments of the local units.

 In West Bengal he hit out at Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee who's face he said glows at the sight of illegal migrants seen as a vote bank while Biharis and Odiyas are treated as outsiders.

 Modi's sharp warning that after May 16 Bangladeshis will have to pack and leave was an acknowledgement of the state BJP and RSS view that the issue illegal migrants must be raised.

 "The feedback was that Mamata's overtly pro-minority behaviour is generating a backlash and if taken up strongly can benefit BJP candidates," said a BJP campaign manager.

 During an earlier rally in February in Silchar in Assam, Modi openly batted for the "right" of Hindu refugees to seek sanctuary in India while criticizing the influx of illegals from Bangladesh.

 Here, too, Modi incorporated feedback from the Sangh and local issues identified through crowd sourcing, which has developed into a potent poll time mechanism.

 The departure from Modi's more nuanced pitch is sharp and the intent is to play the political-religious divide in Assam and West Bengal with neither Congress, Trinamool or Left ready to use the "Hindu" card.

 Modi's reference to the exodus of Kashmiri pandits was intended to put National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on the defensive after the latter's advice to Modi voters to jump into the sea.

 Keenly that his position on an issue should not go unrepresented, Modi keeps the BJP backroom on its toes and though he does not pen his tweets, nothing is posted without his perusal.

 In fact, BJP insiders say Modi is prone to running a blog or tweet past an expert or sometimes a general audience in order to rule out an error or a misplaced emphasis.

  He reviews feedback generated by technical monitoring of the BJP campaign across the nation late in evenings after the end of a schedule of 5-6 rallies or early morning and the same applies to responding to emails.


«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements