Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

After the victory, the new targets

Narendra Modi walks past a sculpture of former prime minister Indira Gandhi as he proceeds to a joint session of Parliament Monday. Renuka Puri Narendra Modi walks past a sculpture of former prime minister Indira Gandhi as he proceeds to a joint session of Parliament Monday. Renuka Puri
Written by Archna Shukla | New Delhi | Posted: June 10, 2014 2:22 am

Team that drove Modi campaign back at work, now on Maharashtra

The Team that ran Narendra Modi’s poll campaign is back at work, its next target being assembly elections due this year. Prime Minister Modi, it has been learnt, has asked his campaign strategists to stop celebrating the victory and begin ground work for the upcoming “challenges”. They have been advised to replicate the campaign and communication strategy they followed in the general elections. The big target is Maharashtra, which goes to polls in December.

“The prime minister’s plate is more than full right now. He will not have the time to personally sit down and strategise the campaign, and has therefore asked his strategists to throw their weight behind the leadership in the state and begin work immediately,” said an insider.

One of Modi’s key campaign managers, Prashant Kishore, has already kicked off the process of research and analysis of local issues. His not-for-profit Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG) is gathering data from earlier assembly polls. “The idea is to analyse voting preferences and spot trends that trigger voting decisions. It is the same process on which was founded their campaign strategy in the just concluded general elections,” said a person working closely with the CAG team.

Besides seeking to understand voters’ psyche, the other pillars of the campaign will be building an army of volunteers for on-the-ground and digital initiatives. “There will be several initiatives to connect with voters directly, just like chai pe charcha. Digital platforms and social media will also be exploited,” the person said.

Since Maharashtra has a high internet penetration, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube will constitute a significant part of the campaign. There is also a proposal to use mobile phones in ways other than broadcasting generic voice and text-based messages.

Alongside Modi’s communications managers, the BJP’s central campaign team too will be deployed. Sources said state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis has convened a meeting of the party’s national IT team, along with volunteers and group conveners such as Rajesh Jain of “Friends of BJP”. The group will meet on June 16 in Mumbai.

The BJP’s IT cell has been asked to mobilise its local volunteers in Maharashtra and identify the issues to play on. “So far, we have identified lack of support to farmers, the moving out of industry from the state such as the IT industry’s exit from Pune and textiles moving out of Mumbai, corruption in land deals, poor infrastructure in big cities and the leadership crisis in the Congress as big issues we need to build our campaign around. These and other things will be discussed when we meet on June 16,” said a volunteer who has worked closely continued…

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