BJP decimated oppositions in UP: 5 lessons BSP, SP can learn from Narendra Modi and Amit Shah

BJP decimated oppositions in UP: 5 lessons BSP, SP can learn from Narendra Modi and Amit Shah

BJP President Amit Shah is known for his poll strategy. No matter what media organisations say about the party's prospect in elections, Shah prefers to go with internal survey report.

If there is anything other parties can take away from the UP elections, it is the organisational lessons from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janta Party's President Amit Shah. The early trends in the results seem to suggest that the BJP is set for a landslide win in Uttar Pradesh, with the party taking a huge lead against rivals Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.

Both Modi and Shah seem to have learnt a lesson from the debacle in Bihar, and made a strong comeback scripting what looks like a stunning victory for the saffron party. Here's what the two leaders did at a strategic level to ensure that BJP comes out with flying colours:
Top-down approach:
The Bharatiya Janata Party once again banked on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party did not want to take any risk by announcing a CM candidate, who, it felt, was not favorable for a cross-section of voters in Uttar Pradesh.

Given the role of castes in a state like UP, there are very few candidates who can appeal to cross-section of voters (upper caste, OBCs and Dalit). However, the party pushed PM Modi's development agenda to win the election.

For UP election, all the publicity material such as posters, banners carried pictures of Prime Minister Modi and his lieutenant Amit Shah, this is different from RSS' bottom up approach where cadre worked to mobilise support for the BJP.

Do in-depth detailing: The BJP's national president Amit Shah is known for his poll strategy. No matter what media and PR organizations say about the party's prospect in elections, Shah prefers to go with internal survey report and design his campaign accordingly.

As many of us are aware that in the political calculus of UP, caste plays a dominant role. The saffron party conducted two surveys in UP doing every bit of detailing on voters.

And we saw a glimpse of it during the Prime Minister's rallies where he accused the state government of being biased towards a particular community and appeasing the other.

"Gaon mein agar kabristan banta hai, to gaon mein shamshaan bhi banana chahiye. Agar Ramzan mein bijli milti hai, to Diwali mein bhi milni chahiye. Agar Holi mein bijli milti hai, to Eid par bhi bijli milni chahiye. Bhedbhav nahin hona chahiye (If a village gets a graveyard, it should get a cremation ground too. If there is electricity during Ramzan, there should be electricity during Diwali too. If there is electricity during Holi, there should be electricity during Eid too. There should not be any discrimination)," the Prime Minister had said.

The Prime Minister seemed to have made this statement to consolidate non-Muslims votes especially after Congress joined hands with Samajwadi Party that gave upper edge to the alliance as it had the possibility of tapping the scattered Muslim votes.
Stick to your core base:  The BJP is believed to be a party of upper caste - Brahmin, Rajput, Baniya - people who no matter what largely vote for the saffron party. Strategists also say that this is BJP's core base and the Party cannot afford to lose the grip on its core voter base in the state.

BJP's internal UP survey made some recommendations and acting on it the party scheduled a Brahmin Sammelan in Ballia. According to reports, seven such mega Brahmin events were organized throughout the state ahead of the elections.

RSS and VHP cadre together organized Dalit programs as the BJP, according to party sources, couldn't afford to ignore UP's Dalits, who make up 21 per cent of the state's population.

Trust your own: The BJP does not believe in outsourcing its primary task of collecting data or making strategy for poll campaigns. A senior BJP leader ahead of elections had said that the party would not outsource any company or individual for its campaign, unlike Congress which hired political strategist Prashant Kishor. "We will plan everything ourselves," the party insider had said.

BJP has a long list of saffron outfits that work for it in elections. From the VHP, the Hindu Jagran Manch, the Bajrang Dal, the Kisan Sangh Kendra to the Mazdoor Sangh, all affiliate organizations participate in the election plan, depending on their skills. Every wing of the RSS and the BJP were involved in the poll campaign.

Learn from past mistakes: After facing its worst debacle in Bihar, the BJP changed its focus and decided to offer positive solutions to local issues. It also started to balance the religious and caste factors, according to reports.

And we saw the change in BJP's campaign approach during Assam elections first. The party, rather than running against regional sentiment - exemplified by the NDA slogan "Badaliye sarkar, badaliye Bihar" - aligned itself with regional forces to focus on regional issues.

Prime Minister in UP elections largely focused on roads, electricity and employment during month long campaign in UP. He prefered to stay from controversial subjects - barring 'Kabristan' statement - and not even talked about Ram Temple.