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Friends of BJP: The Road Ahead: 2. Communication

January 27th, 2010 · 9 Comments

2.       Communication

The BJP needs to effectively communicate its thinking, ideology and activities better to people in India and outside. Media management has been often highlighted as one of the areas of deficiencies in the party’s communications. Members from Friends of BJP (along with the proposed Think Tank) can help build a better media outreach strategy using new media, offline distribution solutions, etc. We need to look for solutions which are “faster, better, cheaper” and can get the message across to the masses. Some possibilities:

  • Innovative use of online (Net and mobile), complemented by offline distribution of CDs/DVDs, columns in print, TV appearances, etc.
  • Direct 1:1 interaction with key members from the media

This strategy will only use contemporary mediums to increase outreach and is in no way a replacement to the grassroots movement. Public education is absolutely essential  in a democratic setup. How the average citizen perceive the important issues, how informed he or she is about them, how they feel about them – all of these matter because public policy is formed as a distillation of how the public feels about them. Affecting change then is than a matter of changing public perception and that argues for a very effective campaign for public education. (Public education must be understood here as making the public informed about issues that matter in the larger scheme of things.)

Tomorrow: Engagement

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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 anonymous // Jan 27, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I haven’t thoroughly analyzed the minutaie of regional/ state politics in India, but I agree somewhat with MrDalal – I am sceptical that a non-Congress party will be able to produce a candidate that will have national or at least broad-based appeal that will be enough in amount to overcome the ‘Gandhi’ factor, when only one person has ever done so, and in my opinion, because of a one-time event. In fact, I don’t even know how to define the minimal conditions that must be met for a strong candidate.

    Here are my first guesses: young, multilingual so as to increase regional appeal, some sort of pedigree (either of royal/storied descent, or a film star, or ex-army person, or perhaps a young businessperson who has made it and can be someone the younger masses will rally around), and a strong administrative background, perhaps CM or some Cabinet post, but not enough background that they can be hung by detractors.

    (This is why I think NaMo will never become PM; I feel that to deal with systemic problems that involve violence and vote banks, one will have to reach a high enough post that one can control pieces all over India and abroad and conceive other sources of political support than the same old entrenched, politically over-active vote banks. In fact, the nature of Indian politics makes me think that it might be better to have someone full of ‘promise’ but little to actually prove it, like Obama, instead of a seasoned and proven politician. So many past leaders have proven incompetent, that I would even prefer someone who only seems to have the potential and will ultimately have to prove their chops in office!)

    I would like to hear what others have to say on this.

    On another note, Mr Jain, is the email address under ‘write to me’ still valid?

  • 2 Nilesh Patel // Jan 27, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I agree with “anonymous”. Leaders are born not made. Even though i am gujarati , a BJPian and fan of NaMo and have questions against nehru-gandhi dynasty, Isn’t Rahul Gandhi a fit for what we looking for in BJP. He has political blood, young, educated, not hungry for power or position and has eye to look at real issue rather then dirty politics. He rarely cares about media and does what is right rather than what makes news like NaMo. BTW i ain’t love congress as wholesale party but few people like him definitely ask for thinking of new era in indian politics and specifically new Congress which is made of new blood and new vision for all of india rather then BJP’s so called religion dividing politics.

  • 3 Jigish Parikh // Jan 27, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Nilesh,

    Politics like any other carrier demands experience and proof of capacity. Just being born in a political family is not enough. Based on that theory Lalu’s children must be equally chor(which they are not) or Abhishek Bachhan should not have delivered a single failed movie !! People asked better healthcare,water,roads. NaMo delivered. Bihar asked face change and image change. Nitish Kumar delivered. Where are people like these with proven capacities in Congress? We have Sheila dixit who publically says Common Wealth Games will go as planned in Delhi if God wishes ?!?!>@ Our PM publically accepts he is incapable of handling Pakistan and begs with smile in White House? How do you view all these ? To me it is humiliation to the nation on international stage. If people starts voting just on face value and not performance( i.e Rahul), that will ensure India’s continued erosion in self-respect and respect on international stage as well.

  • 4 mockingbuddha // Jan 28, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Guess that most comments have been of the Rahul vs Who variety. It is inevitable!

    There are inherent pleasures to inheritance and Rahul is enjoying that, backed strongly by an effective, not-in-your-face mother.

    Post election, the media has helped him add the charisma of victory to dynasty, an almost unbeatable combination in any political setup, anywhere in the world.

    And being camera friendly and showing a bit of naivete has made him look like a likable underdog. In which case NMO and the rest of the BJP herd tend to look like bullies. We all know how people felt about it.

    Compare this with the earlier case when the BJP played the underdog to perfection, even while pleading with the people to give them a chance, and they were given one, even if half heartedly. It pays to be an underdog…. Anyone listening?

    That pleading is now lost, most of the BJP’s present leadership tend to look like bash ready bullies, having NMO around only sharpens that edge. NMO for the PMO, I guess we can forget it.

    I do not know how the BJP leadership is chosen, but it looks like there is a clear preference for sourpusses with acquired gravitas, of the old school master type.

    How is it that so many could have inherited the Advani-jaw and the vacuous look of Rajnath Sanghji. Perhaps it is all that thinking about the country that makes them so. Such a big turn off. And it will cost you elections….

    Pramod Mahajan, RIP, whatever he was, is being missed and badly. Hope the new leader is better recieved by the general public if not the party faithful.

    So much so for charisma.

    The BJP is also singularly unlucky in the sense that there are not many national issues that it can grandstand on, security has been hijacked by Chidu, price rises are absorbed silently, and no one seems interested in farmers suicides, not even the farmers themselves. The country seems to be running on a kind of lazy autopilot.

    With no charismatic leader and no grand stand-able issues, what is a party to do?

    The best thing the party can do is to grab these quiet moments to build itself wherever possible, and it is important that they convey not the tired mottoes of beliggerent Hindutva, but what Rajesh and group are trying to champion, inclusive Indiatva. Let the party forget about all kinds of nesses, (Indian-ness) and think about how – “to quote Nehru” – to help India acquire its rightful place in the comity of nations.

    Oh, that is almost like teaching old dogs new barks, at best a difficult prospect, which is why I am almost sure that this ploy is bound for long term failure. When the day of reckoning comes, FOBJP are in for another boot in the nether end, like they were post last election.

    There are a few other things the BJP could do to capture pole position, but perhaps this blog is not the right place to discuss that.

    Leaving aside all that, the simple truth is that there is more excitement in being a Congressman today than being a BJP man. Which was not the case during the party’s heydays.

    I remember that it was the IN thing then, to be a Hindutvite. And your reputation soared when it was known that you had managed to send some bricks to the Sri Sri Sri Sri Rama Maharaj Raghuvamshi, C/O The Late Babur Maharaj, Ayodhya (PO).

    It was such a IN thing that even the otherwise snooty Jayalalitha managed to send a few sandal wrapped blue bricks to help the poor guy rebuild his house.

    In my small town, those early converts to Hindutva still run the annual Chaturthi Poojas, but with increasingly less enthusiasm. And even lesser funds. For them the BJP is as good as dead, only good for a few rounds of liquor when election comes.

    No leader, no issues, nothing to attract the youth, nothing to tell them that this is one party to whom they can entrust its dreams. Perhaps the only sensible thing that BJP can do now is to wait for Pakistan to make a foolish move. Like digging a tunnel to Ayodhya.

    And so, after that unusually terse diatribe, (I am known to run into pages and crash servers), I come back to my old claim that there is space for a new centre of right formation, which does not need to piggy back on the tired old dog of Hindutva….

    And that Rajesh and Co spend their time and effort on that.

    I rest my case.

    Good Old Mocking Buddha

  • 5 KRK Mohan // Jan 28, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I think BJP is getting wrong answers election after election because it is asking the wrong questions. Take the example of price rise, people think MMS is the best economist alive in India and there is no visible face in the BJP who can “perceptually” match MMS. People opine that if MMS cant do much someone from the BJP will do much worse. The boomerang of national security issue in the last election is all too well documented. Neither can BJP cliam to be incorruptible as it was once during the 90′s and neither can it claim to be anti-dynasty because the culture is gaining ground rather quickly.

    In the light of the above, even as a BJP supporter I cant say convincingly that BJP can get the popular mandate anywhere in the near future specially with the huge burden of anti incumbency it has/would have accumulated in Gujarat, MP, Chattisgarh etc.

    But there is one area where no one from BJP has ever dared to enter. Thats the slogan “We the people…”. If the BJP can package itself as a party that can give the power back to the people, promote an aspirational society, reduce government size and increase governance efficiency vis a vis the Congress which imposes things on people, stands for strong regulations and has legacy issues in the areas of reservation based on caste/religion, then its my firm conviction that BJP will have something new to offer. Worst of the congress, it will get beaten at its own game what with the BJP would swear by the 1st 3 words of the preamble of the constitution “We the people…”. Of-course there has to be a political face from the party with a pan-Indian appeal, however a clear thought process and political positioning is a greater need.

    -Jai Hind

  • 6 blogger // Jan 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

    well i think if bjp have to stand up again then they need a icon person for it Narendra modi looks quite good but it needs more than just it..BJP is loosing its grounds

  • 7 rone // Jan 31, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I planned to write on “communication”.
    But people here seems to be in the same old post election “Rahul vs who?” “All is lost” crap.

    Please ask commentators to stick to the subject
    or delete comments.
    Or else no meaningful discussion on your post is possible.

  • 8 mockingbuddha // Feb 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    i guess rone is right, but the rahul vs who is to be expected.

    People pick on it simply because BJP has had nothing worthwhile to communicate post the election, the only thing that has happened is some very public dirty linen washing. Jaswant et al.And this is something that is better not communicated, whatever be Rajesh choice of style.

    To put it simply, what is lacking is not the means and the will to communicate, but what to. And unless that is found, the BJP’s communication interface will fumble and flounder as usual. On the other hand if communication means more of the same that its leaders crap out during poll meetings, the results will be…

    oops, I forget, hats off to rone for pointing out the obvious! you dont want rajesh to lose his readers, do you?

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