Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interactive politics involving masses has blown opposition grounds of traditional politics and influence
National Politics is no longer La-affaire of New Delhi, Modi has taken it to the common man of India. Love it or hate it, Modi's BJP is back to power with thumping majority with an increased tally from 2014. Some are surprised to see the result and may still look at the tally with utter disbelief. As post-election rituals, multiple analysis have come in different newspapers and analysts were running from pillar to post to present their intellectual point of views through statistics, socio-economic issues or by explaining the ill-equipped strategy of opposition to demystify the grand winning of Narendra Modi. Alas, nothing was visible to them just a month ago.
The fact of the matter is that the entire gamut of political discussions and analysis by intellectuals and oppositions were devoid of common man's perspective of national politics. There was no effort by opposition parties or political pundits to reach to the common man to understand their perspective of national politics. Evidently, they were unable to understand that Modi had already taken the national politics to an altogether different level of perception and seriousness. Hence, the ignorance of opposition was translated into a huge defeat in election 2019. Modi was way ahead to plan the ushering of a new dimension in Indian politics.
From the day NDA assumed office in 2014, Modi was consistent to create a distinct identity of his way of doing national politics. A major shift was observed in the last five years where the Union government started communicating to people of India through its large numbers welfare schemes, foreign relationships, economic issues and other matters. More importantly, the NDA government took huge initiatives to talk about those in public domain setting aside the fear of controversies around it. People at large have got a feeling that they are also an integral part of national politics.
In past, central governments were all about high-end strategies, planning, schemes and elite foreign affairs limited only to high offices of Delhi, circumvent by elite bureaucracy. In Modi regime that has ceased to exist. National Politics has now become everybody's game. It is not anymore those good old days where the interest of national politics remained within the income tax slabs declared in Union budgets or loan waivers. A persuasive Modi became successful to create a new flavour of politics which is largely insulated from state-level politics and also from his own party. A distinct identity of national politics has emerged which is tangible to masses. This is something new for India and Modi is in the centre of it. You may very well call it Brand Modi.
Other parties need to learn from NAMO the ABCD of political branding and in-depth strategy of engaging masses. Surely, the outcome was Brand loyalty and enabling positive decision making drivers to people to choose their leader. After assuming office in 2014, the new government began with a makeover of all government departments' digital platforms with interactive modules for people encouraging two-way communication. Modi rolled his first initiative as Swaccha Bharat Schemes engaging people to participate. In the subsequent time, multiple welfare schemes have been rolled out and most of them are named after Prime Minister's Schemes shunning away from the legacy of nomenclature after departed leaders. From Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to Ayushman India, Central government was really focused to communicate them to masses without worrying about the outcome of recent future.
From "Mann Ki Baat" to discourses by ministers and party leaders, considerable time had been devoted to explain these initiatives. Slowly it has entered into the subconscious mind of people that national politics can interact with them and it matters. Modi's foreign visits also became a celebration of his politics. Detailed media coverage, public addresses to NRIs, interaction with leaders made his visits great events for politics. Being a master orator, he did not forget to praise India and Indians in every interaction in abroad which country saw and read in details. Foreign affairs expanded its wings from close-door high-profile meetings and exchange of dossiers with diplomatic smiles to an interactive political exercise. Thus, we have seen the emergence of a national leader who has made himself distinct in politics, leadership and policy. So the obvious question asked by BJP before the election: Modi versus who?
It is surprising to see that opposition parties did not innovate their politics to counter Modi's politics. They practised that age-old method of politics where the voter has to vote for national politics but should remain engrossed in local-level politics and influences thereof. A lucid alliance named as Mahagatbandhan had been placed before electorates where no one was sure which all parties were in or which all were not. No common agenda, no common platform and no unified leadership marred its prospect as an alternative.
Parties and leaders keener to get a better bargain post-election if the alliance wins. Once again it was the politics of comfort & high offices where the electorate had been insulated to the decision makings or, more precisely to know the choice of its prime minister. It transpired that they were not really serious for people's politics rather more interested in power-sharing, dynasty and self-interest. They failed to interact with people to project themselves as a serious alternative in national politics. Gone are the days where individual voters look towards national politics through the smoke screen of local politics.
"National Politics is a serious business for everybody"- Modi established this as a punch line of his brand of politics. The leader needs to communicate from the front and take ownership of his action. People are keen to know what is there for them from the parties or the alliances per se. National politics is a matter of national interest nowadays. Politics of convenience to grab power will no longer yield any dividend.
(The views expressed are strictly personal)