Frustrated at its inability to push through key legislation in parliament, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is doing what embattled governments in the past have done-take refuge in propaganda. If the BJP is to be believed, the good times are already here, thanks to the so called reforms made by this present government. Leveraging the tactics it used in the 2014 general elections; the party is planning a humongous perception management exercise, which uses some clever packaging and piggybacks on the natural charisma of its star mascot-Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With this the BJP government aims to highlight it’s achievements to the masses. Unlike the previous Manmohan Singh led government, which was known for its complete inability to communicate with people at any and every level, the present dispensation is savvy in its propaganda efforts. Prime Minister Modi has been particularly good at tom-tomming achievements made during his tenure. Never mind that the present government has not much to show in its report card of 10 months.
The party has made claims, which range from credible to the outright bogus. An example of the latter set of claims is the party seeking to take the credit for lower fuel prices. The problem with such a tenuous claim is that fuel prices have fallen because of a global slide in fuel prices-not something the government could have influenced in any way, manner or form. The BJP is also seeking to claim that it has revived stalled projects and caused an increased in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows. Data, which backs this claim up, is also hard to come by. Whether or not the present government’s achievements are imaginary or real is a secondary question. The real question is what has prompted this massive publicity blitz from a government, which has so far remained effete and unresponsive to the media. In the first few months of its existence the ruling government had maintained a studied silence-largely due to Modi’s unofficial gag order-so much so that it was accused of being aloof.
The answer to that question has its roots in the Delhi assembly election results. Shocked out of its inertia by a massive rout which handed the entire assembly to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the top BJP brass suddenly started looking for answers. In political speak this was called ‘introspection’, which is what losing parties do once they are defeated. Out of that introspection was born the realisation that the party must make a sustained and targeted effort to communicate its achievements to the people of this country. The party seeks to begin its massive public outreach next month. The Prime Minister has already lent some much needed fillip to this effort by going on record and blaming opposition parties for “misleading farmers” and creating “hindrances” in the development of the country. While communicating with the people is important to win elections; hype and hoopla can take the BJP only so far.