Modi as mascot: Decoding BJP’s assembly polls campaign

Modi became the face of saffron party’s campaign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a road show in Hyderabad | PTI Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a road show in Hyderabad | PTI

The BJP conducted a spirited campaign in the four states with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking the lead. He became the face of the campaign in poll bound states as the party firmly kept its eyes on 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 

The campaign will draw to a close in Telangana on Tuesday evening, the last of the five states to go to polls on November 30. The first signs of how the contest has gone between the BJP and the INDIA grouping will be available on Tuesday evening with exit polls conducted by various agencies being revealed. 

The BJP has expressed its hope that it will win all the state elections. If that happens, it will set tone for the Lok Sabha elections, a few months away. If the Congress which is in direct contest in all the states goes on to do well, it will provide it with necessary confidence before the Lok Sabha polls, apart from giving it greater bargaining power within the Opposition alliance.

The current round of election provided a template as to how BJP will nuance its campaign during the general elections. It promised to provide gas cylinder at Rs 450 for Ujjwala beneficiaries. The party may extend the benefit to the entire country in its Lok Sabha manifesto. The increase in PM Kisan Samman Nidhi will also be taken in Lok Sabha polls as saffron party promised to give Rs 12,000 to farmers every year. Currently Rs 6,000 is given to farmers by the Centre every year.  

Both the parties aggressively wooed women voters as it happened in the the Madhya Pradesh where CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan proposed a lot of sops for women. In 2018, the Congress had won three states, though it lost Madhya Pradesh to BJP owing to its rebellion by Jyotiraditya Scindia. This prompted the Congress to rely on its regional leaders like Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and Kamal Nath for its current campaign. 

The BJP’s campaign, however, was in sharp contrast to the Congress in five states. The BJP, in order to counter anti-incumbency against its local leaders, projected Modi as the main mascot as all the promises were called Modi’s Guarantees. Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J.P. Nadda also conducted rallies and roadshows across the states to bolster party’s chances.

All eyes will be on the December 3 results as it will not only decide the messaging and campaign style for the 2024 elections but also the fate of many regional leaders like Kamal Nath, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Ashok Gehlot and Vasundhara Raje among others. 

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