Time for apolitical Modi supporters to rekindle the 2014 spirit

Results for 3 big Hindi heartland states are out & BJP has lost all 3 – Rajasthan, MP & Chhatisgarh. This has given a boost to anti-Hindu/left-liberal forces who are aggressively showcasing this result as an end to the Modi wave.

All this talk of 2019 LS elections reminds me of the 2014 campaign. At that point Narendra Modi ji had already been declared as the BJP PM candidate and BJP had achieved massive mandates in these very states. Yet, the mood was not confident in the BJP camp nor its supporters. All assessment of BJP’s possible election tally was being restricted by its historical best of 180+ seats.

It’s in this scenario that BJP launched the 272+ mission, meant to mobilise the apolitical supporters of the party in general & Narendra Modi in particular. Lakhs of people registered themselves with the 272+ mission and their basic credentials were captured in the BJP IT Cell database.

However, only a minority of these registered persons were really active & were named as Coordinators at the constituency level. So the challenge that BJP faced was to convert supporters into volunteers who would actually contribute to the grassroot election campaign.

At that time, one of my clients was contesting from a constituency that was close to Delhi & there was a fear of AAP making inroads into the urban parts of the constituency dominated by people living in private builder condominiums. People living in this area had no direct interest in politics, did not attend public meetings & preferred not to interact with typical party workers. Moreover, access of outsiders inside the condominiums was also restricted.

To overcome these challenges, we decided to utilise the already existing 272+ mission database and the popularity of Narendra Modi amongst those who had registered. We set up a control room & called all 3000+ registered supporters of Mission 272+ from that area. They were told that we had been sent by Modi ji’s office as a support team for the local candidate & went on to map them to booth, sector, condominium, number of hours they can devote to campaigning, type of campaign work they are interested in, and other relevant factors.

We organised local meet ups & informally made them incharge of their respective areas. We also asked them to enlist their friends who were supporters of Narendra Modi. It was during this process of enlisting unregistered volunteers through the registered ones that we understood the depth of support that Modi ji enjoyed amongst the youth. For every registered volunteer, we found four others through him who had faith in Modi ji’s leadership & were willing to work hard with no other objective but love for the country.

In about a months time, we had a complete hierarchy of fully devoted volunteers ranging from students to investment bankers to housewives.

Instead of involving these volunteers in typical election campaigns, we asked them to conduct door to door campaigns in their own condominiums. A personalised letter with family voter details were handed over to each family by these volunteers in their own neighbourhoods. In addition, instead of a full fledged survey, the volunteers were asked to assess their interaction with each family on the following parameters- For/Against/Neutral. By the time this process was completed, we were quite comfortable in our assessment that AAP was nowhere in the competition & a comfortable win was on the cards.

On the election day, the volunteers were given various duties ranging from ensuring identified BJP voters cast their vote, to assisting BJP workers with laptops containing soft copy of voter list. The sight of local young boys and girls sitting with laptops outside polling booths also played a big role in creating a positive perception on the undecided voter.

Cutting the long story short, while party workers had a big and important role to play in the win, it was the apolitical volunteers who made the victory into a landslide one. Today, we are again at a point where the invincibility of Narendra Modi is in question and anti-Hindu forces have regained their confidence like a cricketer returning to form.

Another repetition of a 2014 type victory would once again require the deep involvement of apolitical supporters from all walks of life whose only interest is in seeing a visionary and committed leadership guide their nation to a bright future.

History is waiting to repeat itself!

(The author is a marketing and campaign management professional currently working as a senior advisor for a Government department)

Addendum: Another insider account of a Mission 272+ volunteer

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