Even without being a BJP supporter, I can clearly count their poll promises on my fingers. Promises which they declared before elections with hopes of making it good when they get power. They have been successful in getting their message across. Specific message of “15 lacks”, “Jailing Scam-tainted ministers and even Robert Vadra”,“Making sure Pakistan gets a strong message” and a long list of other promises.
From an election-stand-point, it clearly does not matter, whether those promises will ever be fulfilled or will be termed as another Jumla. BJP, mostly thanks to Amit Shah, has figured out the template for election victories. He has busted the myth of the “Muslim Vote”. At the same time, he’s been successful in orchestrating a consolidation of Hindu-vote by giving Developments as well as the “fear of the growing minority” as primary motivators.
Vote-bank politics isn’t restricted to India and is done worldwide. Every party happens to do it and blames the other for it. When Congress, SP, or BSP was trying to hold on to its loyal caste base, BJP went one up, and consolidated them on religious lines, instead of caste.
And no, it isn’t a one-election strategy but a concerted effort that they’ve driven for years. RSS, Bajrang Dal or VHP, are all separate and non-political entities, which have been on the ground working tirelessly to join all the castes together.
Inherently human beings have programmed themselves to be part of a homogeneous group. Groups, separated by National boundaries, regions, linguistically, faith, caste, color, etc. Over time, we all learn/realize, we are essentially the same. Humans. But this journey of realization, overcoming the varied differences, is long. On the back of our minds, we see ourselves as separate and occasionally superior (as well). There’s a constant tussle between what we’ve been made to believe and what we should, based on our experiences and education.
You must be thinking, why am I telling you all this? Just bear with me as I paraphrase.
We are a divided lot. A large section is even racist! But everyone’s evolving to not appear as that racist bigot. But, when an ideology touches upon our fear or makes us envision scary future, for example, Muslim population growth or influence of ISIS, we’re taken aback, and this reason sticks. Irrespective of how far away from reality it might be.
When a reference to Shamshan vs Qabrastan or Electricity in Diwali vs Ramzaan is being made, it isn’t something that hasn’t been said or thought before. This only confirms the existent thought of favoritism to one community. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. The confirmation bias is strong enough to make it believable.
And that has essentially worked well for the BJP in getting its message across. Of course, good PR and media management, and a very vast Social media network has contributed to that as well. The proper messaging directed towards their target audiences worked.
Our anxiety and FOMO, along with the Fake news machinery, no doubt, contributes to this as well.
The opposition to BJP, couldn’t even make use of Demonetization which affected everyone across the country. BJP was successful in making people believe “it was for the good”.
The regional players need to come out of the bubble of remaining limited to their supposed “stronghold”. No one is going to watch a Ranji Match when a t20 is on, bro!
We don’t live in times when “this should be ideally done” works. Figuring out “what would work” is key. Do you think a deodorant would sell if they were to advertise it as “controlling body odor” or when it makes “women want men”, it’d sell more?