After the lull comes the carpet bombing. The head start made by the BJP over its rivals in the campaign trail, temporarily halted by the bickering within the party over candidate selection, is again set to begin as the saffron party gears to cover the key states to drive maximum benefit.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which together count 120 seats would be the focus of the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, other senior leaders known for their oratorical skills, L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh too would be travelling across the country to swing those crucial votes in the party’s favour.
Modi who has already addressed 100 rallies in the last 10 months may now be clocking a similar number in the next two months as requests from state units are piling up. Following close on the heels of Modi would be Sushma Swaraj, who in the assembly elections addressed over a half a dozen rallies a day.
A senior BJP leader involved with the planning told Sunday Standard, “Modi will address rallies in areas not visited by him till now in a manner that he can target three-four parliamentary constituencies in one go.” After addressing one rally, Modi would immediately fly off to the next destination, hopping states, without wasting any time. Swaraj would be focusing on Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu.
While the exact details are still being worked out, sources say that the campaign plan post-announcement of candidates will have a different flavour — a mix of national and local, with the star campaigner bringing his/her style oratory. Talking points will be given to all. One set will be prepared by the book-room boys of the central campaign team to be backed by material the candidates in specific areas provide.
From a collective appearance at rallies till now, the senior leaders would branch out. They would travel individually to address rallies during the next two months till the final phase on May 10. BJP war room at the Ashoka Road party headquarters, going by the name of ‘central election management coordination and logistics centre’, is the battleground. There are different sections managing different states and each team managing one state to avoid “mismanagement or slips”. Everything from caste-break to names of block-level karyakarta (key worker), key factors driving local sentiments, are neatly tabulated.
The constituency-wise research is provided to the election managers as well as the leaders. It’s a round-the-clock operation, comparable to any 24x7 call centre. There’s a special team giving information on travel plans. A crack team is specifically devoted to crisis-management that presses into action to tackle any negative publicity in the country. The same content management team also develops the campaign points for leader-responses from news and social media monitoring. This team also helps in keeping speeches from top leaders updated and attuned to the mood in the country.
Nonetheless, the delay in announcement of candidates, constituency list is proving to be a challenge for the party strategists. Sushma Swaraj’s constituency Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh goes to poll on April 24. Clearly her focus would be on her own seat, so she would have to campaign in Madhya Pradesh till that time. She will be also campaigning in Punjab, Delhi and Haryana.
Similarly, if Modi contests from Varanasi that goes to poll on May 12, he will have to devote time and balance it with his campaign across the country. It may prove to be quite a task, not just for the leaders, but the campaign strategist as well. “The leaders who would keep getting free from their respective elections, they will be campaigning in other areas. As the election phases goes, the campaign would more leaders travelling around,” the leader said.
The party’s foot soldiers would be running their door-to-campaigns with street plays, kavi samellans, thrown in for good measure. BJP’s online campaign through the social media -Twitter and Facebook and phone-based applications has already carried the message to the grass roots.
We have prepared three street plays including Ghotalon ka Ghantaghar, Sinhhasan choro brashtachari, Aam Aadmi ki baari. “Over 60-70 such groups would be sent across the country to campaign for the party and highlight key issues. We would also run raths (customised vehicles) across the country. These raths would have multimedia screens and would broadcast Modi’s speeches. A 3D campaign will also be put to use in an extensive manner. In this 3D campaign, Modi’s prerecorded speech in the 3D format would be shown all over the country,” a senior leader said.
Another key feature in BJP’s campaign is booth management. The BJP has gathered 8.54 lakh booth in charges who would cover as many booth across various states in 453 seats. There are currently over 9.5 lakhs polling booths in the country. The booth in charges will be assisted by group of 10 volunteers, in which even one person has been made ‘page-in charge.’
This page-in charge would be responsible for contacting all the 30-40 voters listed on the electoral roll page.