Brand NaMo Can't Draw All Debut Voters, Feel Analysts - The New Indian Express

Brand NaMo Can't Draw All Debut Voters, Feel Analysts

Published: 23rd April 2014 08:02 AM

Last Updated: 23rd April 2014 08:25 AM

With just a day remaining for Tamil Nadu to go to the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP, which has cobbled together a rainbow alliance comprising three caste outfits and two regional parties, is hoping that debut voters could swing its electoral fortunes in the Dravidian State.

The party and its allies are banking on the Brand NaMo campaign that has taken the new media by storm to influence the young voters whose exposure to the rival Brand RaGa campaign has been inconsequential.

In fact, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi took special care to appeal to this constituency of first-time voters during his recent whirlwind campaign in western and southern Tamil Nadu. Modi specifically tried to sell the idea of a strong and resurgent India that would shape the destiny of those in the age group of 18-28 years.

While a section of debutant and neutral voters could be swayed by the NaMo factor, political observers feel that a “wholesale” vote transfer in favour of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from this segment of voters is unlikely.

Analysts also feel that the ‘Modi Wave’ promoted by the BJP and its alliance leaders like Vijayakant, Vaiko and Anbumani Ramadoss has not had the desired effect in Tamil Nadu. For, if there was indeed a Modi wave, the BJP leader would not have taken efforts to meet actors Rajinikanth and Vijay on poll eve.

“It can’t be ruled out that some first time voters may opt for the BJP going by media’s projection of Modi and the promotion undertaken by the party on social media. But this factor may not electorally benefit the party and its allies in Tamil Nadu,” says C Lakshmanan, Assistant Professor of Politics at the Madras Institute of Development Studies.

He cites two reasons to substantiate his reading of the situation. One, a section of youngsters who have access to Internet and are conscious of Brand NaMo may not be politically oriented enough to know the names of the party’s allies in Tamil Nadu. Second, even if they are aware of the allies they may not prefer to vote for small regional outfits.

“The BJP is contesting only in six of the 39 Parliamentary constituencies in the State,” he reminds, adding that, the influence of the new voters on the election would also depend on whether they go to exercise their franchise at all.

Social scientists also feel that in constituencies where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is in the fray, a minor section of the debutant voters could favour it, as the party has come to represent the neo middle class aspirants.

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