It is the first time that a party other than Congress reached a vote share of 30% in Indian elections in the last 67 years. It’s the first time that a party has secured a majority after the 1984 elections (and the first time in the history that a party to secure majority is not Congress). It is the first time that the number of seats of the Congress Party has been reduced to 2 digits. It is the first time that BJP has won all 25 seats in Rajasthan and has also won a majority of seats in Uttar Pradesh diminishing the once-upon-a-time regional giants. There are so many firsts in these election results that it’s nearly impossible to list.
Even with all the firsts, the election results did not come as a surprise. The comprehensive marketing strategy followed by BJP and its flawless execution has been visible for months now and has helped them get out of their worst fear – coalition compulsions. BJP had hit the bullseye with its communication strategy of mission 272+.
BJP by emerging as a single largest party in these elections has put an end to the era of coalition politics. This also highlights the immense faith and belief of the 551 million people who exercised their right to vote. Amidst fire crackers, celebrations, live update coverage by various TV news channels what we missed was the fact that social media played such a crucial role in these elections. As a social media practitioner it not only makes me happy but also extremely hopeful.
In my previous blogs I had mentioned that the elections should be and will be seen as the victory of democracy. The 2014 elections recorded a voter turnout of 66.27% surpassing the previous highest turnout record of 64% in 1984. The sheer magnanimity of people’s sentiment towards national issues has made this election acquire a special and one of a kind place in history.
The Bhartiya Janata Party understood the medium and massaged the message so well that it almost dominated the social space. And, the result of the same is being flashed on our television screens since this morning! So let’s look at the top 3 things that BJP did right:
1. The integration of the core message of the party across social media platforms – starting from the ‘Ek Hi Vikalp’ to mission 272+.
2. The fundamental difference between the BJP and the other parties’ social media strategy is simply who they were targeting. While all other parties were focused on generating social media conversations with existing followers/believers/loyalists – people who were already associated with them and their ideologies; BJP took social media engagement to its true target.
• BJP believed that their loyalists are always with them and social needs to use the collective voice of these loyalists to influence others.
• Fence sitters – People who are sitting on the fence; set of people who have not decided which side to fight from and this block might work wonders (*for any party) if influenced at an early stage (People whose vote is available for a swing).
• First-time voters – these are the first time voters, aged 18-23. BJP was one of the only parties that was willing to educate them on politics and political situation and motivate them to come out and vote (and vote for BJP).
• Hitherto ignored communities – The housewives, the office-goers – communities that traditionally were believed to be politically inactive.
• The haters – these are the set of people who hated you in the past; they do so in the present and will continue doing so no matter what. BJP for this tried to rise beyond the usual caste and region based politics. Never before has someone tried to capture the imagination of all people across the country through a single individual.
3. The timing of “Ab Ki BaarModi Sarkar” and “Ache Din Aane Waale Hai” campaigns and the brilliant translation of the same online via memes, trolls etc. acted like the final nail in the coffin.
I sincerely hope that their mantra of ‘Shaasak Nahi Sevak’ gets implemented with social media as the fundamental element. This would help each of us exercise our rights of questioning the government if and when it falters.
Let’s hope that BJP delivers on every promise that it made and that it continues using the social media platforms as brilliantly as it did during the run up to the 2014 elections. 🙂