The average Indian is known for his unswerving loyalty to cricket and religion. Politics is a matter of ideologies and in recent India, best not discussed openly for fear of losing friends and well wishers across religion and caste lines.
However, the one magic that did seem to work for the masses was “visibility.” As evidenced in BJP’s thumping Gujarat victory, poll strategists are mulling the necessity of a mascot, a face needed to garner votes. In his grand finale act, BJP’s top vote-catcher, PM Narendra Modi, undertook an unprecedented 30 km-long roadshow through Ahmedabad city, December 1.
All said and done, the campaign and road shows will remain a highlight of the season. Heavyweights Modi-Shah-Nadda and CMs of BJP-ruled states all came by to campaign for Bhupendra Patel.
Post poll analysis shows that while Modi untiringly held 28 rallies in Gujarat (according to pmindia.gov.in – external link), MHA Shah addressed as many as 36 rallies. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held 23 rallies.
However, rationalists argue Modi magic worked in Gujarat, even if it fell flat in Himachal. When it came to distant Himachal Pradesh, Modi held four election rallies while Yogi attended five, for the 68 Assembly seats.
In ways, the entire responsibility to win the state was on Himachal native Jagat Prakash Nadda, the BJP’s national president who held 20 rallies in his home state. However, ripped by dissidence, the BJP could win only 25 seats and lost power in HP. The only solace for Nadda is that the difference between the BJP and Congress was just 37,974 votes or 0.9% of the vote share. The Congress vote share was 43.9 percent (18,52,504 votes); the BJP won 43 percent (18,14,530 votes).
In a country like India which can do with more schools, primary healthcare centres, better roads and connectivity, one wonders if the money spent on roadshows and campaign rallies could have been better utilised in the previous five years. That done, the returns on the money would have assured never-ending loyalty from the votebanks.
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