The humiliating defeat in Jharkhand was no surprise.
It was out there, waiting to happen. Sadly the leadership was either not aware or was helpless to find a solution to the mess.
Why is BJP losing state after state?
The most decisive government of recent times should have swept the country. From 70 percent coverage now they are restricted to 40. After losing the entire central India; MP, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, they are facing a peculiar problem; what to do next.
Shrinking footprint in states affects Rajya Sabha too. And that is one place they need the most to push their heavyweight reformist bills in the days to come. Who is the biggest enemy, the Goliath that BJP can’t slay?
This monster is called MISINFORMATION.
Since WW1, victory of the marching forces depended largely on the news on ground, the word around. Governments had Propaganda Departments to roll out newsreel, documentaries, newspaper write ups and hand-bills. Hitler used it effectively in managing the perception and ensuring victory for long.
BJP is challenged by the acute mis-information battle that is hurled by the opposition via various mediums; print, electronic, debates, speeches and of course the social media. I am sure that they know of it. However, I have not seen any affirmative action to take it head on.
Since 2014, they have been relying too much on 'Modi Magic.' Yes, he is one of the most powerful communicator of our times, but then he is not Communication per se. This divide has to be factored in. Why is the BJP not doing much to handle the mis-information?
The reasons could be manifold.
Lack of know-how
Lack of acceptance
Lack of professionals to manage it
Let me share my bit in the context of CAA and NRC.
The protests were rampant. Of course they were initiated by the opposition. If you look at the social media videos a large number of protesters were either mis informed or had no information on CAA and NRC. How could a large country like ours be unaware on such important bills?
Any communication that surfaces in the public eye has to pass three levels; Selective Perception, Retention and Distortion. It is the way we consume information. Let me show you how it works.
Ok, I don’t have kids. Therefore any hoarding or advertisement on Baby Food would not even be perceived by me. However, a young parent would be keen to watch it, consume it. Now this young parent who watches the communication won’t retain it in the form it gets delivered. Owing to Selective Distortion he will twist it to suit his present level of consciousness. Say, if the milk food is from Nestle and if the parent has been exposed to news and articles on Nestle being an unethical company he would distort the communication assuming the baby food not to be good as it is from an unethical company.
I am sure now you know how it works.
The communication around the CAA and NRC should have been unfolded using the age old AIDA Model. Creating Awareness, Interest, Action and Decision. It should have been pro-active rather than reactive. People should have been engaged, tutored and hired to disseminate information to counter the onslaught of mis-information.
BJP IT cell is too much in awe of the PM and keeps talking only of Vikas etc. I think they are not from the communication trade and therefore rely more on Slogans. Yes, slogans are important but right communication is critical.
We have to understands that wars are fought on social media, in the minds and hearts. And it takes some kind of roadmap, planning and vision to get the comm strategy right.
Tips for the BJP
Build a large network of individuals who anyways are fighting for BJP
Have a broad based Comm Roadmap before rolling out any initiative
Use Third Party endorsement; pic, videos, blogs
Seed the right message and promote it
Use Insta, Reddit, Quora and other platforms
Have extensive Wtsapp group on the lines of Booth Organisation
Bloggers from the west could do wonders
If we want to see BJP march ahead with its saffron flag, they have to get back to the drawing board. Remember, with a great communicator like Modi they can do magic.