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  • Writer's pictureAmit Shankar

Communication and Communicating: BJP’s Achilles heel 

Considering BJP’s ever-growing electoral success, from state elections to two consecutive thumping national mandates, the premise of this article is hard to digest. 

But then even the greatest of victory can bear the seed of an imminent defeat. 

With blurred fortunes of Congress, SP, and the BSP,  the feisty Mamata fighting an uphill task of keeping her voters together and not to forget the mediocre leadership of the southern part of India, BJP should have nipped campaigns like the CAA, Shaheen Bagh, and Delhi Riots. 

However, each one of these assumed mammoth proportions, and highlights BJP's lack of understanding around the two most crucial words in the 21st century; Communication and Communicating.

While ‘Communication’ is a broad-based plan, the strategy, unfurling of a well-knit narrative, the facts, arguments, and counter-arguments, delivering it is communicating. 

Let us start with the recent case of the Delhi Riots. 

Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi Police had no clue about the potent, one-sided, pro-Muslim narrative being mounted. The media flipped the story and made the perpetrators look like the victims. The panel discussions on Delhi Riots were ruled by well-prepared speakers from the Left-Congress cabal, who had a definitive agenda and storyline. On the other hand, the BJP line-up of the spokesperson was confused. What were they supposed to do? Blame, accuse, defend, play the victim, or stay neutral? They should have known that in today’s world staying neutral is akin to harakiri.  And the outcome? BJP has lost this debate, forever.

Somehow, it seems that the media cell of BJP assumes Republic and Zee TV to be the only TV news channel present in India. Fine, these two channels do command a considerable presence and TRP.  But then opinions are built on underground murmurs, ideas are sculpted using one-on-one meetings, not via senile TV debates and eloquent editorials.

Also, the media delivery and consumption pattern have undergone a catharsis. 

After being restricted to news channels, newspapers, and tabloids, now news has metamorphosed into a more dynamic, aggressive, and engaging form—digital news feed. These short bursts are delivered via numerous apps, independent portals, and blogs. Unlike the conventional mainline media, these 200 odd words concise pitch is the perfect tool for shaping and swaying opinions. 

Ain’t that a tall claim? 

Trust me, there is a science to it that finds its root deep in human psychology.  If you get exposed to any one-sided argument via 24x7 news feed on your mobile, websites you visit, blogs you read, social media handles you frequent, the narrative finds its way into your subconscious mind. With the seeding in place, your subconscious mind will multiply it with every new exposure to a similar sound or byte. Before you realize, from the subconscious, it will manifest into a powerful narrative, slipping into your conscious mind. 

No wonder, a large number of BJP supporters feel disillusioned as they can see the party turning into a Muslim appeasing outfit, a mirror image of Congress. That is the power of effective communication.

The success of Shaheen Bagh is a casing point of BJP’s communication failure. While its IT cell resorted to circulating memes, and crude stories around condoms, sex, and remuneration of the protestors, Left-Congress cabal mounted a structured narrative. Using blogs, Social Media, Overseas media, thought leaders, students, and activists they managed to turn a localized Shaheen Bagh protest into a Freedom Struggle movement. I know the idea is far-fetched but that is how it was presented and consumed. That is the power of communication. 

You could argue if BJP is so bad at communicating then how come they are sweeping every poll? 

The answer is simple: Relying on the oratory of the biggest communicator of our time, Mr. Narendra Modi. His forceful, well-articulated, and number-based arguments not only set the context but his oratory and integrity cuts across any narrative. He is one of the best communication strategists this world has ever seen. When congress was so sure of denting the BJP with the ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ campaign, Mr. Modi strategized an integrated campaign, delivering a cohesive rebuttal that cost Congress the 2019 general elections.

Between the theatrics of Sambit Patra and the eloquence of Sudhanshu Dwivedi, the factual arguments of Sudesh Verma to the aggressive Guarav Bhatia, BJP needs to cover a lot of ground. The medium has changed. From TV to Blogs, staccato is the style and brevity holds the key.  Of course, personal charm, mannerism, and body language are important tools. 

Sorry, memes and pro-Modi posts are cliches.

The youth of this nation is bored of bards. They need compelling arguments. It is also time for the BJP leadership to realize that a screaming Arnab or smiling Rohit Sardana cuts no ice with the millennials. 

So wake up BJP, and perfect the science of Communication blended with the art of Communicating.

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