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May 2, 2015 / subramanyam

Decoding Modi’s Effect

“I won’t forget my conversation with Prime Minister Modi congratulating him on his victory. I picked up the phone and said, ‘It’s great to be talking to someone who just got more votes than any other politician anywhere in the universe’,” Those were the words of the British Prime Minister David Cameron.  He was speaking about the first telephonic call with Narendra Modi after the latter won the 2014 election.

Yes, in the 2014 election in India, Narendra Modi scored a big and decisive victory,  some thing the nation did not see sincenarendra-modi-the-election-original-imae439zmhasyz3r the 1984 election of Rajiv Gandhi.  For a curious political onlooker this is an interesting and extraordinary feat. How did he manage a victory of that size ? Given the fact that the electorate is extremely fragmented and the problems of one region are quite different from others how did he manage to connect across all the states ?  In a party based electoral system with “first past the post” being the order of the day how did he manage to run a presidential style campaign?  What was his strategy? Who were his backroom boys ? How did they work?  How did he manage to tour the entire nation so many times? How did he use the technology to his benefit? Many questions aren’t they?  For all reasons, the feat achieved by Modi in 2014 was an extraordinary one and it is something that many consider impossible.

Lance Price, British writer, journalist and political commentator, the man who worked as special adviser Tony Blair tries to answer all these questions in his book. “The Modi Effect: Inside Narendra Modi’s campaign to transform India”.  He got the exclusive access to study the campaign and interview Modi and other BJP leaders for this book.  He worked for a few months and came up with his analysis of the campaign.

Lance Price analyzes each aspect of Modi’s campaign. He starts with a peep into Modi’s personality, tells us that this man has no other interest than politics and governance  and shows  us as to how his entire day would go into only these activities.  Then he takes us to  2012, Modi has just won it for the third time in Gujarat. He has won the assembly election with a thumping majority and he was widely acknowledged as “The Best Chief Minister” of the nation.  Speculation started about a bigger role for him  and he too knew that he was in the race for the top job of the country.

We then get to see a few glimpses of the 2012 Gujarat campaign.  We get to see the way technology makes its presence felt. We also get to know how Modi started using Technology for his benefit. Then as to how a few people touted it as a semifinal for the bigger game to come.  Then we move to 2013 where Modi was named the P.M candidate by the BJP. From here on we get to know about the various teams that were formed, the members from each of these teams,how Modi managed them, the efficient use of technology,  the anti-corruption movement and the way it ended helping Modi,the way 3D Modis came into play,  the way the advertisements were designed, the pressure that was there on advertisement  designers (to come up with new ads) and the Election commission (to review them)  etc .


The Man of the Book with the Author

We also get to know about the blunders that were committed by the Congress party, we get to see as to why and how Modi chose not to speak about the Aam Admi Party and its leader.  We get to understand Modi’s silence  on a few things and we also get to know as to why he was not keen on giving interviews to English news channels.

This book gives us nice insights into the ways and means in which many organizations helped Modi. The RSS did everything to support him, but there were many organizations that supported the man with the mission.  This book speaks about Mission 272+, Niti Central, Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG) and many other organizations that directly or indirectly supported Modi’s Campaign.  The social media strategy gets a special mention. Modi’s teams used it in an optimal fashion in 2014 and Lance Price digs deep and gives us some interesting  insights into the way it was organized.  The Patna bomb blasts, the hiccups in the campaign trail and the way Modi handled it all also get the needed mention in the book.

Many would see me as a Modi bhakt and hence would consider that this review  a futile exercise that glorifies Modi, However, one ought to read this book for Lance Price himself says that he is a person with “Left Leanings” if he had a chance to vote , he would have never voted for Modi. That statement speaks volumes about the authenticity and in a way the neutral lens with which the campaign was analysed by the author.  Do read the book, you would learn a lot about the 2014 campaign of Narendra Modi.  You would know the story of a campaign that ensured that a non-congress party forms a full majority government on its own for the first time in the history of this nation.  Do read the book . Happy reading.

You can buy the book here.  I get nothing but happiness if you buy this 🙂

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