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Friday, May 22, 2009

Private mourning and public recriminations

A recurrent theme of the comments to earlier blogs is media exposure. Should BJP leaders expose themselves incessantly to a hostile media? Or, should they remain somewhat aloof like, say, Vajpayee and Modi?

I don't think there are any easy answers.

First, it is important to acknowledge that media is the foremost instrument available to any political party to communicate its views. A mass party like the BJP (I disagree with those who say it is a cadre-based party) must communicate to its workers, supporters and the general public. The media is the quickest and most cost-effective way this can be done. Of course, it is not the only tool of communication. But it is the most effective.

Secondly, reliance on the media comes at a price. It attaches a premium to those who are able to communicate effectively. It also creates a breed of political activists who view public life exclusively through the prism of media exposure.

The politics of Kapil Sibal, for example, consists of hopping from one press conference to another. Venkiah Naidu too has been criticised for the unfailing regularity of his press briefings at different places.

Finally, politicians often often forget that they are not obliged to say something just because a pesky reporter shoves a camera and microphone before you. The charm of seeing one's face on TV is so compelling that it overrides an individual's sense of discretion.

There are some individuals who are horrible on TV. K.R. Malkani was a great individual but he had zero TV presence. His tenure as BJP spokesman in the mid-1990s was an unmitigated disaster. But the few channels that existed then loved him precisely because he came across as comic. Till two years ago the channels also loved B.P. Singhal (brother of Ashok Singhal) because he corresponded to the stereotype of the fanatical and irascible BJP. And in the five years he was unleashed on people, Praveen Togadia lost the BJP the support of every moderate Hindu.

Unless judiciously handled, the media is a double-edged sword. It gives publicity but the smallest slip-up is wildly exaggerated. Media has no sense of compassion; it is merciless and it is mercenary.

Yet, the media cannot rejig the environment totally. In Gujarat, the media was implacably hostile to Narendra Modi during both 2002 and 2007 Assembly election. But it couldn't redefine an existing public mood.

Although media meant only the print media in the early-1990s, the hostility to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was quite fierce and almost unequivocal. This didn't breed any larger Hindu hostility to the movement. Would the results have been the same if a hostile print media was complemented by a fiercely hostile TV media?

I believe that the media matters up to a point. It helps nurture deep impressions that become very hard to shake off. In this election, the media was very successful in painting the BJP as a party of ugly Indians--the fanatics who beat up women, plant boms in Malegaon and deliver hate speeches.

This became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

However, let us keep one fact in mind. The media, by and large, was incredibly generous towards L.K. Advani. In the final days of the campaign, the "LK Advani Communication Office" sent out a well produced booklet reproducing all the interviews given by Advani during the campaign. It added to up quite a lot.

Activists are getting hassled about Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and others going public with their criticisms. I have some reservations and a few points of agreement with what they said. But that isn't the point.

The fact is that as long as the party delays a structured, free and frank post-mortem of the results, there will be a temptation to find other outlets. I admire the patience of those who have refrained from speaking out but this sense of discipline must not be over-stretched.

I am frankly disappointed that Advani hasn't uttered a word. He owes it to the party to share his analysis. Otherwise he face a lot of flak for staying on as LOP. The same is true for the party president.

Procrastination will encourage the media to fish in troubled waters.

The important thing is to learn from the defeat. But this can't happen unless the party grasps where and why it went wrong.


Venkatesh said...

Valid points Swapan Da,

I have stopped watching TV after the Elections so am surprised that Advani ji has not come out with at least a thanks to his voters and workers. This is the minimum he should have done.

I am not sure if it is necessary to do instant changes. A new party president has to be elected and so long as this is done democratically and the BJP elects a strong leader will be a good start. Some of the main reasons of the debacle as you mentioned earlier are easy to understand, but some of them are more complex. i think the issues need to be understoon better and action taken in the next 6 months.

I think that the BJP is a very strong party, if they get decisive leadership who work in an united way. any guy who goes to the media should be just fired. it should be run like a corporate and I am sure it will do well.

I think the key need is democraticize the entire party to make sure that from the grass roots to the party president there is open debate and discussion. The leaders have then clear powers and can be fired only by a committe of top BJP leaders by a 2/3 majority or some other scheme.

As regards the media, the BJP should avoid the media as these guys are rotten, it should 'buy' off one of the channels and invisibly make sure it is making its viewpoints clear.

Vineet said...

At this point BJP must ask/ introspect itself-
- What did it achieve in the last 20 years, yes 6 years of dreamrun for the nation but 14 years of hell.
- Congress was a centre right party when Rajiv was in power. Now we have a centre left Congress.
- BJP is a nation first party. I believe it should be a very constructive opposition, giving ideas
- and it should have limited contact with media, what with people like Sagarika Ghosh openly ridiculing Hinduism in chat...
- it should have more common sense. It helps in understanding what the person's "aukaat" is, which most of its present members don't have...

Balaji said...

In the US, politicians literally live on the TV screens. McCain announced his candidature on the Jay Leno show. Obama bough entire hours of prime time to air ads. And here people have a problem with TV. Bizarre.

Murthy said...

Swapan da,

Thanks for another insightful analysis on media.

I agree with you, Advaniji should say something. It is time. By tomorrow it will be a week. I have a question, in 2004 when BJP lost the election Venkiah Naidu was asked to step down as President of the party, why is that nobody is asking Rajnath Singh to step down nor is he volunteering?

Ajay said...

Som much is made of the media. But while Congress goes about bribing TV channels, BJP cannot even get a few friendly businesses to start their own media houses,

Get real Sir, BJP is leaving the entire field open to Congi dominated media

BJP_supporter said...

US is not India and India is not US. US does not have Azhagiri kind of electioneering also, does it? And in US I bet TV anchors will think very deeply before asking the kind of questions that the anchors in India so freely toss to BJP folks without a care or a damn.

How are people turned out to vote in India? what is the influence of vote marshals in this process? What are the kind of vote marshals we have - co-operative chief, money-spending politician, caste panchayats, feudal land-owning lords? I bet US does not have such vote marshals also.

Yes, Bizarre.

Jaideep said...

Although I agree with you that a free and frank discussion over what went wrong should take place within the BJP I dont see the need for Advani to share his analysis with the media and public and large at this point. An analysis of what went wrong would surely need a detailed analysis of vote shares, reasons for loss of votes, etc. At best I feel Advani should have come out and issued a statement congratulating the Congress party and promising that the BJP will perform the role of a responsible opposition. A slightly delayed but correct analysis is better than a quick but faulty one.

Tarun Malaviya said...

It seems to me that Perceptions has won over Substance. Very little of substantive issues were debated during the course of the election, both in the media and by the parties. All the fight was to create perceptions - good guys versus the bad guys, strong guys versus the weak guys and so on. In which it was perhaps the Congress which had the upper hand. Though, that might not be the sole reason for BJP's loss.

The BJP was never really in the running because of its near zero presence (with or without allies) in over 180 seats and marginal presence in another 100. Take the allies off in the rest of the seats and what we have is BJP effectively fighting about 200 seats -implying, that it would have needed a strike rate of over 80% to even reach 160 seas on its own. Now that was always very improbable.

You could say the Congress has been lucky the second time round with many things falling in its favour. But the geographical spread probably was the main reason.

That brings us back to where we started. It’s probably the inability to manage perceptions that has limited the geographical extend of the BJP’s influence to start with.

Know the verity said...

"However, let us keep one fact in mind. The media, by and large, was incredibly generous towards L.K. Advani. In the final days of the campaign, the "LK Advani Communication Office" sent out a well produced booklet reproducing all the interviews given by Advani during the campaign. It added to up quite a lot."
Dada u r very innocent. U know why media becomes "generous" towards LKA in the "final days" of the campaign ? B'coz of two reasons :

First, the were aware that damage has already been done. So they thought there is no point or need to continue demonize BJP campaign and taking the wrath of BJP and its "online supporters". Hence they become generous.

Second, the shock of 2004 NDA defeat must be in their mind when they all were rooting for BJP and its feel good factor and India shining campaign. So taking cue from their past experience -- when they all were rooting for BJP-NDA and caught off guard when results declared -- they would have thought why put all the eggs in one basket ? What if BJP comes to power ? These left-liberals r not morons like us right-wingers; they r very clever. So to come in the good book of Advani and to pacify the wrath of "online" BJP supporters they becomes generous to LKA. There is no other reason why they become generous to LKA we shouldn't read much in the clever tactics of the media.

One advice : There is no substitute of strong right-wing electronic and print media. And I don't agree with ur views regarding Singhal and Togadia. It's my firm believe that center-right policies of BJP r one of the reason behind this debacle. But we can't go back to Hindutva b'coz we have discredited it ourselves. To give Hindutva a second life we must first bring credibility in our actions and policies. Total overhaul of the party with the presence of strong right-wing media is the only way to resurrect this party again.

Arun Srinivasan said...

Swapanda: While i agree with you about the limited impact of media in the early 90's I am sure you will agree with me that TV then and now have changed quite dramatically and there is no mistaking the impact they have on people.

I am also very disappointed that there has been zero communication from the party on what they plan to do next. I hope for their sake and ours that they are actually introspecting and working.

hUmDiNgEr said...

Dear Swapan,

Pro'lly the best analysis so far on why BJP lost the elections

BJP lost itself on the way to Delhi. They are no more the party what it used to be.The party with a difference and the party for India has become a B team of CONgress.

Anonymous said...

"The important thing is to learn from the defeat. But this can't happen unless the party grasps where and why it went wrong."

We are doing this since our inception and mark my words, perhaps, we will do this again in 2014. Please don't take my views as the outcome pessimistic attitude I believe I'm a realistic mortal and I'm doing an honest analysis. FYI let me tell u I'm a right-winger not your ideological enemy. I think BJP and RSS have lived beyond purpose thanks to people of India especially Hindus. Its time to make new intellectual but radically pro-Hindu party.

vikas said...

The media is biased.
It has put words in your mouth.

Tomorrow if a TV achor will ask you -

Have you stopped beating your wife?

By the time you think about the question & fumble,she will reply on your behalf!

Anonymous said...


You are right - real issues were not debated. I attribute this blame partly to media. They used a new technique this time:
When we talked price rise, job losses etc. - they shouted "Don't politicize economy"
When we talked Terrorism - they shouted "Don't politicize security"

Also perceptions can't be changed so easily. I was witness to Sangliana's campaign in Bangalore. I understood that BJP won't get votes from minorities ever and this situation is only going to worsen.

Anonymous said...

My sincere advice is for bigger states like AP,UP,WestBengal. To have a winning strategy for these will be to look at them from micro level. I mean that there are regions where some or the other leader is towering figure. Like Eastern UP Yogi Adityanath,In Bundelkhan Uma Bharti,Pilibhi side Menka etc so these leaders along with others should be given chage to charge up the party and caders.
On RSS, Lets not forget their main aim is to server India like any one.If BJP is their creation they will have say, what is wrong in that. BJP owes a lot to them . In 1990s BJP shot up because of them. Then it was for BJP to grow which they did not do to expand in other parts of India sadly.

ghatotkacha said...

Swapan da ... I think BJP has a very good issue at hand to gain back some support from the media ... Check this out ...
BJP needs to be front and center of a campaign to stop this kind of laws from getting passed ...

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your soft corner for media. But how do you deal with a bunch of people who have no principles at all. just look at the treatment meted out to BJP, and compare it to the red carpet treatment given to Pervez Musharraf during Agra summit. You would know better. In no other democracy is such shabby treatment given by the media to the principal opposition party of the country, except perhaps in the failed states that we scoff at. These guys can only bunch up against their fellow law abiding brethren. Or look at how during 26/11 the poor reporters, cameramen and support staff were sent to the line of fire without any safety from bullets or splinters flying all over “For A Few TRPs More”. Just ask them to give a lecture or verdict on ethics.

Puneet said...

>> In Gujarat, the media was implacably hostile to Narendra Modi during both 2002 and 2007 Assembly election. But it couldn't redefine an existing public mood.

I think it definitely did. It may not have changed the public mood in Gujarat, but it has certainly created a negative image of Modi/BJP , in the rest of the country. Most people (mostly young, educated and impressionable) have formed an opinion on Gujarat, not from the ground realities, but from what has been telecasted into their drawing rooms. And it is this unrelenting propaganda, that must be countered.

In this election, the media trivialized the important issues and blew out of proportion, the peripheral ones, and the result is for all to see.

zoomindianmedia said...


BJP's media strategy is ad hoc and arbitrary. Clear strategy has to be firmed up. Certain aspects should be clear based on professional analysis.

Rogue Media's corrupt behavior has no parallel. Did we not see the red devil prannoy roy use the expression "advani humiliated by modi" multiple times. And Congress never ever was put in the dock for its hate politics in Mumbai - Raj Thakeray, MNS beating up North Indians. It should have been unrelenting attacks. Money trail in Indian media will tell a thousand tales.

BJP has to set up a institutionalised system that will cover:

-Who will talk to which medium

-How to manage the consistency of message

-Operationalise professional media house with committed sympathies to pro BJP position in English, Regional Languages. (India’s answer to Fox?). It is remarkable that when J Jayalalithaa has a dedicated channel (Jaya TV), HD Kumaraswamy has dedicated channel (Kasthuri), Muthuvelu karunanithi has two dedicated channels (KTV, Sun TV), BJP has at best a pathetic Organiser, Panchajanya mouthing its position.

-Collaborate with media houses that may harbor sympathies to pro nationalist position. ETV(?)
-Leveraging FM talk show to undermine MSM (corrupt Main Stream Media). Why not generate Indian versions of Mike Savage, Rush Limbaugh. -

-And create a Professional Media Watch Section that exposes and propogates, double standards, lies and deceit that is churned out day in and day out by corrupt media – communist channels like NDTV (Deceit) 24/7, CNN IBN (Lies) Live, both in English, regional languages.

-How to segment target audience demographics and which message will appeal to who.
It must be forcefully and repeatedly over a period of time get communicated through performance that BJP/Hindutva stand for harmony, development progress. (as we know congress I (islami-isai) since 1947 have sought to paint native Indian beliefs as backward and poverty oriented. As we have seen in Hindu Gujarat, Hindutva economics create progress and development. Communist/xian/islamic economics cause poverty, illiteracy, totalitarianism. Over a period of time, this will bring in ellectoral dividend for the BJP.

Without institutionalised systems BJP has little hope for success.

For further analysis on elections 2009, I request interested reader to visit

PS: There is news emerging that congress/dmk at least in dicey TN seats bribed opposition functionaries to go slow on booth management.

Siva said...

Sorry for going off topic, but I really couldn't hold it back.

If MMS degraded the office of the PM for the last 5 years by being subservient to Sonia, he is now bein blatantly and publicly subservient to Rahul Gandhi. Over the last 5 years, he atleast publically was not bootlicking Sonia. But now he announces that he desperately wants Rahul in the cabinet, has been trying to get him in the cabinet, and then regrets publically that Rahul refused to join the cabinet. I feel sickened by the degradation of the office of the PM.

All around the world, it is considered a priviledge to be asked to join the cabinet. Most people would die for the opportunity to join the cabinet, even those truly intent on serving the people. And if offered a cabinet berth, it is an insult to the nation if you don't take it up.

Look at what Rahul has done. He has publicly refused a very beseeching offer from the PM. In any other part of the world, it would be interpreted as a public snub to a PM who has just won an overwhelming vote of confidence from the people of the country. In our country....CNNIBN is spinning it as Renounciation Number 3 and calling it a feather in the cap of the Gandhi Family.

If the PM were to ask any of us to serve the country, we wouldn't even think twice, we would jump at it. Ofcourse, mere mortals like us are unlikely to be asked to join the cabinet. But the arrogance of a complete neophyte like Rahul Gandhi and his babalog friends...really gets on my nerves.

Will Rahul Gandhi publicly renounce the PM post, and declare that he will never take it up? Everyone knows that the path to the PMs chair is almost too easy for him..Prithviraj Chavan has said that he can take the PMs post whenever he wants it and I'm sure MMS would agree. But the kind of disregard that the Gandhi family has for the establised constitutional norms in India, their completely taking the people of the country for granted really makes my blood boil.

Your thoughts? Frankly I was expecting a post from you on the PM begging Rahul to join the cabinet and Rahul snubbing him.

Nikhil said...

Why on earth is Advani so quiet for so long? Almost everyone has forgotten the election and moved on, sadly, it is time for him to do so as well. How can he possibly be an effective LOP if he refuses to come out in public and start talking about the future direction the country should take.

Secondly, why on earth is he LOP? The whole point of the LOP is Prime Minister in waiting. Sadly, Advaniji is never going to be PM. The party should have accepted his taking the blame for the defeat, it helps us move on. We need new leadership especially in Parliament to take on the Congress. We need to revamp our organization, our party etc and we can't do that with Advaniji at the helm. I am a great supporter of Advaniji and feel very sad to say this, but it is time the person who founded the BJP stepped out of the spotlight and went into retirement.

We pride ourselves in being probably the only truly democratic party in the country apart from the Left.All other parties in the country, big and small are single leader or single family parties. The problem is that we still don't have a democratic system within the party to elect the next leader. This is why you have infighting within the second rung, and hence we just postpone the trouble of electing new leaders by another 6 months.

So we are democratic in the sense that leadership is not in the genes and the truly talented and truly dedicated will rise to the top. But we havent set out the norms for a free and fair decision as to who will ascend to the top of the leadership ladder. So this lets the media have a field day about infighting within the BJP compared to unanimous agreement within the COngress as to who the future leader will be (Rahul), and this makes the Congress a better organized party !!

The biggest mistake the BJP made in 2004 was taking 2 years to come to terms with the defeat. The party should be ready and raring to go to take on the govt before the first parliament session. Nothing can energize the party supporters than that. The longer we have Advani at the helm, we just cannot move past this election defeat.

Anonymous said...

Speaking strictly about the media, I believe what has changed during this election cycle is that the media - both print and television - did not criticise, and in fact fawned over the government. This is different from earlier times when the media would not spare the ruling party over even simple matters. The classic example of such media behavior was the move to blame "all politicians" after 26/11 when the government should have been taken to task instead.

It will be interesting to see the demographics that voted for the Congress this time. My guess is that the media soundbites caused a number of first time voters to vote for Congress as they were independents, up for grabs and as such were the primary target of the Congress media campaign.

Anonymous said...

LKA needs to stop sulking, and do an exclusive interview with The Hindu or some such serious publication analyzing what went wrong, as well as perhaps make a few veiled murmurs about what he thinks about the future leadership of the party. And if he is up to it maybe a full length interview with Barkha.

I think he should now focus on the little time he has left to sort of preserve/ articulate his legacy regardless of not becoming PM, and then sign off with a smile. said...

Swapan Dasgupta's blog, Usual Suspects, carried a lot of comments on the BJP setback. Included were a number of links to media writings where the reinvention of the BJP was discussed in some form of the other. I have collected these links and put them together.

Anonymous said...

Swapanji, formation of a shadow cabinet would be helpful for the BJP's image in the media. However a shadow cabinet should be formed after 4-5 months, after the appointment of a new Leader of Opposition. Formation of a new shadow cabinet will atleast increase the respectibility of the party among the middle classes. People like Mr Yashwant Sinha could be the shadow finance minister.- Varoon

Mehul J. Rajput said...

I agree media is biased, but lot of them are now trying to bring sanctity in the way they report news. To an extent media matters but after that media cannot influence.

I would recommend BJP follows some kind of primaries system like in US. All the members who are going to contest the election would be selected by the people. So, by seeing the vote count there could be a judge of who can lead them.

IF not for all the members, as selecting candidates for the each seat may be onerous task. In that case, the PM candidate if done by primaries or whatever name we want to call it. This will give a sense of feeling that people are involved in democratic party rather than dyansty politics.

Also, only talk about the manifesto. Whoever is spoke person on any channel or party rally should be able to tell which page what BJP is going to do when elected to power. Clear thoughts and clear articulation would bring back BJP to power. No need for personal attacks or failure of govt (may be subtle but not frontal). Main focus should what WE would do.

Get some inspiration from the zoozo of vodaphone, no celebs nothing just pure simple messages. Make some for bjp too and start putting them on TV now and slowly build the ground work towards the future 2014. Start involving more people, Friends of BJP is good, let this movement gather more storm and more people join it...

Karan said...

Hey Swapanda,
Amazing post. Point taken , that media is not the only tool for communication and it also attaches premium to people who are comfortable addressing the media. For Gujarat riots, I would disagree with you. people of Gujarat voted for Narendra Modi, because they more or less knew the facts. But people of other regions still believe that, Narendra Modi is a modern day Nero. BJP might have won Gujarat inspite of media hostility, but they have lost the other places, because people believed what Media told them. A younger person, who does not bother to dig a little deeper, would just take whatever the media shows on the face value. Today's media does not show how RSS are the first people to reach any calamity and provide relief work.(Take Bhuj after earthquake for eg). Media does not show the development that Narendra Modi has brought into Gujarat. That is the primary reason for BJP loosing it's urban votes. and yes, it is surprising that LK Advani has not even come out and given the dissection of the reasons why BJP lost. I agree with you on this.

I, Me, Myself ! said...

Swapan da,

I have an interesting comparision to make. I am from AP, and have keenly followed both the national and local media channels. There has been a marked difference in the manner with which both these media went about with their news.

Local Media:

Perharps after TN, it is only in AP that the some media channels are so biased. However, even the most biased channels concentrated not just on trivial issues but also on issues that mattered to people. These channels had correspondents in every constituency, they conducted debates amongst the candidates, reported issues that mattered to constituents, spoke of development, and reported the speeches of leaders in almost their entirety.

People watching these channels knew what the manifestos of parties were, what various parties thought about it etc. Ofcourse, there was a highly vitriolic personality campaign too, but then all issues were highlighted quite frequently.

National Media:

Contrast this to the national media. Only the most trivial issues were highlighted with utmost importance. It beat me several times that the more important parts of speeches of many leaders were not even mentioned about. I think the national media assisted a lot in increasing the urban voter apathy towards the political system. I had a chat with Prannoy Roy and even he agreed the media needs to concentrate on real issues!!! Such is the sad state of the national media.

Print Media:

Maybe they have the advantage of time, but their in depth coverage was also very good. AP has a very biased media, but when they level allegations and counter allegations, it is interesting to read them because there is a lot of content in it. Sadly, the english electronic media does not intend to have such discussions at regular intervals.

It's been a long response :-) Will try to keep it short from next time !

I, Me, Myself ! said...

Swapan da,

I have an interesting comparision to make. I am from AP, and have keenly followed both the national and local media channels. There has been a marked difference in the manner with which both these media went about with their news.

Local Media:

Perharps after TN, it is only in AP that the some media channels are so biased. However, even the most biased channels concentrated not just on trivial issues but also on issues that mattered to people. These channels had correspondents in every constituency, they conducted debates amongst the candidates, reported issues that mattered to constituents, spoke of development, and reported the speeches of leaders in almost their entirety.

People watching these channels knew what the manifestos of parties were, what various parties thought about it etc. Ofcourse, there was a highly vitriolic personality campaign too, but then all issues were highlighted quite frequently.

National Media:

Contrast this to the national media. Only the most trivial issues were highlighted with utmost importance. It beat me several times that the more important parts of speeches of many leaders were not even mentioned about. I think the national media assisted a lot in increasing the urban voter apathy towards the political system. I had a chat with Prannoy Roy and even he agreed the media needs to concentrate on real issues!!! Such is the sad state of the national media.

Print Media:

Maybe they have the advantage of time, but their in depth coverage was also very good. AP has a very biased media, but when they level allegations and counter allegations, it is interesting to read them because there is a lot of content in it. Sadly, the english electronic media does not intend to have such discussions at regular intervals.

It's been a long response :-) Will try to keep it short from next time !

Balaji said...

If the majority of MLA's in Uttarkhand want Khanduri to continue, then he should, no? Which can't the BJP have a secret ballot and settle this issue. Can't we learn anything at all from our worst drubbing in 20 years?

Kanchan Gupta said...

Surely you aren't being serious about the booklet containing LKA's interviews! On a more serious note, I think this tendency to blame everybody else -- for instance the Delhi BJP blames the BSP -- except yourself and your disastrous campaign will do the party no good. Forget media and its biases. Why not focus on who appears on media and what he/she says? And we all know that BJP spokespersons/leaders, barring a couple of honourable exceptions, cut a sorry figure on TV and come across as frightfully silly in print. Most land up in studios without doing any homework. Everybody wants to comment on everything. So we hear/read a lot of rot on economics, security, foreign policy and rural employment which amounts to no more than gibberish. Two examples: I believe the BJP's stand on the nuclear deal was right. But I also believe that the BJP miserably failed to articulate why it was opposed to the deal -- which are essentially technical reasons with security/political implications. That's because BJP chaps who spoke on the deal didn't know the front end of the deal from its rear end. The spokesman who is seen the most on TV with his face frozen in a permanent silly smile made a laughing stock of himself in show after show -- he didn't know the difference between a nuclear power plant and a nuclear enrichment facility; he had no clue about our ongoing nuclear programme; he thought bombs were about shoving shells with 'uranium' (this one's for Ripley's!) and was totally ignorant of details like full fuel cycle. You could argue that the spokesman is not supposed to know of all this. But then tell the spokesman to stay away from studious and media. Second example: The BJP looked pathetic the day it quoted Wikipedia on the Swiss money issue. If that's the level of the party's research and quality of information, it deserves every bit of what it got.
Off the topic: A young colleague at my office told me something which should explain why 'young India' didn't vote BJP (Swapan says somewhere that the youth were once the party's 'natural constituency') -- "How can you expect me to connect with somebody who was 24 years old when my father was born?"
Your really don't need to look for reasons why the BJP failed, do you? What you need to do is gracefully accept defeat and let others take over. Anything less is a pitifully inadequate response.

M. Patil said...

Media is a necessity in this era. So BJP must learn to manage media. All and sundry should not be allowed to make a fool of themselves and their party.

However, do not underestimate the power of the visual media. Reading is an intellectual exercise but not watching TV. TV is an emotional medium as Neil Postman noted. Hence it can be used as a powerful agenda setting instrument.

Several studies conducted in the US show the pervasive influence of the media on the viewers. Here is a seminal study by Iyengar and Kinder on the influence of the TV media.

A study on the priming effects of the political news coverage on an audience was done by Iyengar and Kinder. These authors conducted a series of experiments on a control group of people and certain media primes were emphasized over others. The effect of these experimentally induced variables on the audience opinion of the Presidents overall performance was tested. This experiment was conducted twenty four hours after the audience viewed the primes. The results of these experiments reveal consistent support for priming. These experiments show that when the television news “increases its coverage of a particular problem, viewers weigh their ratings of the presidents performance on that problem more heavily” than they would have done otherwise.

So, without any counter balance, visual media managed to convince enough people that "all politicans" are responsible for Mumbai attack but ugly Hindus are responsible for attacking girls and Malegoan, without any evidence.


n said...

ghatokacha.english media is an enemy of the bjp
because of ist connections to christian and muslim funding worldwide and also muslim and christain mkts.ndtv has arabia and pakistan and the gujarat riots industry made many of these guys rich including teesta.I am amazed athe naivete of some that they dont dig deep into the christian-muslim- congress -media gang who are all on the same team against hindus and bjp.They have the money muscle from worldwide and it were these intersets that denied modi a visa by lobbying hard with bush.

media took advantage of nda liberal policy in nda rule only to use it against the dhotiwallas shamelessly.remember kandahar orchestrated family pressue unlike 26-11 where they were blaming all polticinas and dragged lipstick naqvi in too,gujarat riots that almost swayed vajpayee to make modi resign and tehelka tapes when the congress has looted india for 60 yrs with highest swisss deposits.
Hindus and bjp are too weak and india continues to be a dhimmi land of slaves ruled by proxy by christians and muslims due to these jaichnads.

Anonymous said...

Dear sir,

I am a die-hard BJP supporter have voted for them in each and every election ever since I turned 18 half a decade back, just like many I am trying to come to grips with the results.......Its disheartining to see how a nationalist party can manage a defeat......everytime and the congis can win back to back after doig nothing....I mean what has been the contribution of last govt.??? "ZILCH" they just dole out money i the end, waive loans, implement qoutas........thats it.....I think Indians are like this only.....they coulnt hear the million bombs that blasted every other week in the last 4 years.......when even 26/11 couldnt wake mumbiakars......that just explains what kind of deep slumber we are in, the "Q" escaped so easily when SIbal was sending out "forged" docs I can go on but whats the point.......sir coming to the BJPs plan to "rise from the ashes"....I have a few questios and pointers in no partucular order....just ramblings of a true natioalist who is hurt to see the Mainos and Ghandys........mock Indian system and I am honstly ashmed of my countymen..........they are just hopeless.....

1) When BJP was i power why did we not nail Mainos?????? and Qouttrachi?????? if we go by the document published by Dr Subramanium swamy there were atlest 20 points where law could have taken its course????????? why did BJP fail???

2)BJP rose due to its Hindu agenda to start with but honestly what have they done???????? nothig at all its amazig how bjP gets bashed by so called intellectuals and media and pseudos about being a hardline hindu party (and whats wrong with being that ??)but the irony is they have done NOTHING.....where was BJP when SOnia/ AMbika were filing cases against the existence of lord Rama???? where was BJP when that KAruanidhi blurtig out crap against our lord RAMA??? nowhere.......forget Ram mandir I wil not go there... and it was BJP that increased the budget for HAJ manyfolds..........we dot expect anything from SOnia except CROSSES on ur currency and churches all over Kerela, AP,TN, Orissa etc but what did BJP do????/ the last I heard the so-called fascist Modi was demolishig MANDIRS in gujrat .........

3) Most of the hostile media houses NDTV, Cnn ibn et all whih are ow funded by evangelial societys and other dubious countries .....they were all allowed to have a raised stake by outsiders courtsey BJP...............and its a shame that you couldnt win some friends over even when you had power..........whie they act literally like congress mouthpeices discussing Rahuls dimple and Priyankas nose and her attire (disgustig)

post Advaniji, I just hope who ever becomes the leader is atleast ruthless cause I think BJP top brass is not contended with enough adversaries it has in pseudo-secularists, JNU types, media and a "NUMB TO PAIN" and "MADE IN FOREIGN LOVING" Indian voters......that every now and then we hear ego clashes and in house fire fighting???? I hope the party head (whoever he/she will be)Please just throw out anybody and everybody who has a bigger ego and cant see beyond there petty interest....please remeber BJP is the last hope India and Hindus will ever have ....

Sorry If I was too loud but I think we just cant afford to be soft anymore....not with the kind of voters we have in this country wh love othing more than actig like sychophats to dynasty rule it does not matter that we have to import it.....

Jai Hind

Anonymous said...

Has anybody given a serious thought as to like the Left, BJP did a huge mistake by opposing the nuclear deal. In my mind the deal showed 2 things--

1. Manmohan had the ability to convince his party to follow his convictions (after which the weak PM campaign gained no traction).

2. BJP in particular was shown as an opportunistic party. The deal was first negotiated by the NDA government, and its stand on the deal sounded phony.

I think that the opposition to the deal cost BJP lot of middle-class votes while gaining none.

Sundararaman said...

The Kandhuri reprieve as reported in the 'pioneer' today is indicative of the mood of the rank and file of BJP and its supporters. The same applies to MOdi. If a vote is taken nobody is going to fix the responsibility for the defeat on Modi but it is the failure of ideas and the inability to capture the mood of the nation by its central leadership.

Anonymous said...

BTW, It will be interesting to see reaction of Media and public when Rahul Gandhi brings an Spanish as his wife.

Is Gandhi family getting transformed into a Western family ? Will that indirectly imply India's control slipping away from Deshis ?

Anonymous said...

About Malkani..interestingly it was during Malkani's disasterous tenure of 1990s that the BJP was gaining ground that it is fast losing today. What is it that made BJP attractive to middle-class and the youth in the 1990s and not so today. Comical appearances apart i think it is a clean and calm image that goes a long way in creating an impression on the middle-class.

Dhananjay said...

My Analysis of why BJP Lost & how it can move forward:

1. It is not the “reality as party leaders and sympathizers see” that matters. It is the “reality as perceived by the common man” that matters. Common man sees these media channels abusing BJP day in & day out. An average 18-35 year old who has been watching TV news channels in the last 10 years has been barely exposed to any positive aspects of BJP but a lot of negatives (accusations) about BJP. Common man thinks that if ALL channels are saying these bad things about BJP, they must be true. So, not having BJP’s own media outlets and those sympathetic to it (English & Hindi – Print & TV) is simply NOT an option going forward.

2. If BJP has enough resources to conduct it's own nationwide exit polls, it certainly should have better analyzed issues that would click with voters through extensive market research. Case at point is BJP's focus on Manmohan Singh being the weakest PM ever. Whether or not this is true, BJP should have verified whether this criticism was going to bring it more votes or whether it would be perceived by the electorate as an unfair attack on a man they believed to be decent and honest. Unfortunately, common man did not care that he indeed had diminished the status of the PM's office. So, talking about it incessantly not only didn't bring in more votes ofr BJP but offended a big chunk of Aam Admi.

3. Congress had a variety of advertisements far exceeding # of ads by BJP and they were better received by audiences. Whether or not they were truthful or part propaganda is irrelevant. The fact is people bought in to them more so than in to BJP's ads. It will also be worth analysing # of times Congress Ads were broadcast relative to BJP ads and whether the Congress Ad budget was out of compliance with Election Commission regulations.

4. As part of BJP’s introspection, it should invite MJ Akbar, NK Singh, Mark Tully, Lord Meghanand Desai and other independent outsiders from all walks of life (who neither have hatred toward BJP nor are BJP fans) to get their perspective on BJP’s weaknesses and suggestions for turn around strategy. It is in BJP’s self interest to get constructive criticism from such outsiders. I did not mention the likes of yourself and Tarun Vijay due to your known proximity to BJP. But your feedback & analysis is equally valuable. Even inviting media anchors for an exchange of views will go a long way in reestablishing BJP's credibility in the eyes of media as well as Aam Admi.

5. BJP needs to get rid of “Communal” stigma from the minds of average voter – be it by completely distancing itself from any kind of violent acts, taking everyone making malicious allegations to court, coming out w/ it’s own media outlets etc.

Dhananjay said...

My Analysis of why BJP Lost & how it can move forward: (Part 2)

6. Most importantly, it is a collective responsibility toward the debacle and hence it is crucial that BJP NOT begin infighting but recover quickly and work on a long-term rebound plan. For the same reasons, it is crucial that BJP not accept Advani’s offer to quit for at least another 6-12 months so that it does not appear as a finger pointing / scapegoating exercise. That would be futile. For the same reason, Rajnath Singh should not quit before his term ends. Both should ensure a smooth transition to a new and younger leadership.

7. Since BJP Presidents can continue in their position for 1 term of 3 years, BJP needs to reverse engineer its succession plans with 2014 elections in mind. After all, mid-term elections before 2014 seem highly unlikely. A mass leader should be heading the PARTY at that time and not some back room boys. Sushama Swaraj should be a good counter to Sonia Gandhi at the helm of BJP then. In the mean time, another articulate mass leader, preferably in his / her 50s or 60s should take over from Rajnathi Singh by year end and bring discipline and focus to the party followed by Sushama Swaraj as president of BJP at the end of 2012. In the mean time, she can serve as LOP. This would help her establish her credentials well before the 2014 elections.

8. Development is only one aspect of votes. When Nitish gets more sweeping results in Bihar(80% of seats) with much stronger opponent in Lallu than Modi does in Gujarat (60% of seats), the “perception of all inclusive growth” seems to matter at least as much if not more than actual development.

9. As much as I admire Narendra Modi for his development agenda, given the kind of impotent & ignorant Aam Admi that BJP needs to pander to (I have to respect the decision of Aam Admi but do not have to agree with him) and given the current lack of Pro-BJP & Pro-Hindutva media, Narendra Modi needs to go well beyond Development and incessantly TALK and deliver on Samarasata (peaceful & all inclusive growth) before he can emerge as a national level leader for BJP. Otherwise, forget about NDA accepting him as it's PM candidate even if he gets a clean sheet from the Nanavati commission. It may even become imperative for BJP to project Arun Jaitley or CM from another BJP ruled state (karnataka or MP) as it's PM candidate in 2014. BJP needs to make that decision at least 2 years before the next Lok Sbha elections. Remember that BJP's PM Candidate will be fighting the 2014 elections against Rahul Gandhi as Congress / UPA's PM candidate.

10. BJP should specifically target & promote youth at ALL levels within the party in the next 2-3 years. 1/3rd of party positions being occupied by age groups of 25-40, 40-55 and 55-70 each and at least 1/4 to 1/3rd of party positions held by women would be a perfect mix of youth, gender and experience. Those above 70 should play a purely advisory role.

Swarup said...

Hi Swapanda,

I feel the defeat of BJP in two successive Lok Sabha election points to a larger cause. I think Congress ran the system as a grand patronage network in which the bureaucrats, industrialists were integral part. The reason why people voted for BJP in 1998 & 1999 was that they sincerely expected BJP to dismantle this network and bring about an atmosphere of liberty and merit. But instead of honouring its mandate it soon joined the system and become an imitation of Congress. Whereas the top echelon of BJP is by and large honourable the same can not be said of its junior level leaders. So when the choice was between the original and the pretender people chose the original.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the BJP spokespeople dealing with the media forgot the most important thing - the hard work is always goes in the preparation for the event. The party should follow a simple rule - anyone who is unable to answer a question in a media event should no longer deal with the media. Such a person may be useful for other activites, but if you cannot invest in preparation before a media event or alternatively think on your feet, you have no business being involved in a PR event.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote about media and public reaction to Rahul Gandhi marrying a foreigner.

Indian people will be overjoyed that they have a european woman as queen of the country and the sales of fair and lovely queen would go up tenfold.

They will also pass a referendum to convert India into a monarchy and Rahul will rule India for a really long time and people of India will live happily ever after.

Sorry for being sarcastic but the elction results have made me cynical.

Anonymous said...

According to Kanchan Gupta's blog, Rajnath Singh has not institued any inquiry into this performance.

This Rajnath Singh is the source of the problems. The sooner he is shown the door the better it is.

Yashwant Sinha made some good points but does he have to air his views in public. Does this mean that BJP is not having any discussion on this within the party? If that is true, they will get 60 seats in the next election.

Anonymous said...

Swapanda, what do you think of the news item in TOI "As Advani looked around for a seat in the packed hall, it was Sharad Pawar who ensured the BJP stalwart got a chair". I think from next time Advaniji should carry his own chair.

Anonymous said...

Swapan Da...
How tough/Easy its for a youth to enter the politics who has no family background,royal background,
Why every one is going ga-ga over youths today?
More over i am in chennai for quite some time. I have got this feeling that here BJP is perceived as party of Brahmin's. why does it not take some corrective and aggresive stand.
Like on the fisherman's plight it should have been the party to take the issue, etc?

Anonymous said...

All this analysis is probably meaningless. The bottomline is that Advani was probably not acceptable to most people. Nobody in the BJP wants to talk about it but that seems to be case. BJP itself made it a presidential election kind of thing with Advani vs Manmohan. People of India felt more comfortable with Manmohan.

Apparently ministers in MP state govt were saying this behind closed doors.

If that is the case, it is not all that bad for BJP. They have to project someone like Vajpayee who is acceptable. Modi definitely cannot be the PM candidate.

I think Shivraj Singh Chauhan needs to be projected as a senior leader of the party. He has single handedly made it possible for BJP to win MP. He is a mass leader, he is unassuming, clean and moderate.

The only thing against him is that he probably does not have enough appeal outside of MP. But that is something BJP can work on starting now and give him more exposure.

Anonymous said...

Advani's age also probably did not go down well with voters. 81 years is sort of too old to be PM.

Anonymous said...

I think BJP must deliberately ask some of its important leaders to start regional outfits in their respective states and these regional outfits should remain outside the Sangh ideology as pure regional outfits and champion the cause of State pride. For example regional outfits may click in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and AP where BJP on its own is very weak. The regional outfits may attract people from all castes and religion unlike the BJP, which people in some states still see as a Hindu Nationalist Party. Tie-ups with BJP will give these Parties State level party status immediately as BJP has more than 4% committed vote share in these states. So, BJP must defeat the MNS technique of the Congress Party which played spoilsport for NDA in Maharashtra.

Oldtimer said...


Sure, media is "ruthless" and "merciless" .. to the BJP. But how come the same media is purring like a kitten in the lap of the first family, and dancing to the tune of the Congress party, generally speaking? On the idiot box I watched fully grown men and women, white hair and all, moist their eyes with feeling and choke their voices with emotion on the subject of Priyanka Vadra. There is nary a bit of self-consciousness or embarassment in this maudlin show they put on .. put on.. for what? Whatever it is, why can't BJP promise the same and even more of it, so that a complete reversal of sorts occurs and the pundits begin being ruthless and merciless -- to the Congress?

I do know that Congress has been in the game for far longer than the BJP and so knows how to use the carrot and stick effectively to have the media eat out of its hands, but then the Congress has been in the game for far longer in many respects. If the BJP can't catch up, does it have any hopes of turning the tables?

j k said...

In my view BJP went wrong since 2004, after losing the election it should have acted as a formidable opposition, it should have raised doubts and questions in all the schemes, how it is running and everything, it should have asked questions on behalf of the people, who support them(corruption charges of A.Raja and T R Baalu should have been severely dealt with) they failed to do so, they behaved in the most etiquette way, when they should have been fierce. Hope this time, as a formidable opposition BJP questions all the schemes, makes sure that they are rightly implemented and make sure that the failures of the government is taken to the people without any procrastination. It still amazes me how congress won even after few dozen terrorist strikes in the country just a few months before election, i m at lose to understand why people blindly follow congress.

Wanderer said...

Hi Swapan da,

Can anyone ask Tarun Vijay to shut up? He is going around espousing the cause of the Hindu Right on print and electronic media - and coming off as incredibly stupid while doing so.

Does the Hindu Right have no articulate writer/speaker?

zoomindianmedia said...


Pls be specific where Tarun Vijay is coming across as stupid. Making value judgements is easy. We have to back your assertions with facts.

zoomindianmedia said...


You have talked about the Gujarat Model, where despite media hostility NaMo won.

That was a far more easier campaign for the BJP in Gujarat State. Focus could be accomplished.

In national elections, NaMo efforts probably spread thin. With a full time job in Gandhinagar, even 300 meetings, in two months across the nation, are not sufficient to reach the target audience and convert them from the deceitful biases inculcated by the congress I (islami-isai) and its lackey corrupt unethical long lying media.

Anonymous said...

Somebody wrote that RSS will make India backward quoting knicker and Surya namaskar. What do you know about RSS ? It is much beyond these two things. Given the circumstances, it should just function in background.

Secondly, in India everybody is indulged in vote back politics. Hence the reservation, hence the appeasement. Hence also the anti-conversion drive which is projected as anti secular by Congress. It is seen that once converted, people become loyal to congress. Why would this not irritate other political parties ? Agreed India is secular but it is also ethical. Gandhiji was also very critical about conversion which he has mentioned in his book (India of my dreams) as well. Interestingly, Congress is about Gandhi philosophy.

Thirdly, it will be mistake to equate Congress victory to victory of secularism. There are people who have voted for Congress yet in their heart have feelings for the cause that BJP has.

aw said...

Hi Swapan,

I would like to go back to 2004 where it all began. While all agree that NDA government was good it was not great. I think one of the key issues for India is the pace of change. It is not that India is not progressing but not fast enough and BJP did not show to India why they would be best suited to lead that charge. This was the reason they were not able to connect in 2004. The grand vision was missing. They just said - look we were good now give us 5 more years. Coming in to power they were untested and people were willing to wait. Towards the end of their term they had proved a point but not what they stood for. They failed to seize the moment and could not ignite the national sentiment that was required to get back into power.

In 2004 having set the base for a robust economic growth they could have picked any one or two areas and laid out a vision and a plan what they would do and how they would accomplish it. Somewhere LKA/AB coming and talking of providing power to all India in 5 years or even creating of infrastructure that would prevent 50% of agricultural produce going waste. I have been hearing the need for that one for the last 20 years but we still seem to be talking about it. While these goals may sound impossible they may not be so. Even achieving 50% of the goal would have been seen as positive. To do something on that scale requires an articulation of economic philosophy that can make it possible. Instead we have a party who loses 2004 and decides to kind of disown reforms that made the 8% growth rate possible. Today when they talk of IT vision everyone laughs it off. Contrast this to the Congress who set up NREGA even though it is a wrong way to go about development. At least they put a stake in the ground and show what they stand for (robust patronage networks).

The BJP seems to have gone into a funk just as they did end of 2004. Wake up during elections and then hope for the best. They need to get up and lead the charge in Parliament where MMS will try to get back on track as he knows he screwed up in the first term. Already he seems to be on the right track - refusing to deal with non-performers. BJP needs to get that buzz going for it. A party with a purpose [that sounds like a good new slogan). It needs to identify who should talk on what issues to the press and challenge the government with counter proposals that seize the agenda.

One important way to show Congress's weakness (did not work with strong vs. weak PM debate) is to open BJP to a more democratic process. Done right that in itself will create a buzz and prove the point than all the speeches.

Just an aside - BTW why not propose Nitish as a NDA's next PM in waiting. Modi could be his deputy. This way he stays in NDA and BJP would have a solid son of the soil guy who would be an asset.



Anonymous said...

Swapan Ji,
It is unfortunate that people say LK Advani could not connect with the masses and that is why BJP lost. Had this been true, why this did not work in States like Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh or Himachal. Further, Atal Ji was also of the same age when he faced the electorate and people, especially youth reposed faith in him. Let me tell my own experience. Even BJP sympathisers found it difficult in MP to vote for some candiadtes as they have not performed well despite getting elected to Lok sabha for last 3-4 terms. Either you replace them or ask them to ensure development. Without this even if you bring a leader like Barrack Obama as BJP president, the candidates will not win and eventually we will put the blame on someone like Advani, who is atleast a known face in every Indian household the status which no other BJP leader enjoys at present, except the towering personality of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Whereever BJP had strong regional/State level leaders it won. Now tell me who was the BJP leader in UP or AP or West Bengal who can pull a descent crowd across the State. On the otherhand, whereever BJP had strong state leaders like Modi, Yeddiyurappa, Raman Singh etc. we won there. So, the two lessons from the election is:
1) Need of strong and capable state level leaders across India and 2) Replacement of non-performers by strong candidates. Imagine why Naveen Patnaik wins in Orissa? Its because the BJP and Congress has no leader who can match his stature and here it doesn't matter whether Manmohan Singh or LK Advani is the PM candidate.

zoomindianmedia said...


We are not advocating that BJP members should not come in front of camera.

Our suggestion is that the process should be structured, not ad hoc and arbitrary.

God Bless India

Anonymous said...

"Can anyone ask Tarun Vijay to shut up? He is going around espousing the cause of the Hindu Right on print and electronic media - and coming off as incredibly stupid while doing so."


He's doing what BJP should be doing. I agree he's not that intellectual but that doesn't mean he should keep quiet. U center-right ppl r the source of all problems in the BJP. BJP should change its name to Hindu janta party from Bhartiya janta party.

Balaji said...

Tarun Vijay is a special invitee to the BJP national executive and is the head of the think tank Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Foundation. Tarun Vijay is formally associated more with the BJP than with RSS. His views cannot be dismissed so easily. His talking about "nationalists" and defending some of the Sangh Parivar non-sense shows that the far right in the party has learnt no lessons from the latest electoral disaster. said...

I have identfied five points that form the core values of the BJP. The current leadership moved away from these core values. Perhaps, the problem with the BJP is its leadership, rather than its ideas. The full post can be read here

zoomindianmedia said...


With BJP's current non existant media capabilities and a corrupt hostile visual media, most likely Ramjanmabhoomi would have got derailed.

By repeatedly showcasing an isolated event of violence, or by manufacturing violence and showing it, the movement would have been undermined.

zoomindianmedia said...

Kanchan Gupta

Your attack on Advani's age is not warranted and shows faulty logic.

The man competing against LK Advani, Manmohan Singh was not a young man.

His larger point that BJP's media strategy was primitive remains valid. I have covered this in detail in my blog.

Wanderer said...


Read this talks about the need to talk tough on terror, but more than 3/4 th of the article is spent in story-telling.

And in this article here, says things like "Almost half the voters didn't vote." and "It's all mathematical jugglery. Somewhere Raj Thackeray's maneuverings and in another state the Praja Rajyam Party diverted the anti-incumbency votes and the consolidated Muslim vote bank helped.".

To think a person so high up in the BJP thinks like this is worrying.

PS: Advani has still not made a public statement.

Oldtimer said...

Tarun Vijay is passionate and sincere, and that's the problem with many BJP/RSS folks like Tarun, Seshadri Chari and Sudheendra Kulkarni. The talking heads on TV are not disinterested parties. Low cunning is their second nature and their agenda is to twit the spokespersons of the Right. If you must talk to them, you should talk to them to outwit them, not to play into their hands. In that sense, BJP leaders lack "sophistication".

No Tarun Vijay said...

Tarun Vijay represents the quintessential Sangh 'intellectual' who can discuss History but nothing more than that. His analytical skills are abysmal and drifts from one topic to another. Wonder how he was made head of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee foundation.

Anonymous said...

The man competing against LK Advani, Manmohan Singh was not a young man.While this is true, what happened is that all Congress communication like posters had Manmohan surrounded by young people. While BJP communication contained a pictue of Advani alone.

The effect was to create a youthful perception of Manmohan. Sad that such a mistake was allowed to happen after they came up with the Team Advani concept.

Anonymous said...

Swapan da , your observation on decency quotient is spot on. The nuclear deal might have had some impact on middle class and youth who would have seen BJP as being hypocritical.

If the BJP genuinely though that the deal was n India's interest they should have supported it. Instead they were on the same side as the commies.

If they thought the deal was not in India's interest, they should have explained it better to the people.

Coming back to decency quotient, that is probably true all the time. BJP has to pick appear decent, well meaning and not oppose for the sake of opposing.

The face of the party also has to be decent line Vajpayee.

Anonymous said...

From Indian Express:
On the disconnect between BJP and RSS, a senior leader said: “The Indo-US nuclear deal is a classic case of how the BJP managed to antagonise its middle class constituency. While L K Advani, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu and even Rajnath Singh wanted the party to support the government, leaders like M M Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and Bal Apte put up a stout opposition to the move, that had the backing of the RSS. The BJP was suddenly seen as a Left ally that left our middle class constituency seething with anger”.

If this is what the RSS is doing, why is it rushing to BJP when it loses elections.

IF MM Joshi and RSS are deciding policy positions, then why are they blaming people like Jaitley and Advani, when BJP loses elections.

Anonymous said...

IF People like Advani have to bow to RSS diktat, then why are they complaining about the PM bowing to the wishes of Sonia Gandhi.

Congress is correct is saying that LKA and BJP take their orders from RSS.

Anonymous said...

The way RSS handled Advani after Jinah comment, he hardly looked as Loh Purush. RSS(K.S. Sudarshan) should be given Nishan-e-Haider by ISI and Congress.
RSS undermined their tallest leader at every opportunity.Kudos to their anti-Personality based politics. said...

I disagree with most of the analysis given and also with the suggestions made for the resurrection of the BJP.

The BJP stands for Hindutva. Why should it be apolegetic about it? Hindutva is a way of life. It is the essence of India. Take it away and you are left with a materialistic society. That's what the rich wants us to become - a slave society with 114 crore people who work for the one crore haves.

Rajesh Jain who sponsored the friends of BJP organisation has offered his comments on the website. Somewhere, he says:
"The BJP needs to take the moderate approach with a tinge of inclusive cultural nationalism. "

But this is what the BJP has been trying to do all along! Devise a marketing strategy and offer it to voters. The idea that the party 'needs' to do something or the other to get votes is to suggest that what the BJP believes in should be seperated from what it wants to market to the people. This thesis assumes that the unwashed masses are idiots, who will be fooled into believing our advertising campaign. (Note I have used the word 'our' - I am a BJP supporter, will remain so).

Two faces of Adam
Before the election results I watched a TV show with Rajeev Pratap Rudy of the BJP. With your agenda, how will the allies come, asked the anchor. Oh, we have two sets of policies, said Mr Rudy. The first is when we have allies. this is the moderate tone. If however they will not come, then we will revert to our original agenda. Wow!

The Real BJP

The real BJP is a lot of good things.

1. It is Atal Behari Vajpayee. He shaped it, gave it life and finally took it to power.

2. It is a direct connection with the masses. The first BJP meetings had volunteers who drove the cars for the leaders, leaders who stayed with the volunteers, travelled in non-ac coaches in trains. Atal ji and all the younger leaders then spoke the language of the common man.

3. It is an affirmation of the core values of the country. India is secular because it is predominantly Hindu. All Indians are equal. The BJP will not accept discrimination against anyone. The BJP was never a fan of big business - it always stood for the small trader, professional, farmer, - making life easy for the 114 crore.

4. It is national in its inclusiveness. There is no caste equation, no religious discrimination. Never. If you are an Indian, we are with you. (This is the reason why the OBC's gave large support to the BJP. The BJP never had class, caste, or religious distinctions). This also means that the party does not discriminate based on your lineage and surname. (If you are born in the right family you become prime minister - not in a democracy, not in the BJP)

(The BJP has always been inclusive. We do not have to justify or explain our nationalism. Remember, all Indians are equal. That does not mean that all of them have to vote for us. Many Indians vote for the congress. Should we change our policies so that these people will vote for us? No. The idea is to convince them, not to become a chamelion. ).

5. It is a party that encourages talent to grow. This allows every Indian to aspire for the highest levels of achievement. How did a second generation of leadership emerge? Because it was encouraged by Atal ji and Advani ji.

Once we have these core values clear, the actual details will of course change with the passage of time. The BJP offered an IT plan in 2009, which was relevant. It could not be thought of in 1989. So the changing times will bring about change in details, but the core values remain.

The BJP moved away from core values, so it lost the way.

The problem then is not with the core values of the BJP. The problem is with the leadership. They deviated from the core values.

The way to resurrect the BJP is: develop a leadership that is committed to the BJP. I have no idea how this will happen, but the solutions lie in the people, not in vote share.

zoomindianmedia said...

More Lessons from Orissa seem to be the following:

1. Whether BJP likes it or not aspirationally significantly Indian people seem to prefer being like the babulog and tend to trust them despite their legacy of failed delivery. Many probably do not even want to be reminded about their miserable state of affairs. (This hypothesis needs to be validated by the BJP through an effective research study)

Raul Vinci and congressi efforts did not make any impact in Orissa.

2. It seems easy to fool uneducated poorer sections of Hindu Indians by playing the perception game.

- Naveen Patnaik's chain smoking is camouflaged.
- Karunanidhi has the gall to go for a hunger strike between his breakfast and lunch in AC ambience.
- Raul Vinci fools around with Kalavatis et. al. of the world.

Karun's, vinci's behavior show deep down what they think about Indian electorate.

Vineet said...

I feel
- there was as such nothing wrong with the party projection as well as its strategy(only one in which I strongly believe Namo should have concenterated on Gujarat itself and should not have been allowed to field tained candidates[this is not post election mind change])
- the youth by default are liberal in their thinking and become conservative in later years.
- the BJP has truly become a party with the most differences. In every state each one trying to tear others clothes off.
- the once in a million constellation of Chiranjeevi, Vijayakanth, Raj Thackrey forming a Hand pattern.
some others but will become heavy....

Ram Srinivasan said...


Could you give us your insight on the role RSS is expected to play in BJP's future direction, strategy. I saw this article in the Indian express, which doesnt give me much comfort unfortunately.


Nitin said...

It look like its becoming fashion to be critical of RSS.Be it on TV,Print Media and even in discussion forum.They have ideology ,so what is wrong.They have done so much to the country.These were the these people to bring quality education for masses in this country through Shishu mandirs and Vidya mandirs. I owe a lot to them. And i know there are many more like me out there. These thing do not echo in the ears of the people who were in cities and who study in Doon , Sherwoods.
RSS only took the cases of tribals, they take the case of forcible conversion.
Now at BJP.In the begining the party was working in open then it shifted to five star hotels.Leaders who were unable to contest elections statered deciding the strategy.Every one in the party stated consolidation of his position. Be it Rajnath,Jaitley or Sushma. Look how they check mated UMA bharti's Yatra from Karnataka.
The impact of these thing his this. They had reached 183 in 1991. In two decades it has come down to 116. If the drama continues then i am sure one of the three digits mentioned above is bound to disappear in 2012 or 2014 whenever there is test.

zoomindianmedia said...


In my view, NaMo if given a free hand, fairly early can fix things. It wont be easy though even for him.

Problems that BJP is facing are serious. (As an example, in 1990s BJP was a bigger party in Orissa than JDU. Now they stand decimated)

There has to be an arms length relationship between RSS and BJP. RSS cant hv their cake and eat it too.

Sanjay said...

People are advocating change of leadership including LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, even Arun Jaitley and Sudheendra Kulkarni as the results are being seen as the failure of leadership. But what is being done to reward those who succeeded – Yedyurappa, Sushil Modi, Narendra Modi, Raman Singh, Shivraj Chauhan...
Sushil Modi should remain in Bihar if BJP is going alone there, but if we plan to continue going with JD (U) it’s high time he is brought to the central leadership. Why can’t Rajnath Singh be replaced with Sushil Modi, clean image matters more than assertiveness and he does have it.
Maharashtra is going for elections in next four months, what is being done. I personally think Prakash Javdekar should be given the mantle.
The 2004 defeat could have been the medicine required to treat BJP of its ailments but it didn’t happen, every adversity also throws up opportunities, the key is to grab them, we must not repeat what happened in the aftermath of 2004. Even the best of machines get depreciated with time.
Of all the mistakes during NDA regime, one was to be seen as helping those who don’t need help, a case in point is “Pravasi Bhartiya Divas”
Notwithstanding defeat, there were a lot of things that the BJP during NDA regime was doing right, they seem to have the right ideas, a vision, and courage to take risks, they were the ones thinking outside the box, redefining conventions, and winning the ideas battle. Congress was forced to carry out some hard introspection not only by BJP but also by BSP. Somewhere down the road Congress took that space from BJP. It was Manmohan Singh who was seem to be thinking outside the box and having the right ideas and vision. That was the reason for Congress resurgence after their slump in 1996. They learnt it the hard way and saw parties with fresh ideas like BJP and BSP surpass them.
And that is the “Change We Need”.

Anonymous said...

Pls write the new blog.......

zoomindianmedia said...


Our critique of RSS is centered on sound principles. It has serious skillset gap. Check my blog.

Many of us are very sympathetic to RSS ideals and wish the sangh parivar well (churchist deceit, jehad ill!)

Responsibility without accountability is just not in.

Uma apparently tripped on account of indiscipline. Same happened with Kalyan too. I thought Vajpayee was particularly harsh on him. BJP surely did not handle these issues effectively.

Contrary to what many think, I believe, Vajpayee legacy was not necessarily a positive one. 6 years of ruling India - nothing much to show in terms of protecting the interests of native Indians. Or electoral benefits of BJP.

zoomindianmedia said...


Sudheendra Kulkarni, Prakash Javdekar just dont have it in them.

Many believe both are to thorough disasters and do not have much to show in terms of results/performance.

Ram Srinivasan said...

The roles of RSS & BJP should be different, and they should have an arms lenghth relationship for both organisations long term success.

RSS should focus more protecting and promoting Hindu Culture, Nationalism and reforming Hindu society. RSS has done great work, and should focus on expanding its reach, in terms schools, and other charitable organisations. I would go as far to suggest RSS should take a leaf out of Christian missionary organisations and do similar charitable work and reach out to people. It should also work to expand its membership, by making itself relevant to Youth. This is important as I understand RSS membership is dropping among the youth. RSS should also appoint a PR agency to try & improve its image among the people.

BJP should focus on winning elections, and if that means moving to right or left should be left to BJP's leadership to decide, rather than RSS driving that shift. At best RSS should make sure BJP remains clean and corruption free, beyond that RSS should not interfere. This would be best for both organisations growth.


Rao said...

>> In Gujarat, the media was implacably hostile to Narendra Modi during both 2002 and 2007 Assembly election. But it couldn't redefine an existing public mood.

I think it definitely did. It may not have changed the public mood in Gujarat, but it has certainly created a negative image of Modi/BJP , in the rest of the country. Most people (mostly young, educated and impressionable) have formed an opinion on Gujarat, not from the ground realities, but from what has been telecasted into their drawing rooms. And it is this unrelenting propaganda, that must be countered.
@ Puneet Said is very true, Media brainwashed People outside of Gujarat.... See classic eg. I am following this thread on this forum.... "Why Narendra Modi is popular in Gujarat" ( It has close to 2000 comments in last 2 years, with 45,000 hit, I can see there few Gujarati is trying to show ground realties, but no way this Brainwashed young prof. are still comparing Modi with Hitler-- Thanks to our Media. I found some very positive side of Modi from Gujaratis... I think we Non Gujarati can learn lot from this thread. Must check once... If you are supporter of BJP

Avis said...

All over the web, people blame media, average voter does not watch NDTV or Aaj tak. millions do not even have TV. Get rid of media fixation and start walking on the roads (if they exist)..