Overkill is not such a bad thing, as the BJP seems to have realised in its media blitz this election. Wherever you go, whatever you listen to, whichever social networking websites you use, you cannot get away from the BJP and its message, or more to the point its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and his message. Now as the election enters its final phases, Mr Modi is in overdrive. So he undertook a shock-and-awe tour of Amethi, considered the pocket borough of the Gandhi family, though how exclusive terms like this can be used in a democracy is another matter. The last-minute volley is intended to either push Rahul Gandhi to the wall or cut into his votes. And it is quite likely that given the Modi juggernaut, the last-mile connection will change some minds. Similarly, before the prestigious Varanasi seat goes to polls, the BJP heavyweights are all planning to descend on the holy city. The aim again is to make sure that their message leaves a lasting impression on the voters’ mind before they go to the polling booth. The gameplan then, in these two constituencies, is to restrict Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and for Mr Modi to win by a historic margin in Varanasi. This saturation bombing of the media through rallies has been a feature of the BJP’s campaign and it seems to be working.
In many areas, people are saying they will vote for Mr Modi irrespective of the candidate in that constituency. This shows how smartly the BJP and its ideological mentor, the RSS, have formulated their campaign, using the extensive reach of the media and their connect with the voter, especially the youth. In contrast, the Congress seems totally flatfooted and its media campaign appears patchy and dispirited. Voters no longer seem to choose candidates based on past loyalties, rather they are looking clearly for a concrete message. And this has been delivered very well by the BJP, which has pulled out all the stops from holograms to raths to posters to social media.
The Modi brand has been successfully marketed in a professional manner, using the latest technology and this has been supplemented by boots on the ground in the form of rallies galore, both by the PM candidate and others. The BJP has made it clear that it is going for broke and no constituency is off limits for it anymore. The in-your-face campaign can be tiresome at times, but so far it seems to be proof that it does pay to occupy the public mindspace to the exclusion of all else.