They were roped in to manage L.K. Advani’s grand online campaign in a country where only five in every 100 people visit the Internet. And where 34 in every 100 people can’t read or write.
Yes, Team Advani’s young professionals did rule the virtual world for months, but the real world came calling when Lok Sabha election results trickled in on Saturday. They were stumped.
“All of us are required for a stocktaking meeting tomorrow at 11,” said BJP IT cell convener Prodyut Bora, 34, an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, on Sunday.
They had all gathered early on Saturday in identical ‘Advani-for-PM’ T-shirts to watch the results on a giant screen at BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu’s office. By noon, they looked tired — and surprised. The BJP had been routed.
The team of 20-30 had taken charge of Advani’s online campaign. The inspiration was clearly US President Barack Obama’s e-campaign.
So what went wrong?
The slogans and TV campaigns were unimpressive and late to begin,” said one.
They still have political hopes despite the drubbing.
“Rahul Gandhi will become prominent now. In response, the BJP will have to rope in more youth,” said a member of the team, requesting anonymity.
“Young urban professionals have high IQ but low PQ (political quotient). They should be encouraged to develop their PQ,” he added.
Varun Gandhi damaged prospects, some said, emphasising that the BJP should move away from communal politics.
Team Advani also refused to see Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the architect of India’s economic reforms.