The BJP mystery man — who rarely attracts attention to himself but always manages to stay close to the centre of all attention — has been asked to don a new cap: The ‘unofficial’ chief campaign strategist of the party.
BJP leader Amit Shah arrives for party's central election committee meeting at party headquarters in New Delhi. (PTI photo)
With four members of the BJP publicity sub-committee getting busy with their own elections, the party has entrusted Shah with overseeing the poll-related publicity.
Besides Shah, the panel included Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, Varun Gandhi and Sudhanshu Trivedi.
The reason: It’s 50-year-old Amit Shah — former junior home minister of Gujarat and the closest aide of PM candidate Narendra Damodardas Modi — who has created and managed the Modi wave so far in the most crucial Indian state, Uttar Pradesh.
While Swaraj is contesting from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, Jaitley — another strategist of the BJP — is fighting his first direct election from Amritsar, a tough battle that will keep him busy during this poll.
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Karnataka biggie Ananth Kumar, pitted against entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani of the Congress, is also facing a tough contest in Bangalore South, while Varun Gandhi has shifted to a new constituency, Sultanpur, leaving his old one, Pilibhit, to mother Maneka.
So, Shah, the boss’ obvious choice, gets to devise the entire campaign strategy of the party for the next elections. And, naturally, it will be Modi all over.
“With this, Shah is getting more involved in the publicity exercise. His strategy is to take BJP’s Modi-centric advertising to the rural pockets of the country,” a BJP leader privy to the development told HT.
A BJP leader said on condition of anonymity that Shah had already asked those designing the publicity materials to have a special focus on the state-owned All India Radio and Doordarshan, which have the maximum reach in rural areas.
He said Shah had even finalised the plan to exploit these two publicity vehicles with special audio and video materials.
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For on-the-ground publicity, Shah recently got 4,000 raths fitted with 3D screens for campaigning exclusively in the rural pockets of Uttar Pradesh. These raths have rolled out and will visit about 10 villages every day to play out Modi-centric video clippings, audio messages and distribute literature.
The BJP’s outdoor campaign, Shah is insisting, should have significant presence in the rural areas. Nearly 14,000 billboards and hoardings — with the tagline, Abki Bar Modi Sarkar (Modi’s government this time) — are being put up all across the country.
Some of them are for urban pockets and the rest are for the rural areas, a leader involved in the publicity campaign said. The BJP has roped in a Mumbai-based communication giant to roll out this campaign.
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