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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

The Obama effect on Narendra Modi’s strategies

Harinder Baweja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 08, 2014
First Published: 00:26 IST(8/4/2014) | Last Updated: 08:29 IST(8/4/2014)

What does Barack Obama have to do with Narendra Modi’s election campaign? Quite a lot, according to the backroom boys involved in pushing the BJP prime ministerial candidate’s Mission 272+ campaign.

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 “We have borrowed heavily from Obama’s use of analytics. We have number crunching teams in Mumbai, Delhi and Gandhi Nagar for scripting a scientific campaign,” a backroom team member said.

Take the 185 Bharat Vijay rallies across 295 constituencies. The schedule from March 26 was finalised after Modi assigned work to a data-crunching team. He wanted a list of all constituencies won by the BJP/Jan Sangh since 1951 and a separate list of the victory and defeat margins (where BJP candidates came second) since the 1991 election.

The data crunchers helped BJP identify strategic rally venues. “Bharat Vijay is aimed at maximising and strategising Modi’s outreach,’’ BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said while announcing the plan.

“Teams are analysing a lot of data and Modi is travelling every day in a campaign styled like a presidential race,’’ Piyush Goyal, handling communication, told HT. Teams also pored through data to arrive at a list of urban constituencies that the BJP lost by 10,000-50,000 votes.

Similarly, NaMo’s data men have come up with a list of 114 seats where the victory margin was 3% or below in the last general election. This includes Varanasi, which Murli Manohar Joshi won by a mere 17,000 votes in 2009. This time, Narendra Modi is pitted against AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal.

Starting soon are Modi’s 3-D meets, where he will appear simultaneously at 50-100 places. These too have been chosen mathematically and include places that are not being covered through the 185 Bharat Vijay rallies. “We are mapping the entire country,’’ said Goyal.

 The party is unwilling to reveal names of the number crunchers. “Perhaps after the results are announced,” a leader said. "Obama’s team too came public only after his acceptance speech."


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