Poll analysts may continue to debate Narendra Modi’s winning formula, communalism or development, but the chief minister knows it was all thanks to his committed crew of campaign managers.
The men behind the success were about half a dozen dedicated BJP workers who took charge of the campaign, from the travel plans of leaders to contents of the publicity materials.
The team was led by long-time party worker Sunil Trivedi, an engineer, who also oversaw arrangements for tours of all the leaders who came from outside Gujarat. Assisting him was a team of equally dedicated workers who looked after aspects like print materials, audio and video items and even cyber publicity.
ABVP leader Pankaj Shukla, who runs a local courier service, helped Trivedi in the tours division. Trivedi would do the ‘total planning’ and Shukla had to implement it.
“We decided on the route of Modi's campaign ‘rath’ after looking at the priorities in the areas,” said Shukla. If certain areas perceived to be weak for BJP were en route, that place was selected as the meeting venue, he explained.
One thing this group ensured was that no scheduled meeting was cancelled. If some non-Gujarat leader’s arrival was delayed or cancelled, another was sent to the meeting. “Cancellation of meetings demoralise the local party workers,” he said.
The others in charge were Asit Vora (audio-visual), Atul Bhavsar (print material), S.G. Yadav (cyber space) and Yamal Vyas (media relations).
Vora, a textile engineer with a reputed company, took leave for few days to go through as many as 130 CDs of speeches made by Modi in the last few years. Clippings of the chief minister's speeches were then screened by a supervising panel comprising senior leaders Arun Jaitley, Rajya Sabha MP Surendra Patel and Kakubhai, a Modi confidante.
“Some clippings of very sensitive nature were removed by these leaders and some others were removed by the Election Commission,” said Vora explaining the steps he had to go through while preparing the DVDs for TV channels as well as the 15
video 'raths' (vans) that went round the constituencies.
Bhavsar was responsible for any material that was printed on paper, cloth or plastic - a range of items like stickers, banners, danglers, small and big flags, torans (small welcome arches), scarves, paper masks and even polling slips. “All these were printed here and full kits were distributed straight to the constituencies.”
The cyber team was headed by Shashi Ranjan Yadav, a mathematics professor. They managed Modi’s websites and the Gujarat BJP's and put campaign material on YouTube. “The idea was to target Internet and mobile users. We got many slogans from Orkut groups started by Modi fan clubs.”
One unique achievement of this campaign was that 50 people became BJP workers after contacting the cyber unit.
“We called from here and asked them to contact our local leaders in their respective areas,” said Yadav. But perhaps the most popular item was the Modi mask. Sources close to the chief minister said it was the idea of a businessman, Maneesh Bharadia, who had earlier manufactured CDs of the Vibrant Gujarat and Navratri events.
Bhavsar said the masks had arrived from a China-based toy factory and the BJP office had just distributed them. No one in the campaign team has any idea who had asked Bharadia to order the masks in China.