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Rallies reloaded: Redefining poll meetings, the BJP way

The BJP has, in the past few months, redefined the idea of election rallies by pitching in experts from event management companies, advertisement firms and using technology for the maximum impact.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2014 01:09 IST
Manoj Sharma

The BJP has, in the past few months, redefined the idea of election rallies by pitching in experts from event management companies, advertisement firms and using technology for the maximum impact.

In fact, the rallies are being organised like a corporate event with the party employing all the tools at its disposal to reach out to the voters.

Not only attendance at the rallies, the party is working to ensure what the BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal described as the ‘look and feel’ of the BJP rallies.

No wonder, Rajshekhar Malviya is a busy man these days. Malviya is the CEO of Promodone Communications, an ad agency tasked with building excitement around many of the rallies of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Apart from several other events, the company handled the mega Modi rally in Rohini organised in September last year in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections.

“We started advertising for the rally 10 days in advance. For the Rohini rally, we used radio, which we thought was the best way of reaching out to young people. We played clips of his (Modi’s) earlier speeches. For the March 26 Shastri Park rally, we put up 20 screens across the city. For the Rohini rally, we had put up about 100 LED screens all over the city. A political rally is like just another event that needs to be promoted so that it attracts more people. For me, a political party is like any other brand, and voters are consumers. What I do is introduce the brand BJP to the people,” said Malviya.

Built around ‘brand Modi’, the BJP has ensured that its election rallies not only catch maximum eyeballs but become an experience for those who attend them. Right from the promotion to the spectacular stages, digital backdrops, high-end public address system, and live audio and video streaming, everything is planned in a manner to ensure that the rallies have a maximum impact both at the venue and outside it.

“The idea is to make our rallies crisp, comfortable and take it to those who cannot be present at the venue,” said Mittal.

“We have worked a lot in terms of decoration of the stage, the pandals, seating arrangements and use of technology in our rallies. We involved a number of professionals. We have created blueprint for rallies and shared the salient features with our party offices,” added Mittal, who owns Delhi Tents and Decorators.

The communications, installation of screens and dynamic stage backdrops at several rallies is the job of a Noida-based firm, Showcraft — an event management company. Lalit Gattani, the creative director at Showcraft, said he handles rallies like other corporate events.

Gattani’s firm is behind several dynamic backdrops with LED screens on the stage, cameras providing seamless feed to various TV channels, LED screens at the ground, separate stages for the main speakers and the local leaders and line array sound system which is generally used in music concerts.

“These days political rallies have become corporate presentations, where the leader has to make his point through facts, figures and graphics to supplement the speech,” said Gattani.

“These new-look rallies are attracting the middle class audience, which otherwise used to shun political rallies,” he added.

Gattani said that a well-organised rally also makes a larger political point. “A badly organised rally with little care for the comfort of people shows a party in a bad light and can raise questions about its ability to govern,” he said. When asked about the cost of such modern rallies, he laughed and said, “The claims of the cost are vastly exaggerated.”

The BJP’s IT wing is also working to make Modi rallies a high-tech affair. It ensures that almost all Modi rallies across the country are streamed live on Yuva TV, BJP’s internet TV initiative. You can even tune in to a Modi rally on mobile phones by just dialling a number.

“Apart from streaming live on the internet and mobile phones, we have created a missed call service to engage with those who attend the rallies. Once they give us a missed call, we keep them posted on all our forthcoming programmes and events,” said Arvind Gupta, the head of the BJP’s IT wing. Gupta on Saturday launched of the party’s new digital campaign.