The Weekend Leader - How the 'Shah' of BJP micromanaged the Delhi poll campaign

How the 'Shah' of BJP micromanaged the Delhi poll campaign

New Delhi


From holding a rally at faraway Burari in the dust to talking suavely in affluent south Delhi, from devising the social media strategy to designating rallies for his party MPs and leaders, it is a single-handed Amit Shah show in Delhi where he had a hands-on approach in a bid to end the party's power-famine of two decades in the national capital, countering every strategy of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Shah is always the driving force behind any BJP campaign for the last six years, so why this is different? Answer is the sheer micro-management which Shah never bothered to get into, till the Delhi election, save the Gujarat Assembly election when he went down to granular details. The Union Home Minister, who has demitted office as the BJP President, is holding rallies flocked by around 20,000 in an open ground and rally attended by few hundreds in a residential area alike.

Shah is meeting not just the Delhi in charge Prakash Javadekar, and state unit President Manoj Tiwari post 12 in the night, he has held meetings to the level of booth in charges.

There are 13,750 polling stations in Delhi and it was his idea to appoint an incharge for each of them and make them responsible for the booth alone. He went down to the level of giving the booth prabharis a small team of party workers whose primary job would be to ensure voter turnout on the day of election.

An otherwise brazen Shah has ensured his party reached out to both the Shiromani Akali Dal, which appeared to be upset with non-inclusion of Muslims in CAA and instrumental in ensuring Janata Dal-United chief Nitish Kumar send out a message against the naysayers like Pawan Verma and Prashant Kishor, before Delhi election. Shah's unequivocal assertion that Bihar election will be fought under Nitish Kumar is believed to have been made with that intent. Since then, both Kishor and Verma have been shown the doors and the Bihar CM and Shah held a joint rally together in Delhi as was one with new BJP chief J.P. Nadda.

Amit Shah has always been very proud about his "cyber warriors", a term he frequently uses in intra party meetings. This time, a source confirmed, the idea to use videos less than 30-40 second was introduced by Shah himself. "His arguement was that a lot of voters are young who have very limited attention span. Hence we can't bore them with a 4-5 minute long video. Hence smaller videos with catchy headlines were suggested," said a BJP insider who has been involved with the Delhi polls' social media blitzkrieg.

He added that Shah wanted memes and versus poster to catch the attention of the young and restless.

But the big decision that Shah took which changed the tone and tenor of the campaign was on the intervening night of January 25 and January 26. On Republic Day, all BJP candidates and their campaign managers were instructed to go full throttle on Shaheen Bagh. It was a decision taken after due consideration, say informed sources.

From January 27 morning, the BJP campaign went ballistic. From Parvesh Singh Verma's "rape" jibe to Union Minister Anurag Thakur's "gaddar" comment culminating in Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling the Shaheen Bagh protest a "design"-- the campaign went ballistic.

With just four days to go to poll, Shah instructed 240 BJP MPs to go and camp in Delhi slums, as a final push.

Will that help BJP win Delhi? One needs to wait till February 11. But the level of micro management that Shah has gone in is unprecedented even by BJP electoral history.IANS 

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