Swapan Dasgupta: “Modi is changing the nature of campaigning”
Writing in today’s Telegraph India, Swapan Dasgupta, a political columnist and public policy analyst, discussed how Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, is rewriting many of the rules governing politics, and how the nature of campaigning in India is changing.
Swapan argues that the age of mass meetings drawing lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of people was coming to an end, and that “with rising media exposure, electioneering would have to be done primarily through television.” However, Modi seems to be proving this an inaccurate trend.
Ever since Modi was anointed a candidate on September 13th 2013, he has spoken at mass rallies at over 450 places in India with average attendance approaching a lakh of people. Moreover, those who physically attended the rallies constitute a small chunk of the audience: live broadcasts have ensured that Modi actually spoke to a far larger audience. As such, Swapan contends that he is effectively combining the best of both campaigning methods.
Swapan notes that it is this use of the media as a force multiplier which has ensured that in just eight months the Gujarat chief minister has become a recognisable name all over India, including places where the BJP has no worthwhile presence. Consequently, the “2014 election will be remembered as an election where Modi rewrote many of the rules governing politics”
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