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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”

Click here to read the full article.

India’s new voters: we are connected

Check out this article on India’s new voters in the latest issue of The Economist, which argues that rapid social change and assertive voters will improve Indian democracy.

With commentary coming from speakers such as Swapan Dasgupta and Gurcharan Das, it is believed that more demanding voters are emerging thanks to three intertwined trends: a youth bulge, urbanisation and rising incomes.

A particularly exciting statistic shows that over 100m voters have been added to the electorate since 2009 and that “turnout is usually about 60%, but could be higher—recent state elections show people unusually eager to vote.”

Click here for the full briefing.

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