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What went wrong with BJP's communication strategy in Delhi Election?

11-February-2015
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What went wrong with BJP's communication strategy in Delhi Election?

After the massive Lok Sabha win, BJP and Modi-Shah duo was considered unbeatable until now. AAP’s epic victory of 67 seats out of 70 in the Delhi elections has challenged BJP’s winning streak.

Many reports and political commentators have questioned Kiran Bedi’s choice as a candidate just three weeks before the election. Reports in media have been highlighting BJP’s arrogance as an undefeatable party post Lok Sabha win. Its campaigns are described as personality-driven, relying heavily on Brand Modi.

Dilip Cherian, Founder of Perfect Relations explains, “The BJP fell into the hubris trap -- arrogance and overselling Prime Minister Modi. Though the party will never admit it, by unleashing an ad blitz centred around Modi, it turned the contest into one between Arvind Kejriwal and Modi. Also, the BJP’s negative campaigning, based more on vicious personal attacks on Kejriwal and AAP party than on deliverables did not go down well with the voters. Rather they showed up the party as one without a positive message for the voters, bent more on debasing opponents than with a constructive agenda. But the one take away for the party leaders when they sit down to analyse the AAP tsunami will probably be: hype and rhetoric cannot substitute for hard work and substance.”

Pitchfork’s  Founding Partner Jaideep Shergill echoed similar thoughts. “It’s a clear case of hubris and too much of pent up expectation. They need to put their money where their mouth is.They definitely need their communications and messaging to be resurrected,” he said.

BJP won the public mandate with the development agenda that struck the right chords with the voters. In Delhi elections, AAP followed the same agenda of development and added promise of clean politics. BJP was accused of personal attacks on AAP leader Kejriwal during its campaign trail.

“The BJP, for the first time in recent years met a party that was more cadre based than they themselves were in Delhi. The learning: get to the people and address issues,” said Harish Bijoor of CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults.

Growing dissidence among voters was evident in the margin by which BJP lost. AAP also gained on anti-BJP wave.

“Post the landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections, I think BJP will learn that no opponent is small or weak.  Sticking to the development agenda only was the only way out to win the Assembly Elections.  Adverse comments by senior leaders was leveraged by the opponents…. This is a  big learning on key messaging,” said Paresh Chaudhary, CEO, Madison PR.

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