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1. Playing the Gujarati Asmita Card
Modi during his visit to Vadnagar played the emotion card to the hilt. He was quoted by Economic Times as saying “Coming back to one’s hometown and receiving a warm welcome is special. I go back with your blessings and assure you that I will work even harder for the nation,” Modi said, adding. Whatever I am today is due to values I have learnt on this soil – among you all in Vadnagar.”
BJP will play the card that a win for the party in the state is validation of Modi’s tenure both as Chief Minister of state and Prime Minister of the country. It would also spread the message that any loss in home state will not only be an embarrassment to Modi but would also hurt Gujarati pride.
2. Highlighting Modi’s achievements as PM
BJP will highlight Modi’s achievements at the centre. From surgical strikes to taming China in Doklam, from fighting corruption with demonetization to simplifying tax structure through GST. How Modi has raised the stature of country internationally, how he is working for ‘Gareeb Kalyan’, make a ‘Swachch Bharat’, provide Housing to all by 2022. How he is building a New India! How he has taken up to cleanse system by targeting shell companies and benami properties!
Modi will be portrayed as a man on a mission against corrupt parties and leaders. Some of the slogans being tested are “yeh imandari aur beimani ke beech ladai hai” (it’s a fight between the honest and corrupt”) and “Fakir versus Shehzada” (a dig at Rahul Gandhi).
3. Making the elections Presidential style
The elections is all about Modi for the BJP. He is occupying the big space on posters, he will be holding big rallies, drawing big crowds. After all it was his ‘Gujarat model of governance’ which attracted voters nationally and propelled him to PM’s chair. PM Modi is expected to travel four times each month for next two months till polls.
BJP’s successful top down strategy
With Modi at the helm, BJP has been successfully following the ‘top down’ campaign style. Modi and Shah finalize candidates, knit alliances, draw campaign designs and lead from the front. Votes are sought in the name of Modi. Simple and clear message disseminated is ‘Modi at the centre and through his representative in the state will ensure development of the state’. Campaign material mostly has pictures of the central leadership. Modi will be holding 32 rallies in the 32 districts of Gujarat starting today.
This works well for Modi who then runs state government through remote control from Delhi. This way Modi ensures nobody could challenge him or Shah in the near future.