Prime Minister Narendra Modi is arguably the best orator among the current politicians in India. There are few, if any, who come close to him as far as public speaking is concerned. He has developed and mastered a unique style of connecting with the masses.
Modi's strategy of communicating directly with the people has paid rich dividends for him as well as the BJP and is a very big reason for his extraordinarily high popularity.
The recently held Gujarat legislative assembly elections were another testimony of his strong ability to communicate with the voters. According to a report, I was reading this week, Modi participated in more than 60 government and BJP events in Gujarat in the last two months, an unparalleled score in the recent past. He addressed close to 40 public meetings and rallies in the run-up to the elections in just over a fortnight, covering more than 100 out of 182 assembly seats in the state.
One of the rules of communication is that the message should be very clear. And more importantly, the message should be tweaked as per the target audience. When Narendra Modi delivers his addresses, each is different in content and context, invariably customised depending on who he is addressing, delivered in the words the audience can easily understand and even relate with, there is bound to be an impact.
His new slogan for the Gujarat assembly election – ‘Aa Gujarat Me Banavyu Chhe’ (I have built today's Gujarat), conveys to each Gujarati to take pride in making the state a great one, is a part of the communication strategy he has followed for several years to establish a direct connection with the masses.
The highlight of the PM’s campaign during the Gujarat elections was the massive 50-km roadshow in Ahmedabad on the day of the first phase of polling. This was the largest such roadshow of its kind ever organised in Gujarat and maybe even elsewhere. Despite being a weekday, crowds lined up along the entire route of the roadshow to catch a glimpse of the popular leader. It is not surprising that the BJP’s whole campaign revolved around Narendra Modi, whose popularity remains unmatched in the state and elsewhere.
On the other hand, the Congress party’s election campaign focused on issues such as inflation and unemployment, but the communication didn’t come across as very discernible. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seemed to have created a lot more traction with its communication, but in my opinion, may be perceived as hollow by the public at large. Whether voters of Gujarat accept it or not, Arvind Kejriwal’s promise of free power was certainly talked about in both good and bad taste by the public in some parts of Gujarat, especially the South Gujarat and Saurashtra regions.
Whether it is his monthly radio talk “Mann Ki Baat” or the roadshows, Modi never misses an opportunity to communicate directly with the people. The strategy, which he has been following since the time he was the chief minister of Gujarat, allows him to reach the masses unlike any other leader or party.
The aggressive branding and outreach on social media have also helped him connect with a younger audience and build a massive following that is unmatched in the world. The simplicity of the message and communication with womenfolk is another key to his successful connects.
The Gujarat election results are awaited as I write this, and the BJP is widely expected to do well and return to power for the seventh consecutive time, is anybody’s guess. The BJP may attribute it to its developmental policies and works, but the PM’s effective communication with the voters and his messaging would be an equal if not a bigger contributor to the victory.
Shailesh Goyal is the founder director of Simulations Public Affairs Management Services Pvt. Ltd.