Undoubtedly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unique selling proposition or point (USP) is and was his ability to make the BJP win elections. He had demonstrated the relevance of his USP with ample conviction first in Gujarat where he made his party win three times as the Chief Minister of the state and then making the BJP win 2014 general elections with unprecedented majority.
Modi’s magic was working with the electorate. People thronged to see, feel and touch him at his election meetings. His words were music to millions of ears in the country. He kept his audience enthralled. His mannerism, oratory, style and attire crated an awe of him.
Intelligent planning, carefully crafted strategy and long preparation by a carefully chosen team paved the way for Modi’s journey to the top. In the process, tall promises were made and a dream of new India was presented. Social media was put to full use that highlighted and magnified the UPA government’s failures. Fake news was put to maximum use for misleading people and build anti-Congress public opinion.
In short, Modi’s USP was built with lots of myths with a dash or reality. Gujarat developmental model became the show window for the rest of India. People came to trust him. Modi could do no wrong became the popular mantra.
Assuming power on 26 May 2014, new Prime Minister continued to mesmerize people by launching schemes that made big promises. His launches for government schemes that were either old wines in new bottles or newer in content without proper plan of action were essentially one-day wonders. Efficient event managers, a supplicant and obliging media supported by the government machinery presented dreams unfolding turning hell into heaven.
Modi’s international tours meeting world leaders were turned into a massive public relations exercises. He was projected as a leader whose acceptance was unprecedented. A narrative was built as if never before a Prime Minister was so liked, loved, admired and accepted across the world as Modi.
Naturally, his very intelligently built USP helped the party to win elections after elections. Barring very few exceptions like in Delhi and Bihar, the BJP won state elections one after another making him indispensable for the party and its mother organisation- Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS). In fat, Modi’s USP soared so high that even the RSS was in awe of him.
His monthly talk to the nation-‘Man ki Bat’ became a talking point as people in the countryside flocked to listen him on radio. He became omnipresent and his dialogues at public rallies became the talk of the town. Even his huge mistakes like demonetization or hasty implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) were counted as pluses because electorate endorsed the BJP in elections after elections.
Media called him a phenomenon and declared him invincible. Modi’s Teflon image appeared to be impregnable. In short, his charisma was working but then law of diminishing returns began to catch him sometimes around end of 2017 when myths began to explode slowly but surely.>
Dr. Satish Misra is a Veteran Journalist & Research Associate with Observer Research Foundation