A Unique Voter Outreach in India: A Historic Mass Mobilisation
An Unprecedented Mobilization
India is gearing up for a massive voter outreach campaign ahead of its national elections next year. In an unprecedented move, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of the major political parties in India, has mobilized approximately 18,000 volunteer activists. Their mission is to meet face-to-face with about 35 million BJP supporters by January, equating to roughly 2,000 supporters each. This mass mobilization effort is considered the largest of its kind in history, demonstrating the party’s commitment to direct engagement with its voter base.
BJP’s Strategy for Success
The BJP, the world’s largest political outfit with 180 million members, is betting on what it says is the biggest voter outreach campaign in history to secure a third term in power in the world’s most populous country. Party leaders hope that this extensive personal contact will strengthen its support and influence the election results. Despite concerns about inflation, unemployment, and uneven growth, opinion polls suggest that the right-wing BJP will comfortably win a third term in the federal elections expected to be held in April and May.
The Challenge of a United Opposition
However, it’s not a sure win for the BJP. A newly formed national alliance of 26 opposition parties, including the BJP’s arch-rival, the Indian National Congress, is thought to pose the biggest challenge yet for the party. This united front shows the determination of the opposition to defeat the BJP, despite not having a shared political ideology or vision. The BJP’s emphasis on their Hindu faith and culture has caused discomfort among some minority groups who feel politically excluded, especially Muslims who make up about 14% of the 1.4 billion population.
Internal Report Sparks Action
BJP leaders in New Delhi were spurred to action by an internal report presented in February, which concluded that an anti-incumbency vote could see the party lose about 34% of their 303 lawmakers in the lower house of parliament. This would rob it of the majority that gives it a freer hand to pass laws. In response, the BJP has launched this large-scale mobilisation drive, which marks a shift from its 2014 and 2019 election strategies focused more on large campaign rallies across the country.
A Massive Digital Footprint
Alongside the ground mobilisation, the party is also building a massive digital footprint and employing an industrial-scale use of social media. The BJP’s outreach began over the summer, much earlier than in its previous campaigns when mobilisation started about four months before national elections. The campaign is not focusing on wooing voters from rival parties but will instead make direct contact with people who voted BJP in 2019 to lock down their support, enlist their campaigning assistance, and provide intelligence on local issues.
The Opposition’s View
The opposition sees the BJP’s bolstered outreach efforts as a sign of panic. Mahua Moitra, a national lawmaker with the regional opposition All India Trinamool Congress, believes that the BJP’s intensified outreach efforts reflect the threats posed to the party by the INDIA alliance of 26 rivals formed in July to challenge the BJP’s nationalist platform and oust the current Prime Minister.
With the national elections looming, the BJP’s extensive voter outreach campaign is a historical event in Indian politics. Whether this strategy will ensure a third term in power for the party remains to be seen. However, what is clear is that the BJP is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to engage with its supporters and secure their votes.
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