In 2007, Modi masks broke the mould of traditional campaigning and created a buzz. Five years later, in 2012, Narendra Modi has changed the game once again, this time by making a larger than life appearance, literally.
In a 3D holographic projection of his image yesterday, Modi appeared much taller than his real height to create a big visual impact but he did not make himself so tall as to look unreal. The holographic images, which are being projected simultaneously in various cities toward evening, make it easier for Modi to get his message across to more people without a physical presence. More importantly, the images can be seen by any audience without using special glasses — as one does while watching 3D movies.
Is this a real game-changer or just a spectacle? While Modi strategists are still busy assessing the public impact of this innovation and how far it will help bring in the votes, they appear to have done a fair amount of homework to give themselves an advantage over the Congress. The technology, pioneered by Musion, a UK-based company, with Kasu Mani Enterprises as its Indian partner, seems to have been patented to make sure that only Modi gets the advantage of it in this election.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi cannot benefit from using the same idea, for the technology will remain a Modi exclusive till 2014, when the next parliamentary elections are scheduled.
Modi's campaign managers believe that, at the very least, the 3D projection will evoke enough curiosity among the people to listen to his message. They will come to see the "tamasha," if nothing else. Once the USP or tamasha value of the technology ends, it would cease to be a USP for anyone, including Modi. Hence the value of this short-term exclusivity.
Modi acted both like a showman and an artful political orator. In the 3D projection, he walked onto the dais, sat on a chair, and even sipped water a few times, apparently to create the impression that the projection was almost the real thing.
In 2007, Modi emphasised his macho optimism by emphasising his “Chappan inch ki Chati (56-inch chest); this time around he is looking taller, slimmer and more energetic in his 3D image.
Despite his obsession with technology, Modi's 3D speech managed to bring in Mahatma Gandhi. He asked the Congress whether it really believed in Gandhi. “The Congress government in New Delhi uses all its energy to destroy an opposition-ruled state and uses the CBI for filing fictitious cases. Did Mahatma Gandhi preach them that?”
This time, Modi is focusing on youth and women, who he hopes will become his core constituency. They occupy much time and space in his speeches. If youth is being lured with a development vision, women are told about his various welfare various schemes and the rationing of LPG cylinders by the Congress regime.
As usual, he managed to turn the opposition's abuse into his case. “If New Delhi wants to compete with me, they should compete with Gujarat on development. But they have got down to gali-galauj (abusive), even adding new words to the dictionary. A Congress leader called me a monkey. I accept his certificate and want to remind him of the Ramayana where monkeys led by Hanuman destroyed Ravana’s Lanka. If that is the case, yes I am Hanuman and a monkey. Another Congress leader called me a mouse. I am proud to be a mouse for he is the carrier of Ganpati and it will be my privilege to have Ganpati riding on my back.”
Taking digs at Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh continued to be his stock-in-trade. He used the issue of price rise to shift the anti-incumbency mood against the Congress rather than himself, and uses the LPG cylinder issue to make his point.
After five days of extended post-Diwali Labh Panchmi holidays, campaigning will start picking up from today. Whether Modi will reap the 3D advantage or not of course depends on his message, not the medium.
See how Modi is changing the game once again by making a larger than life appearance.