The BJP has a Modi problem again. This time however, it's not party infighting and injured egos that are at stake, but something much more fundamental. People are saying that they would like to vote for Modi. But they don't know what symbol represents him.
The Economic Times relates this anecdote:
"Modi ko hi vote denge (will definitely vote for Modi)," an old village woman told the MLA. When asked on which symbol will she caste her vote, she said, "Modi par hi lagaenge (on Modi itself)".
Worried, the MLA narrated the incident to his party leaders, who had heard similar stories. The party swung into action, conveying its concern to Modi himself, and is now working out a strategy to ensure that the lotus does not get blown away by the Modi storm.
Blame it on the Modi masks and merchandise?
Firstpost editor Sandip Roy noted:
"Turning a politician into a brand is certainly useful. Brand Modi becomes an act of reflection with the multiplying effect of a hall of mirrors. As Modi stands at the rally, beaming, waving to the crowd, the jubilant crowd gazes back at him draped in NaMo paraphernalia – Modi masks, Modi t-shirts, Modi-kurtas.
Either way it is as if our feverish passion for politics and our insatiable hunger for brands have finally come together in common churn. And Narendra Modi has emerged from that manthan as an entity than can both sell and be sold.
Modi was put forward as PM candidate even at the risk of angering other senior leaders because of his wave of popularity within the party.
This was seen as a good move because he was already overshadowing other party leaders, and it was felt that his popularity could be leveraged for votes on a national level. By projecting him as PM candidate, the BJP was essentially saying that a vote for the party was also a vote for Modi. But the aggressive positioning of the Modi brand is threatening the entire party's prospects.
The fact is that in a country where illiteracy is so high, and where rural populations make up a bulk of the voter base, the BJP simply cannot afford to have the Modi juggernaut put its party at risk of losing votes.
If people are unaware that the lotus is the BJP's symbol, then the party could well lose votes even from people who want to vote for Modi.
So what next? The party has already started bloating the lotus in its latest campaign posters. But maybe it's time for some co-branded products. A plush toy Modi sitting in a lotus perhaps?
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Updated Date: Oct 25, 2013 10:04:10 IST