Tuesday, March 03, 2020

How to manage public opinion, create perception despite recession in India: BJP, Indian Economy and WhatsApp narrative

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

It is interesting that how BJP successfully sets the social media narrative through WhatsApp and Facebook.

An example that would reveal how it works. I met this guy at the BSNL office.

He was worried over his personal issues, started talking to me on his own, about lay offs, privatization, future of LIC and a lot more.

Also, he said govt unable to control but later said, 'look at Pakistan, they've to mortgage all, even roads, we're much better'.

He was explaining to me that in India, we're yet to sell railways but in Pakistan even 'roads sold' to keep the country's economy afloat'. Must have picked up from channels.

So this comparison always makes people content, 'unse behtar hain', without stepping foot out of India. This is the super narrative--comparison has to be with Pakistan, look at how others have sunk & we are still not doing badly.

Even within locality it happens, people are sometimes more jealous about neighbour's accomplishment. So playing on these emotions. Truly amazing. 'Unke yahan to kuchh bacha hi nahi, sadak tak bech di, bhooke mar rahe hain, Chin ki khairat par pal rahe hain...'

These are just the kind of things that people want to believe & take pride in the fact that our enemy is starving, let's forget our pain, be happy. Pak obsession, Nationalism! With 400 million Indians on WhatsApp getting videos, posts about our achievements by such comparisons, you can well sense why BJP and its narrative works.

Add, communal polarization, anger against internal enemies--Urban Naxals, TT gang & see how it works. 300 seats again. It keeps citizens 'satisfied', there is the feeling of 'self-respect', gets sense of Hindu pride and that he elected a strong government. This is a model that has worked well.