The BJP has pitched a “formidable narrative” leveraging issues of Hindutva, hyper-nationalism and public welfare, and opposition parties stand very little chance unless they can outweigh it on at least two of these fronts, election strategist Prashant Kishor said on Monday.
“BJP’s popularity is not just a function of Hindutva. It is one of the most important elements. Two [other] elements which we need to factor in are one – this hyper-nationalism thing. It’s as important if not more, increasingly, as Hindutva. And then [secondly] you have welfarism,” he said in an interview to NDTV.
“The household and individual level welfarism, nationalism and Hinduism – put together, it’s quite a formidable narrative. Unless you have the ability, through your own narrative, to better two of them, you stand very little chance against the BJP,” Mr Kishor said.
“BJP underperforms in assembly elections – one of the reasons is that this nationalism element doesn’t work and you have sub-regionalism as an element to counter that. When it comes to the national elections, this nationalism [issue] allows them to overcome all those limitations,” he said.
Mr Kishor said he wanted to help form an opposition front that could defeat the BJP in 2024 and that it was “entirely possible” even if results of next month’s state polls – seen as a semi-final of sorts for the general elections – were unfavourable.
“Is it possible to defeat the BJP in 2024? The answer is an emphatic yes. But is it possible with the present set of players and formations? Probably no,” Mr Kishor said, prescribing “a little bit of adjustment, little bit of tweaking” rather than a new national party.
“Not a single ‘grand alliance’ has succeeded since Bihar 2015. Merely coming together of parties and leaders will not be sufficient. You need to have the narrative and a coherent outfit,” he said.
The 45-year-old who calls himself a “political aide” said, “Any party or leader that wants to defeat the BJP needs to have a 5-10-year perspective. It cannot be done in five months. But it will happen. That’s the power of democracy. “