12 May, 2021

Irony In A Crafted Victory And What It Presages

How did ‘Jai Shri Ram’ win? By managing media and by deploying LJP, MIM et al. That helped thwart real solidarities and kept angry Dalit-Muslim votes from drifting to Tejashwi.

Photograph by Sonu Kishan
Irony In A Crafted Victory And What It Presages

Analysing an election in a short article invariably creates a dilemma whether to focus on the contesting parties, issues, electorate response or electioneering. In recent times, the study of electioneering has acquired significance, particularly with the rise of populist politics. Here, I would focus on electioneering (henceforth ref­erred to as election technology)—tools, techniques, art and craft of fighting an election. Election technology includes strategic alliance-building, selecting candidates and star campaigners, keeping in mind social configurations, sloganeering, messaging, posturing, creating hawa (atmosphere), using/managing media, including social media, social engineering, utilising various faultlines in society, recruiting cadres, using election research, using digital technology to manage, even manipulate public mood and decision-making by creating fear, frenzy or by selling dreams. They also bank on creating a real-time feedback mechanism, flexibility in changing gears, and micro-­management up to the booth level. A party can ign­ore...

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