- From 15th September till 10th May Narendra Modi would have addressed 5827 rallies/ programmes/ events/ 3D/ Chai Pe Charcha
- Over 3 lakh kilometers covered.
- Over 25 states visited.
- Unique vision for each state.
- Unprecedented innovation as seen during 3D rallies and Chai Pe Charcha
- Several Interviews with print & electronic media
As India eagerly awaits the ballot boxes to speak on 16th May, it is essential to look back and recount some of the more memorable aspects of the 2014 campaign. When the history of this election will be written, one thing that will stand out is the historic campaign undertaken by Narendra Modi to reach out to the people of India in order to convey the message of development and good governance. Never before in India’s electoral history has a leader emerged as such a bright ray of hope for people. Never before has a campaign been undertaken with so much innovation and precision.
It would not be an exaggeration to describe the Modi campaign as one of the biggest mass mobilisation exercise seen anywhere in the history of electioneering. The scale and intensity of the campaign becomes even bigger when one understands the large population and geographic spread of India. Yes, in the past political leaders have led marathon campaigns but the scale at which this campaign has been done beats them all by miles!
Starting from 15th September 2013, when Narendra Modi addressed his 1st rally after being anointed as the BJP’s PM candidate till 10th May 2014 when campaigning for the last phase of 2014 Lok Sabha Elections ends, Narendra Modi would have addressed 437 historic rallies across India from Jammu to Kanyakumari, from Amreli to Arunachal Pradesh. From 15th March to 10th May he would have travelled almost 3 lakh kilometers! Add to the 1350 rallies through 3D technology across the nation.
1787 rallies and almost 3,00,000 kilometers! Have you heard of something so massive?
For a simpler and clearer understanding of the subject we will divide the rallies in 3 distinct phases:
- Phase of preparatory mobilisation
- 2013 Vidhan Sabha Elections and other rallies
- Bharat Vijay Rallies post 26th March.
Preparatory Mobilisation: 38 mega rallies to set the ground
The juggernaut rolled on the afternoon of 15th September 2013 when Narendra Modi addressed ex-servicemen at a historic rally in Rewari in Haryana. From 15th September till his rally in a land that is closely linked with Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Wardha on 20th March 2014 Narendra Modi held 38 such rallies to enthuse the party rank and file as well as the supporters.
These 38 rallies covered 21 states of India. In a historic first, Narendra Modi even covered states where the BJP is not known to be traditionally strong and the response in every location was electric to say the least! The locational spread of the rallies is as follows:
On an average, each of these rallies in the bigger states drew crowds of 4 lakh with every rally in Uttar Pradesh and several other places drawing even more than this number. The crowds in the Northeast and Goa were also historic and unprecedented.
Therefore, these 38 rallies among themselves covered almost a crore people!
Who can forget 27th October 2013 when Narendra Modi addressed the Hunkar Rally in Patna! There were live bombs going on the ground but no a single soul moved. In his address, Narendra Modi gave a message of peace and unity, saying that Hindus and Muslims should together fight poverty instead of fighting themselves. In the end he urged the crowd to disperse peacefully. This was a landmark moment and it convinced the people of Bihar and the rest of India that here is a leader who will face any adversity, even on his life, for the sake of Bharat Mata.
Bharat Vijay Rallies: 196 rallies in 45 days
The Bharat Vijay Rallies began on the morning of March 26th 2014 from the pristine surroundings of Jammu and Kashmir when Narendra Modi addressed a large rally in Udhampur after paying his respects at the Vaishno Devi Temple. The Bharat Vijay rallies have spanned across over 25 states, covering 196 locations. Even reading this can shock several people!
Response to the Bharat Vijay rallies was historic to say the least. Wherever he went calls of ‘Modi Modi Modi’ filled the atmosphere! People cutting across all age groups, caste and creed attended.
Unlike the earlier 38 rallies these rallies were held for a fixed target area such a Lok Sabha seat and the adjoining ones so the average attendance per rally was between 1 to 2 lakhs. Even taking these modest numbers, the number of people Narendra Modi would have reached out to through these rallies stands anywhere between 5 to 10 crore.
Two programmes that stand out are the historic roadshows in Varanasi and Vadodara when Narendra Modi filed his nomination papers. It was as if the entire town had converged on the streets to support Narendra Modi. Everyone was left marveled seeing the scale of the roadshows.
Other programmes, events and rallies
In addition to these rallies Narendra Modi has joined several other rallies and programmes between September and March 2014. The number stands at 241.
This includes 52 rallies in the 4 states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi that went to polls in November and December 2013. The results were clearly in favour of the BJP. The party came to power with a historic mandate in Rajasthan, improved its tally in MP, retained power in Chhattisgarh and became the single largest party in Delhi.
The other programmes included a wide range of events including meeting lawyers, chartered accountants, cultural icons, presenting cultural awards and other routine delegations and visitors. It should be noted that despite being announced as the PM candidate till the Model Code of Conduct was announced Shri Modi continued to chair all cabinet meetings, attended assembly sessions and was involved in the presentation of the state budget as well.
Some of the special programmes Narendra Modi attended were the Shilanyas of Statue of Unity with Advani ji, inaugurating the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune and addressing CAs and advocates. In a very touching gesture, he met the families of all those who lost their lives in the unfortunate blasts during the Hunkaar Rally in Patna. He also joined a programme to mark the 51st anniversary of the song ‘Aye Mere Vatan Ke Logo’ where none other than Lata Mangeshkar herself sang parts of the song along with ex-servicemen and the audience who joined the programme.
Pioneer of technology: 3D and Chai Pe Charcha
History has been scripted in a historic campaign by the manner in which Narendra Modi has used technology and innovation to reach out to people.
The most prominent example of this is the 3D rallies. First used in Gujarat, albeit on a smaller scale, the 3D rallies are a historic medium to connect with people in multiple places at the same time. Such application of technology is a first across the world.
From 11th till 30th April several rounds of 3D rallies have been held covering 750 locations ranging from Kashmir to Kerala, Maharashtra to Assam. All those who have attended the 3D rallies say it is an experience of a lifetime. Over 600 more 3D rallies will be held from 1st May till 10th May 2014.
The other innovation was seen during Chai Pe Charcha. Over a cup of tea, Narendra Modi interacted with people across India on issues such as agriculture and women empowerment. The Charchas were held across 4000 locations in 24 states in various rounds. Internationally it was held across 50 locations in 15 countries. Almost 10 lakh people joined the Charchas.
Why the Modi rallies stand out?
Everywhere he went, Narendra Modi presented a unique vision that the people of the area could relate with. This vision connected the people to Narendra Modi and convinced them that here is a leader who can initiate good governance and development for the larger good.
Take for instance his visits to the Northeast. Considering the BJP is not very strong in that region, Narendra Modi visited the region a large number of times and addressed several rallies across the region. There, he rightly described the region as the ‘Ashta Lakshmi’ that will play an important role in India’s development. He addressed issues such as corruption, scope for tourism, fake encounters in Manipur, illegal refugees from Bangladeshis, persecuted Bangladeshi Hindus that parties shy away from addressing. From Arunachal Pradesh he gave a stern message to China over the border issue.
Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh he became a much-needed panacea for a state that has become the prime example of Congress’ divide and rule politics. He was the first leader to give a clarion call of ‘Jai Telangana and Jai Seemandhra’ and reaffirmed his commitment to development of Telangana and justice to Seemandhra.
Narendra Modi showed his strong commitment to the speedy development of the hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh be it in developing tourism and ensuring development funds reach the people in the hills. An out of the box idea that emerged was the idea of forming councils with similar states such as a council of hill states or a council of coastal states consisting of the PM and the respective CMs. That way even the smallest issue can be addressed effectively.
In the same way Narendra Modi is firm on his commitment to develop the eastern states of Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand. He has reiterated his commitment to place these states at par with others and for that the NDA will do everything possible.
India’s federal structure is an article of faith for the BJP. Sadly, the federal structure was trampled over time and again by the UPA. As a Chief Minister, Narendra Modi understands the dangers of doing so and that is why he has given his vision of ‘Team India’ where the PM and CMs of the states will work together as a team for the development of the respective states and the nation. There is no question of discrimination between states. In a statesmanlike comment, Narendra Modi said it does not matter for him if a state has a NDA, UPA or any other government. Everybody will work together.
It was believed that Narendra Modi’s road to Delhi would be a lonely one. One has lost count of the number of editorials, op-eds and articles written on it. All this punditry has been proven wrong by Narendra Modi as today the NDA is a strong 25 party alliance that is going to the people with the agenda of development and providing India with a strong and stable leadership.
NDA has drawn new allies from all parts of India. In Bihar Shri Ram Vilas Paswan and Shri Upendra Khushwaha joined. In Tamil Nadu a 5 party alliance emerged with leaders like Vijaykanth, Vaiko and Dr. Ramadoss. In Seemandhra and Telangana the BJP is working with Shri Chandrababu Naidu and Shri Pawan Kalyan. In UP the Apna Dal has pledged support. In Maharashtra Shri Ramdas Athawale joined the alliance.
At the same time relations with existing allies and old friends like the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal are very very strong.
A result of this is that the BJP is emerging as an option even in places where no one believed the Lotus could shine. In Tamil Nadu the NDA is challenging the AIADMK and DMK, in West Bengal the Left and Trinamool are seeing that there is a party that will break their monopoly. UP is looking beyond SP and BSP and Kerala is looking beyond the UDF and LDF. This has never happened in the past.
It was believed that organising a rally was a cumbersome process. One had to “fill” crowds and make other arrangements but Narendra Modi has proven all this wrong.
If people say political parties pay people to attend rallies then they have not seen Modi rallies where people voluntarily paid to attend the rally and the proceeds went towards relief work for the Uttarakhand tragedy!
In Trichy, police caught youngsters searching for empty alcohol bottles a day after the rally but the youngsters told them that for the first time not a single bottle was found! Infact, the BJP doing a rally in Trichy was also a historic feat in itself.
In UP and Bihar the rallies were double storied! It was not uncommon to see several people climbing on top of the polls to get a better view of Modi. Truly Modi is a ‘Pole-a-rising’ figure!
In the entire campaign Narendra Modi has given countless interviews to print, electronic and local media. His interviews have varied form one journalist asking questions to a panel of journalists asking him to even a “court” of people.
The list includes ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ on India TV, interview with Zee News, ABP Ghoshna Patra. He had an elaborate interview with ANI where he talked about politics, policy and foreign relations.
Newspapers such as Hindustan Times, Hindustan, Jagran, Economic Times have had interviews with Narendra Modi. In an interview with CNBC TV-18 he listed out a comprehensive economic vision that will script India’s recovery. Regional networks such as ETV, TV9 have interviewed Modi. At the same time local papers in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat among others have interviewed Modi too.
Can you recall such a wide and diverse outreach programme in India’s history? His day began at 5 AM and sometimes went past midnight but Narendra Modi’s energy and his dedication only increases. These words by Narendra Modi perfect sum up his routineand his determination, “दौड़ रहा हूँ, जनता का प्यार दौड़ा रहा है। न थका हूँ, न रुका हूँ और देश विरोधी ताकतों के सामने झुकने कातो सवाल ही नहीं”( I am running, the affection of the people is making me run. There is no question of getting tired neither a question of stopping and bowing to anti-national forces simply does not arise.)