Innovative Field Organizer: An example from 1980s Gujarat

Published By : Admin | September 16, 2016 | 23:49 IST
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It is well known that Narendra Modi before he became Chief Minister and Prime Minister was an innovative Field Organizer. He has been involved in organisation work from Panchayat elections to Parliamentary elections.

 His innovative organising skills are best understood from how he, as a key member of the Gujarat BJP organisation helped the BJP win the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections in the 1980s.

His innovation in Organizational Methods was focused on two things. First was division of labor by making sure every Karyakarta had a goal driven task and every task driven goal had a Karyakarta assigned to it. The second aspect was ensuring there was an emotional connect with the campaign. He was able to inspire that emotional connect by advocating a sense of ownership towards the City and its Governance. 

The highlight of his community organizing during that campaign was micro-engagement with Karyakartas and engaged citizens through 1000 Community level Group Meetings in Ahmedabad. As a preparation for these 1000 Community level Meetings he had conducted a Training Course for 100 Karyakarta volunteers. The focus of the training was on what the Karyakarta was expected to do at a Community level Group Meeting - what issues to highlight what arguments to make ?

This was a novel and radical move as far as election strategy was concerned.

The Community level group meetings would comprise of citizen groups of 25 to 30 where articulate speakers would be encouraged to speak up on the issues concerning the city. To get women engaged in the process he had started all Women’s Group Meetings in the afternoons after 2pm. He even managed to persuade Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji to come for a Municipal Campaign.

There is something to be said of the uniqueness of Narendra Modi’s approach to Field Organizing. This blending of a structured process of volunteer training, volunteer mobilization with an emotional local connect created the ground conditions for the BJP victory in the Ahmedabad Municipal Election to provide Narendra Modi with a template for statewide Organizing of the Sanghatan with a micro-focus at the Local Level. 

Such precision was repeated election after election, be it in Gujarat, Lok Sabha Elections as a General Secretary and when Shri Modi finally joined electoral politics in 2001. His ability to connect with people and understand their needs and aspirations has been truly beneficial.

 

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It is part of an endeavour to collect stories which narrate or recount people’s anecdotes/opinion/analysis on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi & his impact on lives of people.

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The Start-Up Prime Minister
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Anyone who gets the opportunity to meet and interact with Prime Minister Narendra Modi terms him as an inspiring leader and a keen listener. The case with Ritesh Agarwal, the founder of OYO is no different. Ritesh got an opportunity to discuss the travel and tourism industry with Prime Minister Modi. The small conversation he had with the PM, helped him galvanise a whole new business model.

In a video, Ritesh described PM Modi as someone who not only has the ability to have very deep attention at the macro level but also as someone who can discuss things which have an impact on the ground level.

He shared an example that was given by the Prime Minister. Quoting PM Modi, Ritesh said, “India is an agrarian economy. There are so many farmers in our country. Their incomes may vary at times. On the other hand, there are people who want to go to villages, seek accommodation and have an experience out of it. Why don’t you try village tourism to enable some of these farmers to have a sustainable long-term source of income and for urban dwellers to be able to see what truly a village life is?”

Ritesh shared how the few minutes of conversation with the PM about village tourism translated into an opportunity that has been benefitting several farmers and rural households to earn a sustainable income. Ritesh pointed out that such ability of the PM to have a massive depth as well as breadth about a subject is what made PM Modi a ‘Start-up Prime Minister.’

Ritesh further said that not only travel and tourism, but PM Modi has the same level of ability and depth to discuss subjects pertaining to any industry. “I have seen him having discussions about the expansion of data centres, how can we do well in renewable energy right from solar to ethanol, what all raw materials are required so that panels could be manufactured here in India, how can it benefit a company in the PLI scheme…..Whenever we talk about infrastructure, we limit ourselves to roads, railways and highways, but whenever we meet him as a part of an industry delegation, I have seen him discuss even consumer electronics. India, this year will be the single biggest country in electronics manufacturing, which rarely people know about. India has become a hotbed of drone manufacturing and research and innovation around it… In each of these industries, having such level of depth in my view is unparalleled and that’s what is making these industries grow quickly.”

Ritesh said Prime Minister Modi is an “incredible listener”. He narrated an instance from an event organised ahead of the Union Budget. He recalled what PM Modi had said at the event. Quoting the PM once again, he said, “If tourism needs to expand, we should make large-scale and long-term infrastructure investments through which the industry can avail its benefits.” Ritesh added that Kevadia in Gujarat is a great example of this thought and how attractions around the Statue of Unity has helped a hotel industry flourish there. “Forward-looking about five, ten, fifteen years about infrastructure is what I found fascinating about PM Modi as a long long-term reformist and value creator”, added Ritesh.

Ritesh went on to say that PM Modi has many attributes of an entrepreneur. He added, “PM Modi thinks big in terms of impact but before doing so he experiments it at a small scale. His ability is to look at large-scale initiatives and track its execution very closely.” The OYO founder remarked, “Our country has a leader who is saying that we are not satisfied by being incremental. We are a country that has a billion plus people with the aspiration and inspiration to be the best in the world.”

Disclaimer:

It is part of an endeavour to collect stories which narrate or recount people’s anecdotes/opinion/analysis on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi & his impact on lives of people.