The millennial disconnect: A growing concern for the BJP
The recent election results of the three states MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh might have showcased few chinks in the armour of the otherwise formidable BJP election machinery. One key factor which came out particularly in MP was the high polling % on NOTA, this choice is usually done by the “Millennial” voters which formed a substantial 18% voter base in MP. Vote share analysis further reveals that just an additional 4337 votes would have resulted in Mamaji returning to power a record 4th time in MP. There is a strong need to influence these millennial voters and, in a way, they interact and understand.
BJP since the previous LS selections has always had the edge on Social media against its rivals, but since 2015 I see a bit of complacency kicking in the Social media strategy of the BJP. INC though once obsolete on social media is cleverly clawing their way in, slowly and steadily; an e.g. of the same is team Super londay being contacted by 8 INC teams after they created just one meme against PM Modi. A newspaper report in Bhaskar today clearly states that INC has staffed an “Attack Team” to create info-graphics, memes against claims by PM Modi and BJP. I am sure that the BJP social media cell might be coming up with a strategy to counter all this, but they are cutting it a bit too close for comfort.
Coming back to the case of Millennials, the BJP Social media has done very little to attract / influence this group. Take the example of MP, a voter born in 1999 would never understand the problems and pains that we as citizens of MP encountered in terms of Bijli, Sadak, Pani. As by the time, he/she got into an age to understand these things they have seen 24 x7 electricity, 4 lane roads and nonstop water. Therefore, how will this voter understand that this exemplary governance that they enjoyed has been only during the BJP rule; there was no attempt done to educate this voter group about the misrule during the Diggi raj. These voters assumed that such governance was a given as they had never seen the other side. This ignored demographic might have cost the BJP very dearly in these elections.
In the past 4 months, I did extensive interactions with this demographic in cities like Indore, Pune and Kolkata; I could draw these key inferences:
- Ram Mandir: Most of Millennials have bought the narrative set by the congress ecosystem/liberals about no need of a temple at the Ram Janmbhoomi and instead a Hospital /school should be built on the land. The narrative set up by the INC-led liberals is so strong that most of these folks believe that the entire dispute is BJP/RSS created. This is again due to lack of information /social media push on such sensitive issues by the BJP. The antecedents of movement are simply not known by many in this voter base and thus they get swayed by the liberal stories
- 370: Again, serious information gap, there is absolutely no information in terms of a “quick read” that these millennials can refer. The narrative currently available again turns them more towards the liberal side
- Scams: Most of the millennials that I interacted with have no clue about Bofors, CWG, 2G, AgustaWestland, Dewas ISRO scam
- Modi Government’s Scheme: The brilliant schemes launched under this NDA government does not have the necessary outreach in terms of information to this demographic. They simply don’t know about these schemes
Since this Millennial crowd has no benchmark or limited information across these varied topics, this inclines them more towards either choosing “NOTA” as an option or believe in the liberal narrative of “All political parties are alike” and thus vote for any other party apart from the BJP. Do note, NOTA played a big role in the BJP loss in Karnataka and MP, recently.
What I am trying to imply here is very simple, BJP Social medial cell needs to introduce across all social media platforms namely Facebook, Instagram and twitter these “Quick reads” or “Chasers” which showcase all this information and are able to capture the attention of these millennial’s and quickly dissipate this information. This will become a strong counter-narrative to the propaganda been spread by the Congress ecosystem.
The BJP Social media leadership need to realize the importance of this demographic and ignoring them would be at their own peril. Till 2015, We had a razor edge Social media strategy; I believe the razor has lost a bit of its edge time to sharpen it again. Not all is lost, but then again sometimes a little bit of delay can be a bit too late.