understand phraseology and know much
better than others how to spread horizontally and vertically in their core constituency
Last year, Shah had a one-point agenda:
How to take Brand Modi to the villages and
towns of UP.
Here is the exclusive story from the man
who did it for Modi in a way that can compete with any powerful idea from the communication and marketing czars of the West.
No fuss, no hype, only sheer determination to
take Modi to UP’s villages.
When Shah wanted to carpet-bomb Modi’s
image and ideas in UP’s more than 107,000
villages, he went back to the Sangh family. He
picked Sunil Bansal from the Akhil Bharatiya
Vidyarthi Parishad. Bansal is from Jaipur.
His family have been ‘Sanghis’ for since many
years. His father was a grains and textiles
trader, and a loyal supporter of the Rashtriya
Bansal has been handling youth elections
in the Delhi University Students Union for 25
years. He is mild-mannered and has a knack
for reading young minds.
He came to Lucknow some two months
ago and was given the details and contacts of
some 76,000 BJP active workers whose
numbers and details were already with the
BJP’s Lucknow headquarters.
Read on about how he networked the BJP-minded people of UP to spread Modi’s image,
in Sunil Bansal’s words:
As the ABVP joint organizational secre- tary I have travelled across India and to rural villages. Here I was assigned to
do ‘election management.’ The party told me
to implement Shah’s idea of rural connectivity.
I saw that I needed to build a team. I called
all my young contacts from Jaipur, Mumbai
and New Delhi, and selected 20 of them.
They were bilingual, knew Hindi and English. They became part of my core team. They
were experts and hard-working guys who left
their jobs and joined us for free.
I told them, ‘Give your six months for the
service of the country.’
Some of them were experts in running call
centers, some in preparing reports and
PowerPoint presentations, some in research.
Shah wanted to reach out to all BJP workers in UP as fast as possible. Also, he wanted
one BJP worker in every booth. We needed
some 500,000 telephone numbers of our
workers. I created the e-mail id firstname.lastname@example.org. With the help of my 20-
member team we started contacting each
and every booth in UP.
We gave them a form to fill, along with my
e-mail id. The data started pouring in as we
contacted them. We phoned them, asked
them to help in other constituencies also. We
needed names, addresses, names of Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies, number of
the booth they represented and their mobile
We’ve been able to collect some 400,000
authentic mobile numbers of our cadre. Of,
say, 113,000 booths we have details, contacts
and reach to 80,000 booths in UP. Some 10
percent of our data proved incorrect.
We were able to do this mammoth exercise
because the mobile phone is cheap now. It
costs Rs 1,200 ($20), and a SIM card is for
Rs 200 ($3). This makes the mobile the best
way to contact people.
I needed the data from all booths in UP
because I wanted to communicate with them
all the time, I want to be able to instantly
share the thought that comes to my mind
with those 400,000 BJP cadre spread in
We wanted to take Modi to the villages.
How do we have rural connectivity? How do
we share our ideology with our people? I can
tell you that yeh mahaul badla hai kyon ki
hum gaon main pahunche hain (there is perceptible change in the air because we have
reached out to the villages).
We are communicating our plans directly
at the booth-level. First, we collected data.
Then, with the help of that data we called
people at the booth level. Now, we have set up
a call center. Our boys in the center talk to
people all over UP all the time.
Our call center members are given a fixed
format of questions. They keep it on the computer screen, dial the booth-level worker, ask
him fixed questions, and key in the answers.
This daily feedback is given to Anil Singh and
others who prepare the report. Every evening
we discuss it, and Amit Shah is sent a report
on his e-mail id.
Every morning and evening new decisions
are taken to correct problems in these constituencies.
In Uttar Pradesh some 30 percent voters
live in dark zones. I know 10 panchayats in
Amethi (Rahul Gandhi’s constituency)
where there is no electricity, no poles of power companies. There are lakhs of people
who don’t read newspapers. In Jhalore area
we have seen people who don’t read or watch
TV at all.
In UP there are villages where development is zero. No roads, no gutters, no bijli or
sadak. How to take Modi there?
We wanted them to know what Modi
stands for. We knew that if we took Modi
there we can change the contours of this election. Some 30 percent of UP’s voters are in
such far-flung areas. Amit Shah asked us to
prepare mobile vans to reach out to them. It
is a hit. I organized 400 vans.
For these poor people we got a special 16-
minute video message by Modi made in
which he speaks emotionally about UP, how
he will develop UP.
Our vans, all equipped with GPS, drive to
these villages, and have covered 45,000 of
them. I can say the BJP has a worker in each
of the dark zones in UP now. Out of 400
vans, at any given time, 350 vans are on the
road. Our head office tracks them on a real-time basis. How much time it spends in each
village is monitored from a map in the headquarters.
One trained volunteer goes with each van.
He parks the van in the village, shows Modi’s
speech to people, gives Modi masks to children, gives Modi’s slogan to the young people. In each village he makes one new BJP
volunteer. And before leaving the village he
sends SMS to us giving the new mobile number of the new BJP volunteer.
This program is for giving hope. We named
it ‘Modi Aanewala Hain (Modi is coming).’
Each car covers seven to eight villages. Before
leaving the village the volunteer puts up a
Modi banner and gives stickers for homes.
Our vans have touched 5 million voters so
far. Now people say, ‘Mere gaon mein Modi
aanewala hai (Modi is coming to my village)’ We have a fresh list of 42,000 UP volunteers because of this program. This has
created a zabardast (amazing) effect in rural
There are 30 million young voters, we
think they will help us win. We are focusing
on them. In towns and urban UP, young peo-
ple have android phones so we keep them
engaged on their mobile, sms, WhatsApp, e-
mail, Facebook and Twitter.
UP’s youth is reading views with news and
is very alert. For each of the 80 Lok Sabha
seats we created Web pages like
NamoLucknow, NamoBaghpat, etc. On
those pages we started debates, we informed
them of current controversies, and updated
our volunteers though these pages.
Ashutosh, our engineer colleague, managed it well. Devesh Kumar is an engineer
from Benares Hindu University and a PhD in
geography. He is a silent worker, but an efficient team leader. Abhishek Kaushik is a
master of social media. He knows how to
generate 10,000 Likes in two days! He works
very fast, and quit his well-paying job to work
We work 9 am to 11 pm. We don’t have
women in the team because our working
hours are stretched out.
Anil Singh came from Mumbai, he is very
good in preparing reports from data, he is
perfect in his job. Every day he receives huge
data from thousands of booths. He reads it,
weighs it and prepares his report. He tells us
what is not working on the ground.
Thanks to all this we know what’s happening in every constituency. If the posters have
not reached or if our competitor is going
strong or the caste equation is lacking, then
we will get the information through our call
center which talks to booth-level people all
Anil prepares the report that comes to me
and Amitbhai every day, and we take action
accordingly. Arun Kant, formerly of NDTV,
does research and tells us the issues that our
leaders must talk about. He gives input for
We take care of their food and accommodation. We pay around Rs 800 ($13) as pocket money. We have rented the computers and
servers. So, the entire data building exercise
will not cost more than Rs 500,000
To take care of urban youth, we also started
putting up a small skit. This nukkad natak
(street corner play) helped us reach out to
youth. We have performed some 1,200 such
acts with the help of our team Samwad on
themes like price rise and corruption.
We have formed a NaMo band too. It goes
to malls, college canteens and places like
Barista and CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) to perform. They start with four people, but many
times 400 people gather there. We spread
Modi’s views and leave.
The same way, flash mob is an idea that has
clicked. Our boys go into crowds and start
singing. People ask out of curiosity, kya hua?
And then they join in the singing.
With the help of our data we have sent messages like Ek note, ek vote. We have asked
volunteers to collect funds. We call our people to know what is the latest gossip, what is
the newsworthy debate in their area. We ask
them about social equations, caste issues,
caste meetings, if the RSS affiliation is working well or not, about competitors and about
the issues that are not working in our favor.
We also prepare exhaustive reports of what
all is printed in newspapers about our election prospects. We also ask how the Modi
impact is in their area. All constituencies
from the booth level upward send us their
grades, that is, how they rate the BJP’s
chances of winning.
;Page A12 Modi is the hero, mobile
phone the heroine in UP
Inside the BJP campaign
headquarters in UP is an
efficient call center outfit.