Whether or not technology is a boon, for BJP it has surely turned out to be a game changer. How far is your elected representative, a technology driven, media generated image? It is possible that most of what you admire and appreciate about your politicians is a carefully crafted and peddled product by specialists using technology.
It is after Barack Obama’s successful run for the U.S president, on the back of the popular “yes we can” campaign that all aspirants scrambled to use information, technology and communication to up the ante. BJP charged onto a massive media and technology driven campaign for the 2014 General election. This multiplied the reach of the brand BJP and Modi’s speaking skills became amplified with special hologram effects. The people were thrilled to find out they were going to interact with their prospective prime minister through google hang-out in 2012. This was the first attempt by any politician in the country, at least at such a wide scale.
It was the use of Holographic projection for giving speeches in different places at a time that gave a boost to Modi’s image, in the eyes of the youth. On the one hand there was Rahul Gandhi, the face of youth from congress who traveled in local trains and sat beside the common man to understand their problems and on the other, there was Narendra Modi with a more relatable and tech savvy image had stuck the right chord with the youngsters. The 2014 election result were very much the outcome of the technological experiments of BJP.
But the BJP’s brand building of Modi through technology knew no stops or bounds. When the news of doctored tapes of JNU students hit the headlines, people were still struggling to understand how tapes shown by national news channel could be doctored. Then they woke up to the uneasy reality, it was very easy to alter and manipulate information according to one’s need through technology. BJP faced the music when it became public that Narendra Modi’s old pic sweeping the floors or Gujarat’s neat and tidy bus depot, were photoshoped images. RSS too faced an awkward situation when some memes mocking RSS leader, Mohan Bhagwat went viral, though they were quick to file a case against the culprit. Before the 2014 elections, memes like the ‘mute Manmohan’ or the ‘pappu’ memes dented the image of congress leaders in the eyes of the common man.
We have to admit that BJP has mastered the use of technology and is not afraid of experimenting and exploiting it for its own benefit. While opposition is still struggling to get a grip of the medium, the ruling party has already taken a major lead in this race. The recent example for which is Narendra Modi’s speech in U.S which got nine standing ovations from the U.S congressmen. Everyone was stunned with the jaw dropping speech given by Modi in fluent English, as he is often criticized for his lack of fluency in the language. But once again, it was technology that came to his rescue, as it was later revealed that the leader used StagePro Presidential Teleprompter to mask his promoted speech as extempore! Although the use of technology is fully appreciated, but how fair is it to mislead people into thinking a premeditated political speech was impromptu!
It is indeed a great achievement for India to use advanced technology as it helps build a positive image of entire nation, but when it is used to spread manipulated and selective information, it’s time for some self- reflection. In a democratic country like India it is a challenge for a common man who is at the receiving end of this information, to cross check the authenticity of the information, otherwise the common man will end up being fooled by the politicians for their personal benefits.
Right now, the BJP is clearly much ahead in terms of its technology. It will be worth watching when all the political parties actually lock horns with equal strength in the world of technology.