The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party's Lok Sabha election strategy, saying it had heavily depended on hi-tech means of campaigning and had gone "horribly wrong" in understanding the mood of voters.
"Politics is played out in the field, not in air-conditioned chat rooms. There is a disconnect between the party and its mass base," RSS mouthpiece Organiser says in its latest issue. This critical review is being seen as an apparent attack on BJP leader L K Advani's website and the hi-tech 'election war room' set up by the party. The mouthpiece says "the BJP actually failed in presenting itself as a better alternative to offer stability and a national vision." It also blames BJP's mismanaged campaign and organisational weakness for its humiliating defeat.
"The Congress won this election primarily on the shoulders of a friendly media. Almost every report on every channel and most of the print media depicted the Congress as doing the right thing and the BJP in poor light," says the journal. It suggests the BJP to evolve a long-term strategy to gain some propaganda mileage, with "almost the entire visual and print media determined to undermine its growth."
The Sangh mouthpiece has also blamed the NDA government's "shabby, misplaced enthusiasm for economic liberalisation" for the urban middle-class' "disenchantment" with the party. "This aspect needs elaboration and deeper study. The BJP has to reassure and cultivate its constituency without being defensive or apologetic about its identity as a party with a difference," it adds.
The BJP, once known as an urban middle-class party, now has more seats in rural and tribal areas. The BJP's best performance was in 1999 when it got 182 seats and in 2004 it fell to 135 and now is down to 116. The BJP's tally of 116 is 52 seats less than its in-house exit poll assessment. "The party has clearly gone horribly wrong in its understanding of the mood of the voter," the journal adds.