Kotler in ‘Ten deadly marketing sins’ gave Ten Commandments in which one went as: ‘the company knows its major competitors and their strengths and weaknesses’
And, Al Ries wrote in ‘Positioning’ that sometimes ‘you can’t get there from here’. There are ways to compete against the leader but it can’t be done ‘head on’. ‘Fire with fire’ is a cliché’ and ‘can do’ spirit may be suicidal.
What is BJP’s core strength or impregnable fortress? Even a stupid would tell you it is Hinduism and Hindu Identity. And the party suffered a series of defeats until Modi put it on backburner rather topped it up with inclusion and development. The last national election went in BJP’s favor primarily because it could sense developmental aspirations of people in young demographic group. Further Modi added masculinity which resonated with people who were witness to Singh’s lack of leadership and assertion (monitor less class).
On Nov 30th TOI reported that ‘Rahul visited over 20 temples during his Guj visits’. What does this mean literally and figuratively? In warfare terms his visits amounts to trying to penetrate a heavily armed fortress with a plain pistol. Mandir and related identity groups are BJP’s core strongholds. These like mountains from where BJP looks down at enemy enjoying hugely advantageous position. When threatened it is likely to retaliate with all its might and force. Look what has happened.
The nature of discourse and narrative has subtly shifted away from perceptually weak spots of BJP (GST and demonetization) to: RG’s identity as Hindu or a Catholic, his temple visit score, how he was brought up, why Congress did not react when SG was called a Christian by a foreign journalist and why he has not visited temples earlier. He has opened up entire Pandora Box against himself. All the BJP guns are now trained at RG and his Hinduism. He has obviously dwarfed himself by ranging a head- on attack or waking up a strong rival in a sleepy territory. Copying somebody’s proposition is easy but the best. It is like being fake and un-original.
All mavoeuvers in a battle have to be thoroughly thought out and driven by objectives. Now the question arises which territory is RG trying to capture? Who is the target audience: Muslim, Hindu hardliner or Hindu moderate or weaker sections. And consider the impact of his moves on his core constituency: moderate Hindu, Muslims and weaker sections. A drift towards Hindu identity of Congress is likely to be seen by Muslims and Congress’s saffronisation and would have psychological effect. And moderate Hindu is likely to be unappreciative of Congress for abandoning its core secular identity. The weaker sections who suffered for generations on account of Bhramanism are equally going to be disenchanted with RG.
Tactically, it is in the interest of BJP to not let the public discourse on RG’s visits to die until elections are held. It would reap two advantages: first BJP can maintain its attack on weakest spot of Congress and secondly under the noise and cacophony of his visits it can shift people’s attention away from position of its perceived weakness.
How is excited about his temple visits? Congress’s spokes person.
They say how do fight fire with fire or water. Water…stupid.