BPJ versus Congress on Balakot Air Strikes and Cutting through Emotions with Reason

In branding we often speak of emotions as basis of marketing power. I say brands make you crazy (meaning dominance of emotions over reason) by jumping over cognition in order to bend demand curve to make it price inelastic. When somebody buys a Patek Philippe for about $102000 many may say he must be crazy or he has gone nuts. This is the idea of branding.  The brand idea makes enormous sense to its target market and reamins a puzzle for others who try to capture it by their thinking hooks.

Now consider the following. This is how the Indian strike on terror camps got reported.

India bombs Jaish camp in Pakistan’s Balakot

Pakistan Army says Indian jets intruded neighbour’s airspace

How IAF confused Pakistan and destroyed JeM’s 5-star Balakot camp

Surgical strike 2.0? India bombs terror camps across …

Do these trigger emotional response? For most Indians probably yes.  It may range from mild feel good to high octane pride. These strikes assume greater significance in the background of Phulwama attack. Individuals with even a slight grain of attachment to the nation would have felt a sense of relief from the pain of the attack. Afterall attack on India is attack on its citizens.

Who should get credit for it, is an important question, especially when general elections are very close. This is a ‘silver bullet’ for BJP because it has happened under its dispensation at the Centre. Since its resonance is likley to cut across gender, geography and class it would strengthen BJP’s credentials as a nationalistic party.  Emotionally this attack has created a new sense of bonding among people to rally behind the Forces and the PM.

Now consider the following:

Congress blasts Amit Shah for saying 250 terrorists killed – India Today

Balakot air strike: Centre must give explanation when credibility questions are raised, says Digvijaya Singh

‘Were you uprooting terrorist or trees?’ Sidhu questions the purpose of Balakot strikes

What is common across these statements? First, they come from opposition party and second they are all questions. This is something like challenging emotion with a reason.  If you love someone are you really in a critical analytical mode? When you are emotionally committed to an idea or product or person you resist friction creating thoughts. We all want to enjoy in the glory and valor of our forces. The idea that they invaded and bombed is itself elating and more reported to have been killed is emotionally better (notwithstanding its correctness). Now what is the consequence of this?

Can Congress shift Indians from their emotionally charged state to cold reasoned mental state to look at the air strikes? The Congress’s attack on BJP through criticism of air strikes is unlikely to cut through the emotional firewall. If they try too hard, it would result in opposite effect of making the BJP stronger.