#AssamPolls: Has BJP moved away from Modi-only campaign formula?

Has the Bharatiya Janata Party moved away from Modi-takes-the-center-stage style of campaigning? Anyone in Guwahati who is listening to the local FM stations must have noticed the massive airtime the party has ‘purchased’ to let the voters know about its CM candidate – Sarbananda Sonowal.

“Xokolute Ananda, Sarbananda” is a peppy number by singer Zubeen Garg and the song portrays the BJP in the state as a harbinger of happiness and prosperity for its people. The song begins on a celebratory note and registers the “Xokolute Ananda, Sarbananda” slogan four times before the “Lotus blossoms” thereby making it sure the listener doesn’t miss the main areas of thrust. The four-minute video focuses on one man — the BJP chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal.

Unlike the campaign for other elections, wherein the BJP put forth PM Narendra Modi as the sole face of the party, in Assam the party gave center-stage to its CM candidate. Political experts say the defeat in Bihar was a blow to the party and the party wanted to harp of the comparatively cleaner image of Sarbananda Sonowal to call for a change in Assam.

Interestingly during the Bihar elections, voices within the BJP wanted a stronger projection of a local leader and the loss may have led to a slight change in plan for the party. Although the prime minister and BJP president Amit Shah are visible in the campaign video, the song’s lyrics – being played on radio – hails the CM candidate as the messenger of change.

The song also does not fail to play up on the immigrant situation, warning the Assamese voters at one stage that if they vote for the Congress, they will lose their rights within the state. The influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants has been a major election plank in Assam.

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