Raj outshines Cong & NCP with his unconventional campaign style 

ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR
Wednesday, 17 April 2019

One may not agree with Raj Thackeray’s political ideology or some ideas and methods he has followed in the past but there is no denying the fact that in today’s media and social media driven and rhetoric driven political campaign, Raj has emerged as the most YouTube friendly, social media savvy and attractive orator who has outshined the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra’s opposition space..

A lot of speculation is happening in media and out on the field about whether the so called Modi wave of 2014 general elections is still alive and which way the political winds will blow during the seven phase long 2019 poll season. In 2014 what worked for the BJP was the voting that happened in their favour in two of the largest states in the country Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The big question now is whether these two states will give a similar verdict this time. The one big factor the BJP is now getting worried about is the whirlwind campaign tours and hard hitting speeches of Maharashtra Navanirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray.

This month on 6th of April Raj Thackeray announced in Mumbai at a public rally that his party will not be contesting the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 but in the same breath he said that he will be campaigning hard to ensure that the BJP does not get too many seats in Maharashtra. Raj alleged that the BJP generally and Prime Minister Narendra Modi specifically, “has let down the people of the country with false promises”. Ever since his rally in Mumbai which was attended by thousands of supporters, Raj has made it clear on several media platforms that he will be travelling all over the state to hold public meetings and request people to vote for candidate apart from the BJP Shiv Sena saffron alliance candidate. And since then he has had tremendous response to his public rallies in various parts of the state.

In the age of social media and video driven messaging, what Raj has very smartly done is that he has been presenting videos at his rallies to prove certain points. Raj and his team have been digging out and presenting Prime Minister Modi’s old speeches and comparing those with PM Modi’s recent speeches to show how the BJP’s agenda has suddenly completely changed from ‘development’ to ‘hyper nationalism’ and how there is no word being mentioned about the promises given during the 2014 election campaign. Because of video evidence being presented on stage, the speeches become very convincing. A technique which has never been used at political rallies ever in Maharashtra.

Raj Thackeray till now known for his parochial rhetoric and somewhat brash ways of protecting traditions, now suddenly looks like a modern and tech savvy angry young leader delivering not just a political speech but “making a presentation” before the modern young and middle aged voters of Maharashtra. Raj clearly outshines any of the Congress or NCP leaders in the state who seem to have no young leader that can even match half of Raj Thackeray’s fire power.

The Congress and NCP is seen heavily depending on Raj Thackeray’s oratory to push forward their political agenda in key constituencies, a situation nobody could have imagined just six months ago. This might work well for the Lok Sabh poll season but during assembly polls slated to take place in October 2019 the opposition parties will have to come up with some faces that can match Raj Thackery’s charisma and firepower or else the Cong-NCP opposition in Maharashtra will really look sad depending on Raj Thackery for their political crusade.

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