How JMM's Hemant Soren Outdid BJP At Election Game In Jharkhand

Jharkhand Election Results 2019: Three aspects were critical to this plan - understanding and addressing local issues, expanding Hemant Soren's appeal beyond tribals and pit his "humility" against the "arrogance" of the BJP's Raghubar Das, the outgoing Chief Minister.

How JMM's Hemant Soren Outdid BJP At Election Game In Jharkhand

Jharkhand Election Results: Complete strategy change helped script Hemant Soren's remarkable turnaround

Ranchi, Jharkhand: A team of "specialists" from universities like Oxford and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), a creative social media campaign and a complete change of strategy helped script Hemant Soren's remarkable turnaround in Jharkhand after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Lok Sabha debacle earlier this year. A 10-point agenda was prepared and executed over a two-month "Badlav (change) Yatra" that ended with a rally in Ranchi on October 19. Three aspects were critical to this plan - understanding and addressing local issues, expanding Mr Soren's appeal beyond tribals and pit his "humility" against the "arrogance" of the BJP's Raghubar Das, the outgoing Chief Minister.

Here is a look at the 10-point plan:

  1. Speeches that also offered solutions. For example, if Mr Soren called the Prime Minister's Awaas Yojana (housing scheme) inefficient, he promised a Rs 3 lakh house with integrated toilet and kitchen.

  2. Operation Soren started in March 2018 with 12 specialists. The team deep-dived into all speeches, national and state controversies and policy research and handed Mr Soren the "documents" to study during drives and before rallies.

  3. JMM's strategists made it a presidential-style battle between the "friendly, people-friendly" Mr Soren and "unapproachable and surly" Raghubar Das.

  4. JMM upped its social media game. It is among the rare parties whose district Twitter handles are also verified. Every rally and public meeting went live on social media and every small interaction was posted and a direct interactive approach was used on Facebook.

  5. Mr Soren's aides say he took out nearly 165 rallies in 28 days, covering each constituency at least twice. Numerous back-channel meetings were organised by his team with civil society organisations, activists, government workers unions and associations.

  6. The party's own social media volunteer team was trained in 2018 and placed in districts to pull out local narratives from the ground to counter the BJP's grassroots machinery.

  7. The speeches focused on Jharkhand's local issues whereas the BJP's focused only on nationalism and Article 370.

  8. A team of public policy, communication and consulting specialists from the universities of Oxford, Sussex, Essex and TISS mapped issues in great detail and carried out field analyses.

  9. A "Sangharsh Yatra" portioned in five stages over six months (September 2018 to March 2019) established him in every corner of Jharkhand.

  10. The communication strategy was built on the keyword "emotion". That meant showcasing Mr Soren the person (show his personal side - humility, simplicity, ability to mingle and caring).



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