Why BJP Lost – Confused Positioning/Messaging?

The election results are out and UPA has scored a big run over BJP and won’t even need Left’s support to form the government.

Question that’s bugging me is whether it was Congres’ idealogy that won them this election (best result since 1977) or was it BJP’s mediocre campaign that did the trick?

Tum hamesha harte ho kyunki tum mujhe harane ki sochte rahe. Mein kabhi hara nahi kyunki mein hamesha jeet ne ki sochta raha.

Here are a few lessons for BJP:

Lack of Leadership

Advani, in my humble opinion doesn’t command the same respect as his predecessor, Vajpayee. Congress was clear when it came to leadership – Sonia Gandhi handled the party issues, Rahul/Priyanka Gandhi led the front.

Most importantly, Sonia Gandhi’s strong command over her party ensured the consistency in messaging.

Confused Messaging

Finger Worked

Advani was projected as a PM candidate, but then Narendra Modi’s name was doing the rounds as well (BJP now realizes that their biggest mistake was to promote Narendra Modi’s name as PM!) – so who was the final candidate? Advani or Modi?

BJP’s confused messaging did the trick for Congress.

As far as Congress was concerned, it was clear on PM candidature. Nobody else, but Manmohan Singh.

Youth Connection?

This election saw a significant number of youth voting for the first time – Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive campaigning did the trick and Delhi/UP results are a testimonial of the same.

BJP didn’t focus on youth at all – 80 year old is too large a gap for youth to connect to the party.

The biggest challenge for BJP was lack of youth leaders/connection – and they ended up supporting Varun Gandhi who still lived in archaic thoughts where religion was more important than anything else in the world.

Negative Negative doesn’t mean Positive

BJP’s campaigns arose negative sentiments. Congress positioned itself as a reformer.


While it’s always true that incumbent gets an advantage (can market the reform they initiated), I am 100% sure that BJP could have done a better job. They spend crores of rupees (Rs. 250 Crores for Advani’s Campaign) selling the dream to wrong target segment (Internet advertising was so damn useless – you are targeting 2-3% of the crowd, out of which only 20% will vote!).

BJP’s campaign didn’t focus on reforms, but on lack of reforms. Congress’ TV ads showcased common mass embracing Congress, while BJP was all about Advani.

Infact, BJP’s campaign was anti-UPA – and that never meant that they were better than UPA.

What’s your take? Share your opinion.

Some of the surprises :

  • P Chidambram lost, but eventually won (recounting)
  • Shashi Tharoor won
  • Mamta Bannerjee’s party TC inspite of her anti-Nano stand won.
  • Capt. Gopinath lost
  • Maneka Gandhi lost, but eventually won (recounting).

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