Lost narrative battle to Congress, why BJP's IT Cell needs a revamp

Niraj Sharma
New Update
Amit Malviya BJP

Amit Malviya (File photo)

New Delhi: Though the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has taken office for a third consecutive term under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the work of the saffron unit’s Information Technology Cell has come under intense scrutiny after the Lok Sabha results.

The loss of narrative setting battle during the campaign process in the general elections isn’t being seen kindly, with several senior leaders calling for widespread changes in how the party’s IT Cell operates. 

The role of BJP’s IT Cell in-charge is considered very important for any political party in this age as it is the chief department, apart from star campaigners of the political outfit, that ensures that a narrative that suits the saffron unit takes shape in the nation ahead of any crucial polls.

Added to losing the narrative battle to the opposition, BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya is also being saddled with the blame for losing West Bengal. Being the party’s in-charge of the crucial state, he couldn’t increase or even retain the BJP’s Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal in the face of stiff opposition from the Trinamool Congress. The top leadership was expecting gains in the state, however, the state was lost as the in-charge allegedly apparently didn't come to the aid of the party cadres when they came under violent attack by the TMC workers, sources pointed out.

The call for Malviya’s scalp has been making the rounds for some time, even as he has been blamed for acting high-handedly with party spokespersons and not listening to senior leaders.

Why is maintaining a strong hold on social media important for the BJP?

The BJP is known to have maintained a tight grip over the political and social discourse prevalent on various social media platforms ever since it was swept to power in 2014.

While all political parties have dedicated voters and support bases amongst people in their late 20s and above, the need to maintain a tight grip over social media emanates from the fact that it is used most often by the younger generation and first-time voters.

If any party can woo these youngsters and first-time voters, they will have an advantage as this vote can augment their existing, well-entrenched vote banks, sources pointed out.

The inability to set the agenda on social media, ahead of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha polls, is being considered one of the prominent reasons that the BJP performed so badly in various parts of the country. The saffron leadership feels that its IT Cell was unable to counter the narrative being established by the Congress and its INDIA bloc allies.

Amongst the various issues raised by the opposition that the BJP’s IT Cell wasn’t able to clarify or give a counter-narrative were Agniveer Scheme’s impact on the army and youth, attempts to change the Constitution and alleged move to abolish reservations for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, amongst others.

With Congress now well entrenched on social media, and beating the BJP in its agenda-setting game, the saffron unit will do well if it relooks at the roles of various leaders in key positions in its IT Cell, sources said.   

The BJP, if it wants to regain the hold over the narrative battle in the social media space in the future, needs to complete and swiftly overhaul its IT unit. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, with a lesser number of seats in Lok Sabha and straddled with a wider coalition of allies, the need to get a hold over the nation’s political discourse and narrative is now extremely important for the BJP as it attempts to thwart the growth of an emboldened opposition camp ahead of next electoral battle.