The game as BJP sees it

If the BJP thought dividing India on communal lines was an election-winning strategy, then that's what they would have done in 2014. Instead of "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas", they would have gone with something classic Hindutva. Something truly divisive. But they didn't.

They played development and growth and stuff. They won. They played small business, they played IT hub, they played pro-digital. It was all pretend of course, and also wildly beyond their capacity to deliver. They literally did U-turns on several issues. After saying UPA was wrong to bring FDI, Aadhaar, and GST, they brought all those things. Much of it ended in spectacular failure of course because of their sheer incompetence and their tendency to believe their own hype about their own abilities.

They do know actual experts on policy and economic matters will laugh them out of the room if they told them their grand Hindu nation economic powerhouse plans formulated by RSS ideologues, so they don't do it anymore. Laws are passed without discussion and without forethought and the information vacuum generated by their suppression of stats and data is filled with overt and covert religious propaganda. Citizens are called traitors when they complain and government institutions are being filled with RSS sympathisers.

The only reason the BJP is doubling down on vile hatred on all fronts is because it's their core area of expertise. It is the one thing their entire history has trained them to do - abuse, lies, and hatred. That's it. The sum total of the Sanghi repertoire.

Unfortunately, some of their core assumptions about India are wrong. They had banked on the "national security" rhetoric to carry them through State elections. That obviously didn't work. Modi still evokes sympathy in large parts of India, but as a PM. BJP's strategy of banking on brand Modi didn't work in the states because people in states probably don't have national security on their mind when voting for a Chief Minister. They'll happily keep the BJP in power even in 2024, but I think playing the same tune - same face, same tone, same argument - every single time is pissing people off.

And as a result, the BJP is no longer a very federalism-friendly party. In Delhi, there isn't even a Chief Ministerial candidate. The whole thing is being attempted on the assumption that people will get swayed by the appeal of a centralised system. People often don't.