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Siddaramaiah Established 'Connective Action' With Electorate After Quick Responses to Modi's Charges

Power in a Hybrid Media environment - the two aver - is wielded by those who know “when to act quickly, and when to delay, when to devote intensive attention to the pursuit of a goal, when to repeat, when to act alone, and when to coordinate” an action.

Sumit Pande | News18.com

Updated:May 2, 2018, 9:36 AM IST
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Siddaramaiah Established 'Connective Action' With Electorate After Quick Responses to Modi's Charges
File image of PM Narendra Modi and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah.
New Delhi: Political scientists Lance Bennett and Alexander Sergerberg in their seminal work on the impact of Connective Action in political communication demonstrate how timing of a political reaction effects a desired outcome in a given situation.

Power in a Hybrid Media environment - the two aver - is wielded by those who know “when to act quickly, and when to delay, when to devote intensive attention to the pursuit of a goal, when to repeat, when to act alone, and when to coordinate” an action.

The first day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign and instant ripostes by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah are a classical example in this genre of political communication.

With limited internet penetration, news and information in India is circulated in Hybrid Media environment. Which means new and legacy media dovetail and overlap to create complex field of mass communication for the proliferation of information. The legacy media, on the contrary, operates purely on the conventional model where broadcaster wields enormous power.

Prime Minister Modi’s rallies in poll-bound Karnataka had three distinct features. In getting a Kannada translator, Modi tried to blunt Siddaramaiah’s case on Kannadiga sub-nationalism. Basically, BJP in Karnataka was attempting to avoid the ‘Bihari vs Bahari’ trap they fell for during Bihar polls in 2015.

The second noticeable aspect of Prime Minister’s speeches was a sharp attack on the Congress on dynastic politics. In this regard, denial of ticket to BS Yeddyurappa’s son seems to be a well thought out decision.

Third, the Prime Minister by attacking Rahul Gandhi in his elections speeches has tried to drag in the Congress national leadership. In the initial phases of electioneering, BJP to some extent had played on with Congress’ tactic of making Karnataka polls a Modi vs Siddaramaiah contest.

This strategy has yielded rich dividends to the party in states since 2014. With the exception of two - Delhi and Bihar - where the strong local leadership has challenge BJP’s star vote catcher to emerge victorious.

In mocking Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister has attempted to temper the Modi vs Siddaramaiah binary in Karnataka polls.

The Congress party - despite its status quoist tendencies - was surprisingly quick and nimble in its response to Prime Minister’s statements. Karnataka CM fired the first salvo Tuesday morning when he tweeted a sarcastic welcome to the PM.

This was followed by a continuous commentary on Twitter, as Siddaramaiah continually responded to all major points raised by Modi in his election speeches.

The CM was joined in by other powerful Congress voices to create a collective chorus of rebuttals on the social media and elsewhere in what would be classified as Connective Action in political communication in Hybrid Media environment demonstrated by Bennett and Sergerberg.

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