India: BJP needs much more than a BlackBerry app

India’s Bharatiya Janata Party, main opposition to the ruling Congress party, has launched a BlackBerry app. Through this app the party wants to stay in touch with BlackBerry users by providing live information, videos, information about the party and a way to connect to the BJP Facebook fan page.

Is that cool? Not exactly. You know what’s cool? For a political party to concentrate on what matters the most, to decide upon a leader and rally around him or her and to actually have a strategy. A smartphone app is just that, an app.

Number of app downloads! = number of votes.

Making an app might not have cost the party much money and it can probably make one for Android and iPhone too. But this section of the crowd, especially the BlackBerry owners is very small. 1 million smartphones are sold in India every month. As per some estimates there are 1 million BlackBerry users in India.

And these million users might not be voters yet as BlackBerry is extremely popular with students. So why bother for a fraction?

What does BJP need?

My politics is little rusty. But let me give it a shot.

From what I have seen so far BJP needs to tell the country who the leader is. Who would be their Prime Ministerial candidate? BJP has always played this game of not revealing who their leader would be. In the times of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it was more than evident that Vajpayee is the leader. Now it is not so. There is Advani who is an octogenarian and there is young Narendra Modi who made it abundantly clear that he is BJP’s man for the post.

Like BJP, Congress has never revealed who their leader will be. But it was understood that leadership would always lie with the Gandhi family. Either through Prime Ministership or through Congress party presidency. Congress party doesn’t seem to differentiate between those two roles. BJP doesn’t have the same advantage. A Blackberry app doesn’t give a leg up.