New Delhi: Narendra Modi has proved his critics and naysayers wrong again. They said the Congress’s creation of Telangana (at least on paper) had knocked the bottom out of his maiden venture in Andhra Pradesh. The pundits backing the Congress added that the losers of Seemandhra were livid at him and at the Bharatiya Janata Party for championing the cause of Telangana. Then they poured scorn on the Rs 5 ticket charged to attend Modi’s rally in Hyderabad prognosticating a flop show. The Gujarat chief minister ensured that their punditry came to nothing. And this will increasingly be the case as the country nears the general election.

The secret of Narendra Modi’s success lies in impeccable organization. For a political movement to spread and become successful, organization is critical. Failure and success depend on that. Modi’s training and long years with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha have sharpened his organizational skills which have been further honed as the three-time chief minister of Gujarat. His administration of Gujarat has been splendid and this has contributed to his successive electoral victories. But it would constitute at most 55 per cent of the total. The remaining 45 per cent which has brought him unsurpassed victory has come from meticulous poll planning and organization.

Politicians usually know when they are winning or losing an election. They may not tell pollsters what they know because serious politicians usually reserve contempt for them and by and large discount opinion polls because so many of them are fixed. But the fact remains that politicians linked to the grassroots have a fair idea of their chances. It is their bread and butter. But Narendra Modi does still better. He usually plays down his advantage and consequently works harder at victory. His diligence is rarely manifested and the organization is thorough that leaves little to providence. For example, in the last Gujarat election, he had a good idea of the scale of victory, but his innate conservativeness pegged the tally at one or two seats less than it turned out.

To recall the Gujarat election, he was fighting elements from within the Bharatiya Janata Party (Lal Krishna Advani was stoking dissent from Delhi); the local leaderships of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha opposed Modi; and there were Keshubhai Patel’s splinter group, the Congress and the national media arrayed against him. This writer knows politicians in Delhi who were exulting at the prospect of Modi’s defeat because they were terrified of his shift to Central politics that would affect their venal livelihood. But he proved them in gross error. He plunged into the election as if he was surrounded by enemies and left no stone unturned for victory. He brought the same passion to the Hyderabad rally, although he worked with a non-Gujarat team, led by none other than the former Bharatiya Janata Party national president, Muppavarupu Venkaiah Naidu.

The big thing in an election is to convert massive turnouts at rallies into votes. Narendra Modi knows this fundamental of electoral politics only too well. As hard as he works on ensuring capacity crowds at his gatherings, he is equally and more industrious to turn them into votes. This is the result of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha training that many of his seniors and contemporaries in the central Bharatiya Janata Party have forgotten or disdainfully eschewed. Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj are not from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha stream and naturally lack such training, although after the 2004 defeat, the Sangha did advise Swaraj and Advani to bond closer with the cadres. Advani is not disconnected from the rank and file but his status does not permit the previous closeness nor is he at an age for energetic engagement of that kind. This puts Narendra Modi head and shoulders above the rest.

The opposition Congress, for its part, is in total organizational disarray. The Nehru-Gandhis are cut away from the intimacy of national politics and the Congress’s grassroots’ links are withering away. The leadership has become distant from the masses. The dynasty is aware but powerless to stop the drift which caused the monumental defeats in the assembly elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The Congress has no one like Modi to handle governance and election management with matching dexterity and ease. The Congress, in other words, has nobody to covert turnout into victory.

In previous elections, Narendra Modi did not get a free hand to manage the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election campaign. He has now. A collective leadership may be good but it is usually incapable of visionary enterprise. The abject state of the Congress is a good example. Vision is usually the creative thought product of an individual, who then needs a strong and purposive team to put it into effect. After all, you cannot have two presidents or prime ministers running a country, unless you wish to run it to the ground, as is now the case with India. In election management, the same rule applies. The cadres usually appreciate this faster and quicker than leaderships, because they make their own objective hierarchy of successful leaders, and know with certainty whom to follow. The cadres chose Narendra Modi to lead the election campaign and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha was wise not to obstruct.

The cadres and the second- and third-line leaderships in the Bharatiya Janata Party are ecstatic with Modi’s ascent because they have got a sample of his successful formula. In the intervals that Narendra Modi is not addressing mass rallies, he would be micro-managing the 2014 general election campaign, and anyone who knows the man will tell you he has a very fair idea of where the polls are headed. His capacity to absorb details is astonishing and he often knows more about a region and its societal intricacies than local players do. He is a master of the political arithmetic and has an uncanny way of choosing the winning option. Hyderabad has given a mild savour of what he is capable of.