BJP indeed had built the First Mover advantages over a period of time on two topics Hindutva and Nationalism
In Corporate parlance, there is a term: First Mover Advantage. When a company introduces a product or service for the first time, it gets a Competitive Advantage, simply because it came first. It can work on establishing its brand and can even fine-tune the expectations of the public. Hopefully, it builds a good customer base, something like a sprinter establishes a great gap between him and the next person in the race.
Unless the product is a monopoly (the chances of which are very rare), the other companies are going to follow suit soon. So, unless the first-mover establishes a great lead, it is likely to become an ‘also ran’.
Examples are plenty. Amazon which started selling books without a brick-and-mortar shop and e-bay which started selling all things over the internet. Near home also, you can find companies like Oyo, Paytm, Bounce and Zoom.
It is not the interest of the article to find if the approach was right or wrong – but it may be observed that BJP got an excellent First Mover Advantage through Hinduism Or Hindutv
But the business, as one can appreciate is believed to be continuous and when the First Mover Advantage starts fading especially when the others are close to catching up, the business has to do something for survival.
It is not difficult to find out what is being talked about.
It is BJP.
I am sure that BJP itself would love to project a Corporate Culture towards transparency and clean processes. In fact, an article Six Marketing Strategies behind Narendra Modi’s Election Victory acknowledges Corporate style strategies for Narendra Modi’s elevation to the Center . Further, as India Today noted in the article (as late as 23-Jan-2020) on Modi’s popularity, he may still have the mojo left and hence our analysis relating to First Mover will not be applicable to him, personally.
But it is different from BJP, whose footprint has shrunk significantly across the country.
BJP indeed had built the First Mover advantages over a period of time on two topics or ‘products’:
(a) Hindutva / Religion
The above advantages saw the success of the BJP in several states. Voters loved it as it was something different. They were used to seeing the leaders only with skull caps and participating in Iftar parties and going to temples without any fanfare – in fact with some kind of guilt exhibited.
The BJP changed it.
It expressed its interest in temples and Hinduism to such an extent that several churches started taking positions against the BJP. Read the article where Delhi Archbishop defended his letter to churches for special prayers before the 2019 elections with a less-convincing claim that it has nothing to do with Modi .
BJP did not hesitate in refusing a skull cap .
Also, somewhat related is the introduction of EWS (Economically Weaker Section) quota wherein 10% quota was introduced for the General category .
Of course, the foundation had been strongly placed by Advani in 1990 by way of Rath Yatra projecting BJP as the saviour for the Hindus – who were not finding any leaders acknowledging their value .
It is not the interest of the article to find if the approach was right or wrong – but it may be observed that BJP got an excellent First Mover Advantage through Hinduism Or Hindutva if you prefer.
Initially, the other competitors were making fun of this pursuit of Hinduism. But when they realized that there seemed to be advantages with that approach, they did not hesitate to ask for a pie in it. Suddenly, somebody became a Janeu-Dhari Hindu, though personally several people did not understand the transformation . And the competition became wiser and wiser: they started riding both horses. One side they will recite Hanuman Chalisa and the other side they had a (later-successful) MLA talk about CAA as anti-muslim. Of course, Hanuman Chalisa and Sundar Kand made the BJP somewhat upset 
One would think that if Hindutva spreads, the BJP should have been happier. But it was not to be so. In fact, it hurt the party politically.
Surely the BJP has more things to talk about as the past performance. It can still keep the surprise element intact when the attacks happen – but what is important is to realize that advantages have to come from the past and no more from the future.
It is worth recalling a story here from the Internet.
There was a religious place near which somebody opened a liquor bar. The religious people were upset and requested the bar people to close the bar. Naturally, they did not agree and the request became an argument and then a curse: ‘God will take care’. That night indeed there was lightning destroying the bar. Religious people were happy.
But the bar people were very upset. They went to the court and declared that because the religious people had cursed, God destroyed their place and so, they should give compensation. Religious people were not in a position for accepting this and they said that their using God’s name was only as a general statement and there was no power in the curse. The judge was flabbergasted and said: “This is the first time in history where the religious people claim that there is no God and the liquor bar people believe that there is God.
It becomes clear that the Hindutva can be no more a tool in the arsenal and its utility has been fully exhausted.
The next early mover advantage occurred in the area of nationalism: Nation is their blood. They will hunt all anti-nationals and put them through legal punishment. They are going to avenge all past adventurism and set right the mistakes. One nation is their interest.
It all sounded great!
370 was an ideal candidate for establishing the advantage. But, for how long, can one talk about it? It may be done so for some brownie points. But after some time, people almost started believing that “past performance does not guarantee future results!”
Just like the others stole the idea of Hindutva, they are stealing the idea of nationalism too. People who are projected to be anti-national started showing Indian Flags respectfully and recite National Anthem with more respect. The Court also started holding that protesters need not be ‘gaddar’s.
So, the second First Mover Advantage is also at a decreasing marginal utility stage.
What does a Corporate do once the first-mover advantage is exhausted.
Either it has to find more such advantages or just build on the past, realizing the window for the first-mover advantage is not too wide. Building on the past can take over at this stage.
In Corporates, track helps employees get increments and gives confidence to the employers on the potential of the employee leading to her promotion. The same is the story for the companies themselves. The track gives confidence to the public, who will not fall for the first-mover advantage any more.
This is true for the BJP too. It need not look for any more first-mover advantages but concentrate on track record. As The Hindu analyzed AAP’s recent performance, it concluded that talking about performance provided the best pitch for its win .
Surely the BJP has more things to talk about as the past performance. It can still keep the surprise element intact when the attacks happen – but what is important is to realize that advantages have to come from the past and no more from the future. Nobody is ready to sit and verify.
 Six Marketing Strategies Behind Narendra Modi’s Election Victory – June 11, 2014, Great Lakes
 Narendra Modi still best PM ever, Indira Gandhi 2nd: MOTN survey – Jan 23, 2020, India Today
 Nothing to Do With Modi’: Delhi Archbishop Defends Letter Calling for Prayers, Fasting Before 2019 – May 22, 2018, New18
 Narendra Modi refuses to put on ‘skull cap offered by Muslim cleric’ – Sep 19, 2011, The Times Of India
 Modi govt okays 10% quota in general category. Here’s who will benefit – Jan 7, 2019, Hindustan Times
 Ram Rath Yatra – Wikipedia
 Rahul Gandhi Is Janeu-Dhari Hindu, Says Congress – Nov 30, 2017, Outlook
 If AAP Wins Delhi, PM Modi Shouldn’t Worry In The Least – Feb 10, 2020, NDTV
 BJP mocking me ever since I recited Hanuman Chalisa Kejriwal – Feb 8, 2020,The Hindu
 For AAP performance is perfect poll pitch – Jan 12, 2020,The Hindu
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
- Disappearing First Mover Advantages - February 22, 2020
I think all are confused. Let us not give jargons like first mover… and all these things in confusing ourselves and others. In Delhi Kejriwal gave a better administration as compared to Congress or even BJP by giving basic necessities and also some what a very less corrupt Government. This has been appreciated by the people at large. This, until it continues, shall be USP for Kejri team. all Hindutva or natioanalism all these things are okay and people immediately dont decide that parties are anti national unless they are like MIM, SDPI, TMC … etc. So Kejri if he continues to do good job, then he has a fair chance of coming back again. In fact I am a very staunch supporter of Modi and even like BJP as a national party. But BJP also has some CMs not so good like YPPA.
Can the author clarify why hindutva and nationalism is tagged to BJP ? In fact who invented hindutva and who follows it and in what way it is different from any Hindu practice. Further what is nationalism ?
Basically the two terminology sprung after India was sliced into Muslim Pak and Hindu India.All Hindus practiced one Hinduism and all were lovers of their motherland since centuries. Pseudo Hindus and political parties invented hindutva to demonise Hinduism and nationalism and to fool gullible Hindus by surrendering to minorities. All BJP has done was to maintain harmony in the country , treating everyone equal. On the contrary BJP has not provided any religious advantages to Hindus.
There are many incomplete agendas of BJP, namely UCC, population policy, freedom to administer temples, removing minority benefits to other religions etc . These are the principles in a democratic functioning of a nation. By providing these , BJP is not doing any favours but correcting errors done deliberately by vested anti Hindu groups in the past. India’s narrative is hindu culture which is its identity card and if people want to be associated with it, so be it.