Bowing to the epitome of India’s electoral democracy – Narendra Modi touching his forehead to the steps of the Parliament building and breaking down during his first visit

Calling BJP his mother during his speech in the central hall of the Parliament – reacting gracefully and in a choked voice on L K Advani’s statement on ‘doing favour to the BJP’ and remembering and missing Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s presence

Clubbing 17 ministries under 7 ministers – small government, more governance as Modi says – let’s see the flow of the flow in the days when it matters

Department of Personal and Training circular that says the ministers cannot appoint relatives in their personal staff

ACC – Appointments Coordination Committee – a PMO committee headed by Narendra Modi responsible for appointing the staff members of the ministers ‘depriving’ ministers of this ‘privilege’

Abolishing GoMs and EGoMs – group of ministers and ‘empowered group of ministers – on a performance audit, most of the 68 GoMs and 14 EGoMs will fail miserably – the white elephants eating into the Parliament’s budget and delaying the decision-making process

Slamming the BJP MP from Barabanki, Priyanka Singh Rawat, for appointing her father her representative for her parliamentary constituency, forcing her to withdraw the decision

Addressing the ‘behind the scene workers’ of the BJP head office in Delhi – recognizing their efforts in a long, effective speech with connecting words by revisiting his long stay in a room of the BJP office – the event with a narrow spectrum of party’s office outreach reached to the nation

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Or the real tea-seller?

Narendra Modi or Lalu Prasad Yadav?

‘I am the real one.’ – Lalu Yadav has made this startling claim in response to Narendra Modi’s efforts to draw electoral mileage from his tea-selling past.

Before this, we did not know that we had any other political dignitary that Mr. Modi from the tea-selling background.

But, Mr. Yadav’s words imply that Mr. Modi’s claims are not to be taken seriously.

Lalu Yadav has contended that Narendra Modi’s claims of being a tea-seller in his childhood days are not creditworthy. Mr. Yadav says he is the original (real) tea-seller of the Indian politics.

Lalu Yadav, who has been notoriously famous for his funny remarks and bantered speeches, said he never found it necessary to tell people about his tea-selling childhood days.

Modesty it may be, but, we cannot say this was a compassionate decision. Whatever be the truth behind Mr. Modi’s tea-boy time, he has eternally been on it, claiming and promoting his tea-selling past. He has been a durable brand ambassador for the tea-sellers across the country.

Lalu Yadav’s tea-selling background could have been a bonus on that. The additional branding mileage that they would have got with Lalu’s endorsement could well have expedited their arrival on the political scene much before. Tea-sellers should sue Lalu Yadav for this unnecessary delay.

Okay, that is for the loss of the tea-vendors and they need to think about that. But Lalu, too, has harmed his political prospects by proclaiming his tea-selling background so late. Suppose, if he plans to counter Modi’s ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ by launching a parallel discussion-on-tea sort of exercise, he would not be able to gain support from the tea-vendors.

And given the prospect of significant political returns by this branding exercise (reaching around 200 million people in 300 cities same day, same time, every week, until the Lok Sabha polls are held), Mr. Yadav’s reaction is natural.

But, how can this be Mr. Modi’s fault if Lalu Yadav could not see the opportunity to gain electoral mileage from the mighty cup of tea, part of almost every Indian’s daily routine, at home, in office, at the roadside tea-stall? If Lalu acted late then why is he blaming Mr. Modi now?

Also, Mr. Yadav needs to blame Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar before blaming Mr. Modi, the senior Congress politician whose ill-timed jibe at Narendra Modi’s tea-selling past gave Mr. Modi an idea to exploit the public sentiments by connecting to the people during their tea-time at tea-vending spots, dotted across the country, to sell his ‘for the common man’ dreams in the typical common-man-way.

Mr. Aiyar, a member of Lalu Yadav’s political ally Congress, should have discussed first it with Mr. Yadav, before targeting Mr. Modi. Based on his vast political experience and his magnanimous silence on his tea-selling background, Mr. Yadav could have advised Mr. Aiyar well.

But that is a lost opportunity now. Like with several other precedents, this time too, Ahmedabad has scored over Patna.

In the age of hyped up political branding exercises, Mr. Modi has moved first and has accelerated fast.

Whether he was a tea-boy or not doesn’t matter now. Who’s the real one, Mr. Modi or Mr. Yadav, is a futile question in the prevailing political circumstances with Mr. Modi clearly jetting ahead with his first-mover advantage.

Mr. Yadav, better luck next time.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


A tea-stall in his teens! A tea-boy! A tea-seller!

Narendra Modi has always been claiming so. His party has being saying so. It happens to be the baseline of his profiling anywhere and everywhere – the tea-seller who became a chief minister – the tea-seller who became the prime-ministerial nominee of the Opposition alliance in the world’s largest democracy.

Narendra Modi has enjoyed a numero uno sort of position on the political ramifications of the tea-selling proposition. No other politician had challenged his position in the past as none of them could see any point of electoral mileage in that.

Tea-selling was never an issue before. It was never an electoral issue.

But, it is a hot-issue now. It is a hotly debated electoral issue now.

Yes, selling tea was never so hot.

The temperature has got so steamed up that politicians are engaging in active debate over it with some claiming to be the cohorts of the profession.

Mr. Modi has come up with a massive political branding exercise ‘Chai Pe Charcha with NaMo’ (Discussion on Tea) themed on the ubiquitous tea-time in every Indian’s lifestyle.

Interestingly, this ‘tea themed political discourse’ has its origin in a political remark of the Congress politician Mani Shankar Aiyar who, in a Congress meet in Delhi last month, had taken a jibe at Mr. Modi enumerating on later’s prime-ministerial aspirations and his tea-selling past. (“There is no way he (Modi) can be Prime Minister in the 21st century… but if he wants to come and distribute tea here we can make some room for him.”)

Politically silly statement it was. But it gave Mr. Modi and the BJP an idea to encash on the public-sentiments by exploiting the elements of the ‘Aam Aadmi’ (common man) politics. Tea time is anywhere and everywhere in Indian lives and Mr. Aiyar’s statement gave the BJP idea its peg to theme an elaborate political branding campaign around tea-time in public places.

Now, it’s an undisputed fact that Narendra Modi is the most efficient political campaigner and political brand manager in the Indian polity today. This ‘Chai Pe Charcha’, reaching around 200 million people (BJP’s assessment) in 300 cities same day, same time, every week, until the Lok Sabha polls are held, looks set to become a brilliant electoral campaign.

That is significant for extracting the political mileage during an election time when the ‘Aam Aadmi’ sentiment is running high with the stunning debut of the Aam Aadmi Party in the Indian politics that fought on the poll-planks of corruption and political ascendancy of the common man.

And with that, Mr. Modi has got the first contender to his numero-uno position on his tea-selling roots. The once formidable politician of Bihar who ruled a state and played a kingmaker in the national politics is now claiming that he is the original tea-seller of the Indian politics.

Politically interesting days ahead folks!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Irrespective of the debate – whether Narendra Modi as country’s prime minister is good or bad for India – one thing is quite clear that Modi is the most popular political leader in the country and why he is so popular is exactly the reason he is going to be the biggest vote-puller for the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the upcoming elections.

The BJP and the rest in the NDA realize it well and so the decision taken by Nitish Kumar and so the Janta Dal (United) (yes, Nitish, by his autocratic work style, has converted JDU into a one-man show) is going to hit them back if the BJP-JDU split is a true divorce!

So what makes Modi the most popular political leader in the country (not deliberating on the qualitative aspects of this popularity and its implications)?

A gradual journey to the political top from a poor background: Coming from an Other Backward Classes (OBC) family with limited means of survival, Modi’s organizational journey, first in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) and then in the BJP, and his political journey from local to regional to national level spans a period of over two decades.

He has earned his political milestones. He has weathered the survival odds. He is a self-made man, a self-made politician and a self-made achiever.

The communal tag: Now here, it is a combination of factors that may sound uneasy and may not be good for the democratic fabric of the country, but works well on Narendra Modi’s pro-Hindutva hardliner image.

Hindus are divided across many caste and sub-caste lines and vote accordingly but Modi has pulled them together in Gujarat (religion being the major factor working in tandem with the development track and the Gujarati pride) and it is largely due to his pro-Hindu hardliner image after the Gujarat riots that he has been performing exceedingly well in the elections.

He is the biggest polarizer of the Hindu votes across the caste and sub-caste lines owing to this Hindu hardliner image and he has the capacity to take his appeal out of Gujarat in the national political arena.

The developmental politics icon: Whatever be said, but Modi has worked as an efficient manager for the development of Gujarat. He has earned not just the national praise, but also the international acclaim.

Being from OBC: The Mandal Commission had said that the OBCs were 52 per cent of the Indian population. Okay, that was a long time ago and these definitions keep on changing, still they form a sizeable chunk and Modi, being an OBC, can unite the OBC votes, backing on his pro-Hindu hardliner image, in his favour, across the country.

A pro-Hindu hardliner and an OBC, who also talks and acts for development – the combination has the potential to upturn almost every political equation existing in the country.

Corruption free personal and family image: He is single. He has a family including mother and brothers. He has been alleged of working for corporate interests. But he has never been alleged of indulging in corruption at personal and family level. That makes him a class apart in an Indian politics soaked in corruption.

It is combination of these factors at play along with Modi’s highly customized and effective oratory that makes him, undoubtedly, the most popular political leader of the country at the moment.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


No publicity is good or bad. Every publicity event now delivers some good because it enhances the imagery in public perception by repeating on the recall value. Value system is changing. Most values have changed. They are not values anymore. Putting things this way may still be half true in the social milieu of India but it is absolutely true for the politicians and the public perception about them in the prevailing political circumstances of India.

So, irrespective of the endless discussions on the implications of the L K Advani resignation episode, the final outcome comes to the one foyer only, that it gave Bhartiya Janta Party and L K Advani some heavy dose of (and required) media exposure that, until now, for the BJP, mostly Narendra Modi or Narendra Modi related developments were getting.

This heavy media exposure that began two-three days before the BJP National Executive in Goa (June 7-9) and built on the speculation that Advani was opposed to Narendra Modi’s elevation as the chairman of the BJP central election committee for the next parliamentary, scaled new highs as the events at the meet unfolded with Adavani postponing joining the meet, finally saying he could not make it due to ill health, reached to deafening loudness with Advani resigning on Monday and culminated yesterday, when Advani withdrew his resignation, all much like a scripted story.

All this kept the news carriers glued to the developments as and when they were happening. And as every news carrier was on it, so was the news-watching and reading audience universe that forms a sizeable chunk of this country’s population. Print and electronic media, together, now covers almost whole of the country and news developments travel in real time on the back of advanced information and communication technologies.

So, it was BJP, L K Advani and Narendra Modi all over. Though Narendra Modi prevailed in cornering the maximum exposure till Advani resigned, the carriers did justice in the aftermath of Advani’s resignation giving equal footage to Advani and BJP. The beleaguered NDA too, got good enough attention here.

In a country where the politics and the politicians have been unanimously branded corrupt, someone taking a stand for personal gains at the cost of larger group interests (can be applied with Advani and Modi both), doesn’t create a brand crisis, be it for brand BJP or brand Advani or brand Modi. The public understands that politicians see their self-interest first and do no compromises on that.

Isn’t it?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


No one can say anything about this ‘why’ with certainty except L K Advani but in doing so, he unwittingly gives the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Congress the breather that the corruption-tainted party and the alliance have been looking for, especially after the decimation it faced in the recently held bypolls where Narendra Modi performed exceedingly well.

Let’s do some wild-analysing (with some guesses):

Was it a fad of an octogenarian who was angry after his line was not taken into account in an organization that he had been a founding member of?

If that is so, like almost of the grandpas, Advani too, would be mollified after he is made feel that his importance in the outfit is still intact. Political developments are well on that way. The whole Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leadership is in a huddle and Mr. Advani’s resignation has been rejected unanimously.

Or Mr. Adavani was worried about the larger picture that Mr. Modi’s elevation as the BJP poll committee chairman for the 2014 general elections would cause irreparable splits in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and would repel the potential allies that might join the NDA as the election approached near. Mr. Modi has a communally controversial image that many political outfits fear to identify with.

But that communally controversial image may be the biggest vote multiplier for the BJP and NDA as well because Narendra Modi is the only leader in the country who can polarize the Hindu votes across the caste and class divides. If that happens, the BJP and NDA would easily sail through.

Or according to a colleague who opined that Rajnath Singh could not have taken such a big decision without Advani’s consent and this whole drama was BJP orchestrated to generate buzz around BJP’s national executive meet in Goa and around the party as a whole.

He was of the opinion that BJP’s presence in media and in public’s perception was getting monotonous and the party was in desperate need to create some high-voltage coverage to make BJP a buzz word again right before the take-off phase of the upcoming general elections scheduled for 2014 but developments say that it might well be held in 2013 itself.

Or let me add to it that the brand Narendra Modi was getting bigger than the brand BJP and the BJP central leadership including Mr. Advani was wary of it.

As the developments are progressing, it tells the gamble is well on the way of paying dividends with the whole nation and the media glued to the events going live and the whole BJP leadership at the doorsteps of Advani’s residence to mollify him to take his resignation back. Reportedly, Advani is unhappy with Modi. Now if Advani prevails, it will place the brand BJP above the brand Narendra Modi again.

But the burning question remains – can Advani lead the BJP and the NDA to the victory in the upcoming parliamentary elections?

Even Modi cannot be claimed to work some magic for the BJP in the next elections but one thing is certainly clear that Modi is far bigger, probably the tallest vote-puller for the BJP and the NDA than Advani in the prevailing political circumstances.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –