WHATS TRENDING ON 65TH REPUBLIC DAY: CAMPAIGNING FOR THE CAMPAIGNS

The beginning was made when the assembly elections of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (and Mizoram) were announced.

The mini-theatre gave ample, even more than enough, representation to the tools of political communication.

Advertising mileage, branding linkage and marketing deliverance – every tool was exploited.

And the colloseum of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls is going to reflect the magnified scale of these tools used in the mini theatre in operation in the last quarter of 2013.

The players, the coaches, the platforms – all are greasing up to campaign for the campaigns that are going to sweep the nation.

The direct, the indirect, the ‘above-the-line’, the ‘below-the-line’, the explicit, the restrained, the provocative, the diminutive – every possible tool in the communication manuals is going to be used and re-used.

UPA’s Bharat Nirman, NDA’s efforts to undoing the ‘Bharat Nirman’, attacks, counter-attacks and allurements of other political outfits in the communication space – until now, the space has seen use of ‘flighting’, the intermittent burst of advertising campaigns.

Now, with the Lok Sabha polls just two months away, be prepared to weather round the clock, 360 Degree ‘continuity’ of political communication right into your homes, in your lives, with regular intermittent bursts of overdose.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SAME DAY, SAME TIME: NARENDRA MODI IN PATNA DWARFS RAHUL GANDHI’S (RALLY) IN DELHI

NARENDRA MODI VS RAHUL GANDHI

The campaign heat is going up. It is throwing interesting developments and the frequency is getting more frequent every passing day, as the assembly poll dates in the five states approach closer, as the scramble to score points for the upcoming parliamentary polls get more intensive.

If we talks of campaigning and communication management, it has been a Narendra Modi show overall.

The way political developments are shaping up, it is supposed to be a full-scale Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi blitzkrieg as the campaigning for the General Elections 2014 enters its decisive, final leg in 2014. The process is already on the launch-pad with the assembly polls in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram scheduled to be held in November-December.

Today, we saw first glimpse of it.

Today, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi both had rallies almost at the same time. Narendra Modi’s Hunkaar Rally in Patna, that saw serial bombs blasts in the city, formally unveiled his Bihar leg of campaigning while Rahul’s Delhi rally was more focused at the Delhi assembly election next month.

The comparison was inevitable but soon, it became clear, there was nothing much to compare.

Modi delivered 90 minutes of customized, localized, nationalized and well-improvised show full of punches, that the massive crowd in Patna, the airwaves people and the people hooked to the airwaves, found much more newsworthy and watchable while Rahul’s show was a poor repetition of what he says in almost every election rally, the dull revisionism of attributing all that is good in India to the Congress party.

Eyeballs, insights, analyses – Narendra Modi cornered all, effectively pushing the Rahul Gandhi show to the programming junk of ‘fillers’.

Congress, its strategists, the Team Rahul Gandhi and the heavyweights entrusted to manage public opinion though media need to be wary of it.

They need to think why Narendra Modi’s aggressive style makes him more interesting (and relevant) to listen to while Rahul Gandhi’s aggression mostly draws flak?

The answer is before everyone to see. Much has been written over it. The question is why the Congress party strategists and why Rahul Gandhi himself are not reading the signs?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BHARAT NIRMAN-2: MAY WELL PROVE TO BE THE UPA’S VERY OWN INDIA SHINING!

It was over Rs. 150 crore for the ‘India Shining’ campaign in 2004. It was around Rs. 200 crore for the ‘Bharat Nirman’ campaign in 2009. Figures available till February 2012 show the UPA-2 government has already spent Rs. 2246 crore on advertisements.

To begin the campaign season formally, the government recently re-launched the ‘Bharat Nirman’ campaign with a reported budget of Rs 35 crore for an initial run of 15 days. Overall, the Javed Akhtar-Pradeep Sarkar output is expected to cost a whopping Rs. 180 crore.

But, for the UPA and the Congress party, the picture is not as rosy as it was in 2009.

The Congress party led UPA-2 government that is completing four years in office on May 22 has become synonymous with corruption. Scams like 2G spectrum allocation, coal blocks allocation, Commonwealth Games, many Defence deal scams and scams in projects that helped the UPA-1 win the 2009 elections like the farm debt waiver and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act have created an abysmally low credibility scenario for the government.

With the forced ouster of the two cabinet ministers, Ashwani Kumar from the Law & Justice ministry and Pawan Kumar Bansal, from the Railway ministry, the debates on the possibility of early General Elections, otherwise to be scheduled around May 2014, have got a step-up.

The only breather for the Congress party and the UPA is the absence of a united and clean opposition. The major opposition party BJP just lost the Karnataka assembly elections fought on the main issue of corruption, to the Congress. Important regional parties like Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Rashtriya Jatna Dal, Janta Dal (United), have had history of corruption with tainted leaders.

Also, in spite of growing corruption allegations and involvement of the UPA members in scams, the Congress party has been able to win assembly elections of Assam, Kerala, Manipur, Puducherry, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and now Karnataka in the second term of the UPA when the political and bureaucratic corruption have touched the newer heights. That makes the Congress strategists think that the ‘public memory is short and it can easily be swept away in the impulse of the moment’.

The strategy makers in the Congress party believe the populist schemes focusing on the rural India and marginalized population segments of the urban India could still help the Congress party win over the upcoming elections in case of a fractured opposition.

And so, the Congress party has already started working, in full throttle, on its campaign for the General Election 2014 with the launch of ‘Bharat Nirman’ version-2.

But, going by the indications and the negative sentiments against the Congress, its many leaders including Manmohan Singh as well as against the ‘Gandhis’ after the alleged Robert Vadra cover-ups, ‘Bharat Nirman’, this time, may well prove to be the UPA’s very own ‘India Shining’.

After all, every Javed Akhtar and every Pradeep Sarkar creation has not been a hit. They have had their share of duds.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BHARAT NIRMAN VS INDIA SHINING – SOME RELEVANT ‘SITUATIONAL’ QUESTIONS

The Bhartiya Janta Party led National Democratic Alliance government launched ‘India Shining’ in the run-up to the 2004 General Elections. It lost. The Congress party led United Progressive Alliance launched its campaign led by ‘Bharat Nirman’ in the run-up to the 2009 General Elections. It won. The Congress party is again gearing up for a massive campaign in the run-up to the next General Elections with the recently re- launched ‘Bharat Nirman’ campaign that, according to the reports, is expected to cost Rs 35 crore in the initial run of 15 days.

Do such communication management campaigns really help in gaining a significant chunk of voters?

Did the NDA campaign fail or the alliance’s governance fail?

Was the UPA-1’s governance win supported by a meticulously drawn communication campaign?

Or was there lack of a political alternative after the NDA government failed miserably to reach out to the larger India that was known as ‘Bharat’ in the perennial ‘India Vs Bharat’ debate circles; ‘Bharat’ that represents the majority of India – poor, poorly literate, poorly fed and poorly kept?

Did the NDA’s campaign and the governance fail to make the people of ‘Bharat’ understand that their misery owed more to the long run of the Congress party that had ruled the Independent India most of the time (almost 53 years of the 66 years of independence) and other party or alliance governments needed time and that the five-six odd years were just not enough to undo the rot propagated by the grand old party of India?

An event in making, with the Congress party led UPA alliance government facing the credibility crisis with series of scandals, controversies and scams, it is going to be an  interesting observation to see if the Congress party is going to come up with a communication management strategy encompassing elements of crisis management working simultaneously on the measures to counter the massive negative publicity or it still believes in hard-selling its populist schemes like it did in the 2009 elections.

It would tell whether the Congress party had learnt from the mistakes of the ‘India Shining’ campaign in conceiving and designing the ‘Bharat Nirman’ campaign or if it was just akin to riding on the good show of the UPA-1 government.

But, was it really a good show of the UPA-1 government?

The country knows now that most of the massive scams today, the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the coal blocks allocation scam, the Commonwealth Games scam, irregularities in National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or in National Rural Health Mission or many other scams, have had their origin during the ‘good old days’ of the UPA-1?

Let’s wait to see. Let’s watch as the biggest event of the Indian democracy unveils!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/