CHAI-WALLAHS PUSH FOR THEIR CHARTER OF DEMANDS

After a hugely successful conclave and an unprecedented expression of the Chai-wallah brotherhood, Chai-wallahs agreed to form a registered organisation to head the fight of the Chai-wallah social community. The process may take some time in completing the necessary legal formalities.

In the meantime, an apex body representing every geography and community of Chai-wallahs has been formed to push for immediate acceptance and implementation of the charter of demands prepared during the two-day conclave. The letter for the purpose has already been sent to the political parties.

Main demands of the charter are:

  1. Inclusion of Chai-wallahs as a separate social formation in the concerned official gazetteer of the Government of India
  2. Recognition of Chai-wallahs in official communication of the governments (states and the Union) and inclusion of Chai-wallahs in the linguistics annals
  3. Introduction of Chai-wallahs as a separate point of data collection in the Census of India records
  4. Recognition of Chai-wallahs as an economically weaker social group
  5. Formation of a governing authority to streamline the affairs of the Chai-wallahs community
  6. Empower the governing authority to issue a registration based identity card to the Chai-wallahs
  7. A separate policy for Chai-wallahs under the ambit of the policies to promote and protect interests of home-based small-scale business activities
  8. Regularisation of Chai stalls by registering the spaces they are operating at and ensuring that Chai-wallahs are not harassed by the extorting policemen
  9. Entitlement of financial aid to support the business of Chai-wallahs facing economic difficulties
  10. Subsidy for procuring Chai and sugar or provision of supply of subsidized Chai and sugar to the registered identity card holding Chai-wallahs under the Public Distribution System
  11. Healthcare insurance for the registered Chai-wallahs
  12. Separate quota for the children of registered Chai-wallahs in the government run schools

As already mentioned during the Conclave, the charter promises to support the votes to the political parties on the ‘first come’ basis.

Now, the ball is in court of the political parties and the BJP is running ahead of others by having the ‘first mover’ advantage with the ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ campaign.

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

BUOYED BY STORM IN CHAI CUP, CHAI-WALLAHS MEET TO DISCUSS FUTURE COURSE OF ACTION

Buoyed by the surge in discussion around Chai stalls and the ‘eyeball’ and ‘electoral’ importance of Chai-time after Narendra Modi’s ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ campaign and it pushing the herd mentality forcing others to come with their own versions, the Chai-wallahs organised a meeting in the National Capital Delhi having representatives from every language, every culture and every geography of India, to deliberate on their new-found celebrity status and to devise ways to discuss and squeeze out the maximum possible political mileage from the Narendra Modi development and its offshoots so as to ensure the maximum social dividend for their community.

Also, the emphasis was led on swift working on the minutes of the Chai-wallahs conclave to deliver a charter of demands as soon as possible so as to get the political community agreed to the demands before the code of conduct of the Lok Sabha polls are enforced.

It was decided in the meeting the Chai-wallahs across the country, irrespective of their social and community affiliations, would project them as a unified social segment with a separate social identity.

The conclave was hugely successful. The organizers said the corpus collected by ‘voluntary’ fund donations has exceeded expectations and is enough to fund the organisation’s activities for the whole year.

A sea of people was pouring into the Ramlila Ground, the iconic protest ground of Delhi. The ground that can accommodate tens of thousands of people looked incapable of handling the spirit of the recently-realised Chai-wallah brotherhood.

One of the principal organisers of the event said the ‘charter of demands’ was ready and soon it was to be sent to the political parties to force them to pledge on the demands. The huge community of the now socially-conscious Chai-wallahs, a considerably large votebank, having pan-India presence, would support any political outfit on the ‘first come’ basis.

They also say that as of now the BJP and Narendra Modi have the ‘first mover’ advantage but since it is the first consolidated effort of a unified Chai-wallah community to emerge as an important sociopolitical group, it is their duty to give everyone a fair and equal chance.

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

THE STORM IN THE CUP OF CHAI GETS MORE OF IT

Chai means many things in many languages, in many cultures. For us Indians, it is an inseparable part of our daily lives, sipping it as and when we feel, sipping it while thinking, sipping it while talking, sipping it while walking. Most of us cannot imagine our life without it.

And like many other important parts our daily life, we had taken Chai for granted as well. We realised we could not live without it yet we didn’t give it its due.

Until Narendra Modi’s Chai idea happened, now being implemented as ‘Chai Pe Charcha’, a full-scale electoral campaign every week intended to connect almost 20 million people same day same time using a mix of advanced and traditional communication technologies.

A mighty communication idea the time of which seems to have arrived, especially after the good response to Modi’s Chai-time-themed campaign!

And it has forced others to take notice; irrespective of which class they come from – the tea-proponents or the Chai-wallahs.

So, after discussing, dismissing and disparaging, even the grand old party of India had to admit the impact of the storm that is brewing in the mighty cup of Chai, and the time spent over it, some of which Narendra Modi is seriously trying to corner in his favour. According to the sources, the party strategists are burning the midnight oil to counter the move.

Some strategists even suggested hitting the support backend of the Chai-making process to prevent the further mobilization of the Chai-time in favour of Narendra Modi and thus the currency of a significant amount of votes in the poll-season.

It seems, inspired by this deep thinking, a youth Congress team in Bhopal came with the uniquely unique idea of establishing milk stalls distributing RaGa Milk in the name of Rahul Gandhi. Another noticeable effort on this line is Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Lalu Chai stalls in Bihar that offers free biscuits as well. Lalu’s Rashtriya Janta Dal is an electoral ally of the Congress party in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Whatever be the outcome of this Chai-time strategy on electoral lines, it can ensure at least one probability with certainty – in case of a disappointing electoral fortune, it can be a good enough part-time business opportunity.

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

WHO IS THE ORIGINAL TEA-SELLER: MODI OR LALU?

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 – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

TEA-SELLER NARENDRA MODI GETS FIRST CONTENDER (LALU YADAV)

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 – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

‘MAYBE, YOU FIND ME STRANGE.’ – ‘NO, I DON’T FIND YOU STRANGE.’

The complete write-up

‘Maybe you find me strange.’ Rahul Gandhi, the interviewee, says. ‘No, I don’t find you strange.’ Arnab Goswami, the interviewer, says, during Rahul Gandhi’s first formal television interviewer after beginning the active political career.

A line during the course of conversation, or the interview, a line repeated to support the viewpoint, a line repeated to help the other lines already spoken during the course of the conversation, the line sums up the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’ in clear terms.

It tells us something direct, that subtle point about the politician Rahul Gandhi that the nation so desperately wanted to understand. That interest, that necessity to know the politician Rahul Gandhi is fading.

Multiple factors have been responsible for it. Major among them are Rahul’s silence on many issues of national and social importance, Rahul’s delayed and ‘not up to the mark’ act on many issues and the mammoth scale of corruption attributed to the corruption of the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

But still, there is scope left for us to know him, for he is the face of the oldest and the mostly widely spread political outfit of the country. Even if not in office as the prime minister, he, by his position, wields significant power in the country. That applies for Rahul Gandhi and his party being in the opposition in the Parliament as well.

The nation needs to know the politician Rahul Gandhi.

And this line, during the course of the conversation during his first formal television interview tells clearly about who is the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’.

On points where Rahul says that the interviewer may find ‘Rahul’ strange based on his answers during the conversation gives us a window to look into how Rahul thinks.

And what Rahul thinks constitutes for strange has become frustratingly routine for India. Becoming of that a ‘routine’ has been ironical for India. And it may well become ‘ironically routine’ for the Congress party if a transformation doesn’t come.

There can be alternative ways to look at it.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is subscribed to his viewpoint only believing what he thinks for India’s future is imperative for India and there is no one else but Rahul himself and his party (in the political spectrum) who can achieve it.

It tells us the politician Rahul Gandhi is someone who believes what he thinks deserves to be thought and propagated and what others expect from him may or may not matter. His viewpoint is deep and others’ superficial.

It tells us Rahul believes that the negative factors against Congress and the UPA government can be tackled by giving the people their chance to participate in the process of the ‘politics of change’.

It tells us Rahul believes the negatives factors, an absolutely high anti-incumbency, senseless acts leading to price-rise in every segment and senseless statements on price-rise, epidemic level of political corruption, are not that negative and are hyped up, blaming the media to be unfair of targeting his party and his party’s government.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is not fully aware how difficult it has become to handle the indifference to the Congress party.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who still thinks he is in his experimental days of politics and thinks people still think of his ideas as revolutionary, as game-changers. He still thinks people see him as the ‘politician with a difference’ that he initially sounded to be.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who still believes people take his family members’ views as true, honest, accepting whatever they say on its face-value.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is talking out of the context of the social and political reality of the India of the day, a social reality where the common man has become so frustrated with the present political system that he prefers a debutant like the Aam Aadmi Party; a political reality where every politician promises to be different and devoted to the cause of the common man when it comes to the elections, but starts behaving as the ruler once he assumes the office.

Then there is an alternative way to look at it, the ‘can also be’ way, on what this line spoken by Rahul Gandhi during his first formal television interview tells us about the politician Rahul Gandhi.

It can also tell us Rahul Gandhi is a mismatch to the political ecosystem of the Congress party as he thinks on high values of a democracy and wants to inculcate the culture in the nation but has not been able to push his ideas further because of the inherent obstacles existent in the work-culture of the Congress party.

If it is so, then it tells us about the fading magnetism of the Nehru-Gandhi family for the Congress politicians, but that is one highly unlikely scenario in the prevailing political circumstances of the country.

If it is so, then it tells us Rahul Gandhi sees an opportunity now to push his agenda further, when the grand old party of India is facing a historically low credibility crisis and other Congress politicians are in no position to raise points of objection.

But these are just the unlikely viewpoints that present an aspect of the Rahul Gandhi persona that suggest what he could have been.

On point of clarity, the most likely and the ‘direct, most possible’ interpretation of Rahul’s ‘may be, you find me strange’, in the prevailing circumstances, is – Rahul Ganndi is ‘still misreading the social and political reality of India and his family’s and Congress’ positioning in all this’.

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

‘MAYBE, YOU FIND ME STRANGE.’ – ‘NO, I DON’T FIND YOU STRANGE.’

‘Maybe you find me strange.’ Rahul Gandhi, the interviewee, says. ‘No, I don’t find you strange.’ Arnab Goswami, the interviewer, says, during Rahul Gandhi’s first formal television interview after beginning the active political career.

A line during the course of conversation, or the interview, a line repeated to support the viewpoint, a line repeated to help the other lines already spoken during the course of the conversation, the line sums up the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’ in clear terms.

It tells us something direct, that subtle point about the politician Rahul Gandhi that the nation so desperately wanted to understand. That interest, that necessity to know the politician Rahul Gandhi is fading.

Multiple factors have been responsible for it. Major among them are Rahul’s silence on many issues of national and social importance, Rahul’s delayed and ‘not up to the mark’ act on many issues and the mammoth scale of corruption attributed to the (miss)-governance of the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

But still, there is scope left for us to know him, for he is the face of the oldest and the mostly widely spread political outfit of the country. Even if not in the office as the prime minister, he, by his position, wields significant power in the country. That applies for Rahul Gandhi and his party being in the opposition in the Parliament as well.

The nation needs to know the politician Rahul Gandhi.

And this line, during the course of the conversation during his first formal television interview tells clearly about who is the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’.

On points where Rahul says that the interviewer may find ‘Rahul’ strange based on ‘Rahul’s’ answers during the conversation gives us a window to look into how Rahul thinks.

And what Rahul thinks constitutes for strange has become frustratingly routine for India. Becoming of that a ‘routine’ has been ironical for India. And it may well become ‘ironically routine’ for the Congress party if a transformation doesn’t come in time.

To continue..

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

SO, RAHUL GANDHI BEGINS WITH HIS ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEWS

So, it was a highly publicized, first television appearance of Rahul Gandhi for a personal interview. Let me be honest, I didn’t catch the initial part of it but what I could go through was more than enough.

It was like a Rahul Gandhi speech in terms of where Rahul Gandhi sounded confident, the grand vision that he and his party have for India, and the grand achievements, he and his grand old party have stacked over the years while pushing the India story on an upward growth curve (obviously, as claimed, the verity, the substance of which is validly questioned, time and again).

But he faltered, he floundered and he floundered badly where he faced tough questions on controversial issues like the 1984 anti-Sikh riots or corruption or price rise. He did not have answers or he did not know what to say. He simply did not know how to defend something that could never be defended logically.

Like always, there was nothing new in what Rahul Gandhi said or argued about, but whatever he says has to be taken into the larger picture of India, its sociopolitical and economy parameters, because he is the prime-ministerial choice of the main party of the ruling coalition of the country.

Some random observations on his interview:

Rahul Gandhi clearly faltering in the Arnab Goswami interview! Poor background work again.

The interviewer asks Rahul Gandhi if he would offer apology for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots – Rahul looks for answers – answers don’t come – he doesn’t want to answer – he doesn’t want to apologize either.

Arnab’s Rahul Gandhi interview: Unacceptable answer of Rahul on RTI. He falters again. Political parties under RTI – why can’t the ‘politician with a difference’ in him say yes, the political parties should come under RTI? But he tries to shift the locus by giving irrelevant examples like the Judiciary not being under RTI.

Ashok Chavan Vs Ashok Kumar: Rahul Gandhi mixes up though his party is defending the tainted former Maharashtra CM. He just not names him wrongly; he also, miserably, falls short on defending his and his party’s stand on corruption.

Rahul Gandhi: no tolerance for corruption yet shields behind the flaws of the legal system – defends his party’s ‘unacceptable corruption’ by shifting the poles – claims the tall claims in his way of rhetoric.

Rahul evades answers on corruption allegations on Ashok Chavan, Virbhadra Singh. Talks of making politics participative – yet, he doesn’t participate in the most fundamental of the discussions – shields behind talking on long-term goals when he fails to defend the present set-up, run by his party and other political parties like his grand old party.

Defends alliance with RJD: Folks, did you know Lalu Yadav’s RJD was an idea or to say alternatively, could it remain an idea any longer, as soon as Lalu assumed the office in Bihar?

Issues and issues – Rahul not coming with answers – clearly not able to defend his stand – clearly not able to defend his political persona – clearly not able to defend his so famous silence when he was so needed to speak on – clearly not able to take the questions head on. Who suggested for an interview after all. And, the next one is coming soon.

Change at the bottom Vs change at the top: Rahul is going to open the system – with him and his party politicians coming from political dynasties working to check the ‘proliferation of dynasties’. Who is going to take it?

Rahul Gandhi is not a superficial chap (as he tells the interviewer). People think Rahul is thinking deeply and thinking long-term (as he tells the interviewer). Rahul talks anti-System of a System his party and his family has been the major contributors of.

‘Change’, ‘Superficiality’, ‘I am different’, ‘No thirst for power’, ‘People at the bottom’, ‘System’, ‘Anti-System’, ‘Empowering the women’, ‘Youngsters’, ‘Zero-tolerance for corruption’, ‘Thinking long-term’ – some of the thematic words from Rahul Gandhi’s interview.

Not born a Gandhi, would you have been in politics still? No answer, but it is natural. He just talked. Hope, some day, he would walk the talk.

Some other elements from his interview: Deeper questions – why power so concentrated – policy made in closed doors – open up the system – role of women – jobs for youngsters – if he would have spoken out earlier – opening up the structure – that’s the bottom line, changing paradigms – and so on

Rahul sounded more like desirous of answering what he wanted to do (deeper thinking issues as per him). He felt uncomfortable whenever he faced controversial issues (he tried to label as superficial issues).

Like on asking (more than once) if he was open for a debate between the key candidates on key issues, he said a national debate was already happening – by comparing works of his party to that of the opponents.

Let’s see how goes the next leg of this exercise of political branding of the brand Rahul Gandhi.

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

RAHUL GANDHI’S LATEST BRANDING BLITZ: WHAT’S NEW, WHY ALL THIS FUSS?

Why so much of gyan, concern, debate and deliberation over it?

It is an open secret.

Even politicians from economically backward states like Bihar or Jharkhand or politicians from culturally backward states like Haryana or Rajasthan or from Western Uttar Pradesh use them, especially those who have lager game-plan for their political future, like playing a centre-stage role in state polity. And the situation is becoming chronic (or, alternatively, more relevant) with politicians who aspire for sustained and enhanced presence in the national politics.

A Public Relations consultant or a PR consultancy is rapidly becoming the in-thing for them.

I have been approached by some though I did not take the assignments. But I know professionals, at different levels of their PR profile, handling accounts of individual politicians.

Yes, they do all to keep it secret but as said above, such things are always an open secret, at least for them who are in the game.

So, why this fuss over Rahul Gandhi’s branding or we should say the latest episode in Rahul Gandhi’s branding exercise, so much so that the Congress spokespersons had to come forward to issue official denial(s) to the reports.

But it is not a new initiative.

Much has been written over the brand management efforts centered at Rahul Gandhi, his team of strategists, the Team RG, his ‘style’ of politics, his oratory skills and his body language and gestures.

The debate on whether Congress is hiring image-makeover consultants is a misplaced one. Irrespective of the Congress denial, the elements and the frequency of scheduling of the communication campaign of Congress and thus the projection of Rahul Gandhi and his team would tell the public the imprints of professionals behind the exercise and would certainly tell the people who can identify the experts by their work if Dentsu, JWT and Genesis Burson-Marsteller are involved or not.

Also, the exclamatory observations over this Rs. 500 crore are utterly misplaced when we see the cost of the regular political ad campaigns like a ‘Bharat Nirman’ that counts in thousands of crores.

Let’s quote some of the easily searchable (with simple, routine googling) article excerpts from media reports on Congress and Rahul Gandhi’s branding exercise:

Congress ad blitzkrieg in the works – Business Standard, September 12, 2013 (1)
Till date, 11 agencies including JWT, Percept, Crayons, Equus and Grey have made ad pitches to the team comprising Singh, Ajay Maken, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jairam Ramesh, Deepinder Hooda, Vishwajit Prithvijit Singh, Manish Tewari at the party’s ‘War Room’ at GRG Marg. The presentations are then sent to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is likely to be the party’s face of the 2014 campaign. However, the final call, would be taken by Rahul and party president Sonia Gandhi, sources added.

In the last 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Crayons and Percept had bagged the Congress ad contract. No agency had been finalised as yet for this year, said a senior Congress leader.

2014 Elections: Congress signs up JWT for Rs 550-cr poll campaign; to counter Narendra Modi’s ‘claims’ – The Economic Times, September 2013 (2)
Congress has engaged advertising agency JWT for a Rs 500-crore publicity blitz to stymie the challenge posed by BJP’s Narendra Modi and help smoothen its path to a hat-trick in the 2014 general elections by hardselling its welfare credentials.

Ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, JWT, Crayons and Percept had handled the party’s ad campaign, which included purchasing rights of AR Rahman’s Oscar-winning number ‘Jai Ho’.

In 2004, the Congress campaign was mainly handled by Leo Burnett, which packaged its Aam Aadmi messaging that helped the party undercut NDA’s ‘India Shining’ campaign. Some of the work in the 2004 campaign, notably ad films, was handled by Percept, the agency behind the ongoing Bharat Nirmaan campaign.

Congress picks Dentsu, Taproot & JWT for poll ad campaign – The Economic Times, October 8, 2013
The Congress party has opted for many of the same people who were behind its advertising campaign for the 2009 elections, picking Dentsu and Taproot to join JWT as the agencies that will handle the Rs 500 crore contract.

Okay, now these three reports should be enough to gauge for the curious fellows on how regular this practices has been. Yes, most of these reports talk about Congress and poll preparations but only an immature mind (of a communication pro) can see Congress and Rahul differently while preparing a brand management (and thus performance) strategy for Congress.

Also, before this, Rahul was running the show in a roundabout way. Now, he is the face. So, this time, it has to be more direct, centering on him, because stakes are highly unprecedented, highly delicately skewed.

So, if earlier, it was around Congress and projecting Rahul was a part of it, this time, it is going to be around Rahul and Congress is going to follow the leads from projections and imagery about Rahul Gandhi.

The change of guard is going to focus the Rahul Gandhi way of politics (the way he talks about it, especially in post-Aam Aadmi Party scenario) as the central theme of the communication campaign in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

Also, whenever there are no hopes left for the Congress party, as is the case now with absolutely high anti-incumbency against the Manmohan Singh led UPA government, the party leaders has nothing but to look to the Nehru-Gandhi family as the last resort. Now, the effectiveness of this last resort has not been consistent, but at least, it gives the party leaders a point to base their hopes in the atmosphere of 360 Degree gloom.

And to fight this atmosphere of 360 Degree gloom, the Congress party is going to soak itself deeply in the blitzkrieg of a 360 Degree communication campaign employing tools of advertising and public relations hoping it would make for the lost ground.

Rahul Gandhi or Congress taking help of image management consultants for the upcoming general elections is a regular political communication campaign, an effort that has no guarantee of ROI (return on investment), more so, in the prevailing political circumstances.

We saw the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) ‘India Shining’ campaign failing to deliver. The Rahul Gandhi brand management exercise coupled with ‘Bharat Nirman 2.0’ could well be a repeat of the ‘India Shining’ campaign.

The outcome may be as challenging as the evolution of the ownership structures of the advertising and public relations agencies and their holding groups!

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

1 http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/congress-ad-blitzkrieg-in-the-works-113091100632_1.html
2 http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-09-11/news/41971845_1_jwt-congress-campaign-congress-war-room
3 http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-10-08/news/42829373_1_ad-agencies-congress-party-election-campaign

PROS FOR POLITICAL COMMUNICATION: WHY THE SURGE IN DEMAND

Corruption folks, the omnipresent political corruption of India – and the natural siblings are nepotism, dynasty politics, money and muscle power and a weak moral base!

Given the monstrous political corruption in India, handling corruption cases on platforms of media trials and public scrutiny in order to repair (efforts may or may not yield result) the image to go back again to the voters needs a crisis management skill at the level of communication management.

With a rich growth of communication platforms, it’s an atmosphere of information explosion in India and the phenomenon is leading to information chaos. It is becoming difficult for the political class to suppress or manipulate information.

Masses are getting multiple angles on any information from the easily available sources at their disposal. This is affecting and denting the outreach of the politicians.

Already in a credibility crisis, the information access is not allowing them to reach out to the audiences (and so the voters) to convince them that why some of them are better choices than the rest of the lot.

It is pushing them to hire the professionals to manage (or we can comfortably say to manipulate, in many cases) the channels of information in order to maximize the outreach.

With increasing dominance of money and muscle power in Indian politics, the grassroots political workers are fast becoming passé. The replacement players do not ‘waste’ their time in the field to develop their base that takes many years. Instead, they prefer political blitzkrieg through communication outreach programmes to make inroads to the inner circle of the power corridors.

The same can be said about the dynasty politics. The princelings, they inherit it. Be it at the Union level or in the states, major ruling figures are products of the dynasty politics.

So the ‘push-up’ branding is already there. All they need is an image-building exercise in the public perception that makes them a known figure. Most of the princelings are availing the top-notch professional services.

And the biggest spectacle, the dance of democracy – the many elections including the parliamentary ones, are increasingly being fought more and more on the organized communication campaign lines. Proactive politicians with national ambitions are realizing the need to reach out to the larger audiences using highly sophisticated tech-managed professional communication platforms as devised by the consultants.

And with each of the factors mentioned here witnessing an upward trend, the communication management professionals are going to have an increased pie of the greener pastures of Indian politics.

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