INDIA’S HANDLING OF CHINESE DISSIDENTS’ VISA ISSUE: A BOTCHED-UP AFFAIR!

India has denied visa to three Chinese rights activists who were coming to India to participate in a conference that started yesterday in Dharamsala, the seat of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

The four-day conference, ‘Strengthening Our Alliance to Advance the Peoples’ Dream: Freedom, Justice, Equality and Peace’, has been organized by a US based pro-democracy outfit, ‘Citizen Power for China’, led by exiled Chinese rights activist Yang Jianli, and is being attended by some 100 delegates from around the world.

After the row over the visa denial issue and its global media coverage and a widespread outrage, the organizers of the conference have decided to say no to any sort of media coverage. Media has not been allowed to the venue. Participants would not talk to media about the conference. And there would be no press releases.

So, in a way, nothing would come out.

And that is, again a bad publicity for India, after the visa U-turn issue.

Because, as reports say, the conference is being attended by many Chinese dissidents whom China would go to any extent to see behind bars or execute, i.e., Tibetans, Uighurs, Falun Gong members and Taiwanese. The same was confirmed by Dolkun Isa, a Germany based Uighur dissident from China, with whom this whole visa U-turn row began.

An open media interface of the conference could have told the world that India was indeed right when it decided to cancel visa of Dolkun Isa, Lu Jinghua and Ray Wong on technical grounds and it was not under the Chinese pressure, as the message has gone, in India, and globally. Democracy is long dead in China and human rights are as flimsy as Chinese leaders’ promises for political reforms. A discussion on it in Dharamsala and its open media coverage would have helped dispel the notions that India bowed under Chinese pressure and cancelled visas. After all, it is not that no Chinese dissident is participating in the Dharamsala conference.

The coverage in international media, first on India granting visa to Dolkun Isa, against whom aC China influenced Interpol Red Corner Notice is out, and then withdrawing it in the 11th hour, is a testimony to that.

National and international media, which was praising India for issuing visa to Dolkun, drawing parallels with the Chinese veto in the United Nations on declaring Masood Azhar a terrorist, started mocking India when India cancelled Dolkun’s visa.

Though, on its part, India said it was on technical grounds, as Isa had applied for a tourist electronic visa whereas he was coming to attend a conference that requires additional clearance from the Home Ministry, and that India had taken this decision unilaterally and there was no Chinese hand in it, the same day, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that said China indeed had approached India with its reservations on visa to Dolkun Isa.

To continue..

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

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JP WAS WAITING TO BE PICKED UP..

Bihar is going to polls. Voting for the first phase in five-phase electoral process is tomorrow.

And as expected, intense communication packaging is on to make JP or Loknayak (a mass leader) Jayaprakash Narayan the figurehead of BJP’s or NDA’s political ‘conscience’ while campaigning for votes.

JP led India during the tumultuous days of the Emergency and stood his ground against Indira Gandhi, rallying leaders and people against the dictatorial regime of Mrs. Gandhi – the public anger that finally uprooted her in 1977 election.

JP was from Bihar. And JP’s birth anniversary this year – on October 11 – is falling in the midst of Bihar’s poll season.

JP is seen as the mascot of anti-Emergency protests and thus the doyen of the pro-democracy mass movements in the country in the post-Independence India. Most of the present breed of non-Congress political leaders in states and in Centre are products of the JP-led civil-political movement.

As the Narendra Modi led NDA government has been on a spree to claim legacies of India’s icons like Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekananda, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and even Jawahar Lal Nehru and is trying to bring many more icons in Nation’s mainstream conscious – JP was a name waiting to be picked up.

And never could be a more opportune time than the Bihar assembly election, especially when products of the JP movement are pitted against each other, and especially, when some of them, helplessly, cannot quote JP ‘so’ openly as they are together in alliance with Congress – the party that was political nemesis of JP.

That has left the turf open for BJP and the party is going in full speed on it.

JP has been echoing in NDA’s poll materials for campaigning and the party today held an event named Loktantra Prahari Abhinandan on his birth anniversary to further the packaging. The event was addressed by Narendra Modi and was attended by other big leaders. Every wing of BJP and RSS paid rich tributes to JP on every possible communication platform. BJP’s national president Amit Shah held a rally in JP’s village.

October 11, incidentally, happens to be the birth anniversary of Nanaji Deshmukh, a senior RSS ideologue, and he, too, got prominent space in party’s communication materials.

But while he will be not there tomorrow (literally), JP will be on the block at least till the outcome of this Bihar assembly election.

And as expected, as is the trend, no one is talking about Dr. Rajendra Prasad or Rajendra Babu, India’s first President, the great freedom fighter and one of the gems of his generation that India had – who was from Siwan district in Bihar – obviously, due to socio-political factors revolving around caste arithmetic.

Bihar AE-JP-Collage-Oct112015

Featured Image Courtesy: Wikipedia and Website of Bihar’s Chief Electoral Officer

©/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/

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/

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

THE INTERESTING, AMUSING THROWAWAYS OF AN INTENSIFYING ELECTION CAMPAIGNING

The intensifying electoral fever is giving us interesting (amusing, funny) throwaways and the pitch is getting louder with every passing day of political fiefdom on its ugly display. It is in perfect harmony with the benchmark of the electoral phase of Indian politics – a hallmark of an insensitive class of politicians.

The electoral pitch has become entertaining enough for those who watch the proceedings of the biggest festival (spectacle) of a democracy – elections – to ‘recruit’ the representatives to work for the common man and so for the country.

And the churning from this display has started throwing away its regular, expected throwaways – the spillage from communication practices being exploited – the leftover from the ideological dump being explored.

Let’s take a look at some of these routine throwaways:

  • The process to render the norms – to speak-up in public following the practices of maintaining even the bare minimum of the probity values – completely irrelevant is well on the way to achieve its pinnacle. Expect it well on the highway of ‘no holds barred’ communication spillage by January 2014.
  • Facts are fast becoming fastidious, the way it happens. The electoral pitch of Indian politics confines facts to the extremes of ‘what is being said from the dais’ only.
  • Such ‘facts’ are producing their effects for the ‘stakeholders’ as desired – the spillover is making the concerned watchers even more studious as these self-made facts are.
  • As has been the cases, as expected, egregious interpretations of such ‘facts’ are already ruling the roost. In the electoral phase of Indian politics, whatever said from the dais is meant to be what the opponents seek to interpret as and exploit further, and so in turn, mutually helping the ‘speaker’ and the ‘interpreter’.

And! The result?

We, by now, have an established channel to have us the regular dose of funny, bluffy and interesting throwaways in the latest event of the Indian electoral process.

One can debate if it is to be termed auspicious or ominous, but for sure, the coming days are going to be full packed houses stuffed with ‘overstuffed’ shots of such facts spoken and their spillovers interpreted, giving us, thus, more than enough moments of sitcoms.

And these elections have one additional, super-special effect to affect the overall process of communication spillage, making things even more watchable, even more readable – the Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi duel – scaling new highs with every rally held.

So! Be hooked!

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

NARENDRA MODI VS RAHUL GANDHI: ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL –EVOLVING TRENDS – CROWDS AND MEDIA

NARENDRA MODI VS RAHUL GANDHI

War of words – allegations and counter-allegations, politics over even apolitical themes, claims and counter-claims – the free-floating, unrestricted flow of verbal juggernaut is frying up the atmosphere, is ratcheting up the theatrics.

In the series, on a day like this, in the run up to the polls, they both started speaking almost at the same time, but soon, it was Narendra Modi all over, on almost channels of the airwaves, and so in millions of the homes across the country, and so on the countless channels of the social media platforms – the story of two speeches – delivered same day, almost same time – one in Delhi, the other in Patna – on October 27.

For sometime now, Narendra Modi has been the hottest, the most covered, the most talked about, and the most written about one. Rahul Gandhi did receive attention whenever he spoke on public platforms, but he could never match the scale Modi would achieve, rally after rally.

And when it came to the parallels on a day of parallel presence, we found how skewed it had become.

Even if we do no go into the reasons, if we do not dissect the ‘what, why and how’ of Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi on campaigning parameters and communication management practices, we can see easily certain trends well evolved (and clearly visible) by now – of crowds in rallies and of media presence multiplying the presence of the crowds elsewhere – trends that would be giving nightmares to the Congress party strategists – trends that can also harm the Modi-party by injecting a sense of complacency much before it is the time to up the throttle for that final ‘finality’.

Though, in recent times, Rahul, too, has upped his pitch, putting his aggression more on display with each passing rally, he simply fails to match the Narendra Modi blitzkrieg.

Modi’s rallies are witnessing full houses with crowd spilling over in each rally while Rahul’s rallies fail to produce sense of massive (even sizeable) gatherings even if the camera tries to show us so.

What could be the better testimony to it than October 27? In spite of the serial blasts, Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna saw hundreds of thousands coming to listen to him while Rahul had to wait before he began to speak as there were not enough of people.

When it comes to media, it’s Narendra Modi is all over. Rahul does get wide coverage and attention but, on a day, when both were speaking together, it was only Narendra Modi – almost all the TV channels were showing Modi live while Rahul was not even in the side window.

And that tells us the base approach by the media outfits in this Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi duel. Modi has become the prized catch for them in race to earn more eyeballs while Rahul is the routine editorial stuff. For them, Modi is the ultimate ‘eyeball stuff’ of the moment.

Modi’s media appeal can also be gauged from the fact that, though the serial blasts in Patna killed 5 and live bombs were recovered from the venue of Modi’s rally, Gandhi Maidan in Patna, the main news discourse of the day was Modi, the major elements discussed on the day were ‘what Modi said’. Rahul’s speech did not get much attention apart from the routine editorial planning elements.

The Congress party strategists should be worried. (Yes, but, the Bhartiya Janta Party thinkers should not get complacent.)

Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi – it is going to be even more interesting to watch as the Lok Sabha polls near, as the resultant chaos spreads even more.

©/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/