NaMo: India’s much-needed hope or just a fine Marketing Baron?

Of late, most of our mornings (with newspapers) and evenings too (twitter), have become way more happening than they used to be before, thanks to the ballistic crusading all political parties and most importantly, their already announced/potential prime ministerial candidates are engaging in, ahead of the upcoming 2014 elections.

Today, India’s political scenario is fragile (lets be optimistic enough and not associate ourselves with extreme ‘hopelessness’). None of the existing political parties have successfully been able to uphold the best interests of the nation and its inhabitants, leave alone ameliorating the dire circumstances. Because there are no substantial achievements that the parties (and even if they do, most of them are marred by the myriad scams they engage in) have to corroborate their effectiveness, the only option left with the hapless citizens is to evaluate them by their candidates and their skills – whether or not they have the potential to bail India out of its present crisis.

In such a scenario, the manner in which the candidate portrays himself and his party, becomes highly important. When we think of the use of marketing tactics in politics, the very first name that crops up in our minds is that of the long-time Gujarat Chief Minister and the BJP prime ministerial candidate, Mr. Narendra Modi. Call him ‘the merchant of death’ or ‘a liar’, you cannot help but feel flabbergasted by his eerie ability to leave audiences enraptured with his charisma, spellbinding speeches and marketing activities.

Having a little knowledge about basic marketing concepts, we are in a way, better equipped to judge candidates on whether they can be genuinely entrusted with the responsibility of leading our country or should they just write a book enlightening the world about the efficient strategies on hard-selling techniques. With Gujarat’s developmental model garnering worldwide acclaim, likes of the TIME Magazine, have acknowledged the development that Gujarat has witnessed under the tutelage of Narendra Modi. However, the point to be noted here is that there are similar developments happening in other parts of the country as well. Then why is it that the entire world knows about the remotest happenings in Gujarat as opposed to any other state of the country? The answer to this lies in the extraordinary efforts taken by NaMo to ‘subtly’ and at times overtly promote himself and his state.

Be it his speeches where he never flinches away from highlighting the rich set of natural resources that Gujarat houses, the conducive environment that it provides for almost all industries including cooperatives, that eventually rule the roost in their respective sectors, his idea of ‘good governance’, the various steps taken by him in boosting industrial growth and investments in the country through biennial initiatives like the Vibrant Gujarat Summits.. the list is endless, he makes sure his laborious efforts are made known to one and all. His highly productive stint as the Gujarat CM for three consecutive terms has instilled in him the confidence to put forth his ideas, no matter how abstract or unattainable they may be in the real sense, in a manner that leaves audiences as stupefied as awed.

Despite allegations of misrepresenting statistics, he continues to be the most popular orators of present day with an unbelievably huge fan following on social media including twitter. Very recently, he had called for ideas (via facebook and twitter) on improving Gujarat better as a holistically developed state. Therefore, implicitly he also adopts a concept called ‘co-creation’ that helps him engage with masses better. He is one of the very few politicians, who are utilizing the growing perks of technological innovations to their advantage. With the Google+ hangouts, NaMo has set a new trend of giving citizens a chance to interact with their leaders more closely, and in real time.

Looking at the current economic conditions of the country and to lure people from all sections of the society to participate in his rallies, he charges a meagre Rs. 5 fees for them. Because, a lot of people in Gujarat earn their livelihood through agriculture, he leaves no stone unturned to address their needs through initiatives like the Vibrant Gujarat Agricultural Summit, something that no other CM has given a thought to. Also, most of his gifts are auctioned away and the funds raised are used for ‘Kanya Kelavni’ or improving the plight of women in the society. By infusing innovations in his actions and creating goodwill for himself, he is making it clear to the world, that he possesses the required expertise, experience and prowess to transform India.

As far as his target audiences are concerned, he carefully hand-picks them based on the areas that are most likely in support of the opposing parties and the ones which have not been tapped by his party yet. Also, he has created a sort of a brand for himself, which is instrumental in enticing audiences including naysayers, to witness his speeches and later, his splendid rhetoric skills work the magic.

A few years back, Gujarat was known for its lack of ample touristy places and was seldom on an ideal travellers’ list. But, with the incessant promotion efforts by NaMo through the ‘Khushboo Gujarat ki’ campaign, by roping in big shots like Mr. Amitabh Bacchan as its brand ambassador, revamping the indigenous Tana-Riri and Tarnetar festivals, a 14% growth was witnessed in the industry as compared to last year.

Why was he one of the very first to have sent recue to the Uttarakhand flood victims earlier this year or very recently, the Phailin affected regions, when he was plainly inadequate in doing the same for the riot victims of 2002 in his very state. Is it that these 10 years have suddenly awakened his philanthropic/humanistic instincts or are they just mere marketing gimmicks keeping the 2014 elections in mind?

Modi, is definitely one of the finest marketers our country has, as on today. But, the question worth pondering is does he deserve to be leading India in the coming years? This is the most disputable topic that we are faced with today. However, there is no denying to the fact that his ability to ‘hard-sell’ himself as the torchbearer of a meliorated India Inc., coupled with his impeccable oratory skills will definitely give him an edge over his rivals and in turn, boost his candidature, big time.

I would like to leave you with just one thought – if you are faced with a dilemma wherein you have to choose between a rotten, corrupt government with an impeccable candidate on one hand and a relatively decent one with a good-for-nothing representative, who would you go for?

Disclaimer: The author of this article has tried to be as neutral in her approach, as possible; however, influences due to one’s affinity towards a certain political party or one of its leaders for instance, are inevitable.

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