About Braj Mohan Chaturvedi

Braj Mohan Chaturvedi comes with 14 years of corporate experience. He has worked with Accenture, PepsiCo, Monster.com, ICFAI University Press, in fields of business development, account management, sales and marketing consulting, corporate communication, content management, content development, corporate sales, marketing and branding.

He is a social media enthusiast and market 2.0 experts. He is passionate about Social Media Marketing and brings with him in-depth expertise in various facets of Social Media Marketing.

Oct.05

Gujarat Elections: An intense battle in the offing

The ensuing Gujarat Assembly election is significant in its own way. The State has been a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bastion for over two decades now and is the home ground of Narendra Modi. So, Gujarat is a prestige battle for the BJP and they would like to win again.
At the same time, the Indian National Congress (INC) would like to reclaim its lost ground of two decades. This is going to be an intense battle of prestige and survival. On one hand, losing Gujarat to INC would be a big setback for the BJP ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections. On the other, a victory for the BJP will ease its path towards winning the 2019 parliamentary election.

Ground in Gujarat
It is important to understand the history to predict the future. In Gujarat, the INC has been out of power since 1995. However, for a brief period from October 1996 to March 1998, it was a part of the ruling alliance along with Shankersinh Vaghela’s Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), which he floated after quitting the BJP. This was the last time the INC was part of the government in the State.

The BJP has been in power since March 1998 but more importantly, the party has been dominating the Assembly since 1995. In the last two decades, it has been consolidating its position. The last two Assembly elections have been the extension of its growth story. In the 2007 and 2012 Assembly elections, it polled 49.1% and 47.9% votes respectively. During the same period, the INC attracted 38% and 38.8% votes.

In last two decades, the popularity of the two national parties – BJP and INC — has been on the rise in Gujarat. In fact, the State election has turned into a two-party contest. The two together command roughly 90% vote share, leaving the remaining 10% to other national and regional parties. It will not be wrong to say that over the last two decades all other national and regional parties have lost relevance in the State.

New Challengers
But this election may see the entry of three national and regional parties – Aam Aadmi Party, Nationalist Congress Party and Vaghela’s party. Among these three, AAP could pose a challenge, especially owing to its new campaign methods. The party has learnt from the debacle of Punjab and Goa elections and will field candidates only on seats that meet certain criteria set by its central leadership.

The NCP will play the role of the spoiler for the INC by dividing the anti-BJP vote share and making the task difficult for the INC. The party has decided to contest all the 182 seats, which means it will spoil the chances of revival of the Congress.

Vaghela’s party will also be another spoiler. Till recently, Vaghela was a member of the INC and the tallest Thakur leader. During his leadership, the Thakurs voted mostly in favour of the INC. In the last Assembly elections in north Gujarat, the BJP won 13 of the 27 seats, while the INC raised its tally from 6 to 14. The exit of Vaghela from the INC will damage its prospect in this area.

Two Together
Though the entry of these three parties will have some impact, in all probability the battle of Gujarat will be mainly between the INC and the BJP. The INC marginally increased its vote share here from 32.9% in 1995 to 38.9% in 2012. In the last three Assembly elections, the INC attracted 39% vote share on an average.

The BJP, however, has been doing extremely well. The overall vote share of the BJP has been on the rise since 1995. It reached around 49% under the leadership of Modi. The party attracted 48-49% vote share during the last three Assembly elections.

Thus, there is a difference of 10 percentage points in vote share between the ruling party and the opposition. This difference is also a function of the urban and rural divide.

Clear Divide
The INC has been successful in consolidating the rural vote bank but has failed to entice the urban voters. The same is reflected in the recent local body elections where it consolidated its stand in the panchayats but failed to gain grounds among urban voters.

In the recent panchayat elections, the INC won 23 of the 31 district panchayats and 113 of the 193 panchayats but the BJP won all the big municipal corporations, namely – Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar — and also captured 40 of the 56 municipal corporations in small towns.

The mathematics of panchayat and municipal elections suggests that the INC is far from winning Gujarat. In the Assembly of 182, the BJP still commands 67 urban and 20 semi-urban Assembly seats.

It will not be wrong to say that the BJP has been an urban and semi-urban phenomenon. The same is also reflected in the last Assembly elections. In 2012, the party won 15 of the 16 seats in Surat, 15 (17) seats in Ahmedabad, 3 of the 4 seats in Rajkot and all the seats in Gandhinagar, Vadodara and Bhavnagar.

Politics

Aug.02

Who Moved My Leaders

Congress has been a party of charismatic leaders. Leaders who enjoyed ‘Demi God’ status. The charisma of these national or regional leaders was unparallel. The history of Indian National Congress is testimony to larger than life leaders like Mahatama Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Indira Gandhi and others who in their times enjoyed the Demi God status.

One can argue that those were the golden days of past and they have not experienced the charisma and following of those ‘Demi Gods’. Yes, most of us may have not witnessed the mass following and charismatic leadership qualities of the tallest leaders of Congress but probably most of us have witnessed or are witnessing the rise and popularity of leaders like Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, PV Narasimha Rao, and many others contemporary leaders.

It will not be wrong to say that leaders and their following has been the strength of Congress. These leaders who enjoyed larger than life image and mass following have not only built the party – Indian National Congress but in last few decades have been instrumental in formation of many regional parties. We have
witnessed the emergence of a few strong regional parties like TMC, NCP, YSRCP and others. The founders of these party were once strong Congress leaders. The leaders like Mamta Banarjee, Sharad Pawar, Jagan Mohan Reddy who once were the leaders of Congress but now they have their own regional parties. The reality of these leaders remains unchanged! They at core are still Congressi.

Congress unlike BJP which is karyakarta based party always believed in building strong leadership. Congress has always been a top-heavy party and BJP with the support of RSS is a karykarta based party. It will not be wrong to say that both national parties have their own unique strengths and that is the core of the respective parties.

Coming back to Congress, it will only be correct to say that Congress has been a party of great leaders who were or are known for the mass connect. On the one hand, BJP in absence of huge mass leaders who have attained ‘Demi God’ status have started to piggyback on few of the Demi Gods from Congress. BJP is trying to hijack the credentials of leaders like Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, and others for their branding. We all will agree that BJP in recent past have extensively used the Demi God status of Mahatma Gandhi, and Sardar Patel for their benefits. One may argue that national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, and Sardar Patel are beyond boundaries of party politics but the fact remains unchanged that they were leaders of Indian National Congress. On the other hand, there is sustained propaganda to malign the brand image of leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajeev Gandhi and others.

This is a critical case of destroying the core of Congress – ‘Asset as Leadership’. The congress needs a swift action to protect it’s ‘Asset as Leadership’ before it’s too late.

 

Politics

Aug.01

Who Moved My (Dalit) Voters!

Dalits in India are one of the largest voting block. The sumtotal of all dalit voters is more than one-fourth of overall voters. The fact that they are the largest voting block makes them the most important voting class.

Dalits have traditionaly aligned themselves with the Congress ideology. It will not be wrong to say that dalits were and still are one of the largest vote bank for congress.

The dalit vote bank started to deflect from congress roughly three decades back. This major change in the indian politics started when various small and niche parties like BSP, LJP, and others identified the fact that Dalits are one of the largest vote bank and started focusing on Dalits. This resulted into a sharp division of dalit vote bank between the congress and other niche parties.

The dynamics of dalit vote bank changed once again when BJP started focusing on the largest voters block – Dalits. It will not be wrong to say that till recently, BJP was not in the game of Dalit Vote Bank Politics but a few intelligent moves by Shah and Modi has divided the vote bank further more into the Congress, niche parties and BJP.

The various Pro-Dalit moves by BJP has helped it win a small segment of key Dalit vote bank. It can be seen as a big challenge to the dalit vote bank dominance by all niche parties, and Congress. The biggest blow was seen in the last UP election when a small shift in a dalit vote bank had made BSP absolutely irrelevant.

The impact of this change is not only seen on ground but also has changed the evolving political equation – ‘Mahagadbandhan’. It will not be wrong to say that the chang in dalit vote bank has forced Nitish to shift sides. Nitish realised that this new Pro-Dalit and Pro-Poor narrative will wipe out JDU in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections the way it wiped out Mayawati and BSP in 2017 UP Assembly Election.

The small regional parties like JDU, LJP, and others are realizing that the Opposition has not been able to build any credible narrative around the Pro-Dalit and Pro-Poor plank. They are not even in position to unite and nurture the basic Pro-Dalit and Pro-Poor narrative.
Thus, rather than becoming irrelevant to politics it is better to align with the winning team. Congress needs to act on Pro-Dalit and Pro-Poor, and they need to act now!

It will not be wrong to say that if Congress can unite Dalit vote bank they will not only win the overall vote share but also will be in position to unite Opposition. The task is not tough as dalits were one of the largest vote bank of Congress and still it is the largest support base for Congress. All that congress needs to do is reunite them back into one single block.

 

Politics

Jul.12

Dynamics of MahaGadbandhan

Indira Gandhi has been one of the finest Prime Ministers Indian democracy has experienced. She with the help of all her populist moves like nationalization of banks, Pokhran nuclear explosion, abolishment of privy purses, Garibi Hatao, division of Pakistan attained the status which was larger than life.

That was the time when politics was not about the Congress and others, it was the time when politics was about Indira and all other parties. Indira was beyond party lines and carried huge brand image. Indira was such a strong leader that Dev Kant Barooah, Congress president, in 1976 mention that India is Indira, and Indira is India.

Almost after forty years, history is kind of repeating itself. This time it is about Narendra Damodardas Modi. Modi has yet not reached the popularity that Indira enjoyed but we can easily say that BJP is Modi, and Modi is BJP.

Today, the politics in India is about the might of Modi versus all others. It will be wrong to say that it is about BJP and all others. Yes, the scenario is almost comparable to the times of Indira Gandhi when she enjoyed popularity beyond comparison.

All opposition parties understand the situation very well. They also understand the influence Modi enjoys. They are aware of the fact that the position which Modi enjoys is not given to him but he has earned it at every stage of his political career. It will not be wrong to say that Modi is Chandragupta Maurya of modern times.

The opposition understands that to fight Modi they need to construct a united front – a MahaGadbandhan of all opposition parties. The kind of MahaGadbandhan Opposition had created in Bihar. The MahaGadbandhan in Bihar enjoyed a larger and inclusive vote share. A vote share which was much larger than the vote share of BJP. Nitish Kumar as a prominent face of the MahaGadbandhan was yet another key feature of the MahaGadbandhan in Bihar. The only thing which was not right with the MahaGadbandhan in Bihar was the ideological mix. It remained an opportunistic alliance.

The success of the MahaGadbandhan was once again attempted in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election, but the experiment failed. It was seen as absolute opportunistic alliance with has no future. To my mind the MahaGadbandhan was a failure from idea to implementation. It was more like a desperate measure to tame the juggernaut Modi.

The two recent experiments with MahaGadbandhan in recent times and such other historical moves in seventies and nineties makes us think on the idea of MahaGadbandhan and its validity. A few questions that comes to my mind include: Is MahaGadbandhan of all opposition parties possible? Can the MahaGadbandhan survive the test of the time? Can the leaders of MahaGadbandhan workout a common minimum program that is beyond the idea of secularism? Will there be any defined ideology of the MahaGadbandhan? Can the leaders of different political parties elect one credible leader of the MahaGadbandhan? Who will be the ultimate leader of the MahaGadbandhan?

In current situation, even if we have affirmative answers to most of the above-mentioned questions the future of MahaGadbandhan still looks not so bright. The non-BJP parties can be classified in three categories. The Core Opposition, the Ideology Seeker, and Strong BJP allies.

The core group which is ready to form MahaGadbandhan and is promoting idea of an alliance which is secular in nature. They promote themselves as a secular force against the communal BJP. The core group includes INC, NC, IUML, JDS, NCP, SP, BSP, TMC, DMK, AAP, RLD, RJD, Left. If we evaluate the vote share and the probable seat share we would realize that at present they command roughly 100 seats.

The second major group which is not clear with the idea of the MahaGadbandhan but may join the group if the alliance offers attractive opportunity. They mostly have not bought the idea of the secular alliance and mostly awaiting the right ideological mix. In my views, the other set of parties that do not believe in the idea of a MahaGadbandhan based on the idea of a secular alliance include JDU, TDP, AIADMK, YRSC, TRS, BJD, SS, MNS. This group though is wary of the increasing might of Modi and the dominance of his brand of politics. This group has control on another 100 parliamentary constituencies.

Even if the Core Opposition, and the Ideology Seeker join hands they might win a few more than the 200 parliamentary constituencies. The number still will not be sufficient to for the government. They might project themselves as the alliance that will be the united opposition.  I can say with certain assurance that the third set which is part of the NDA core group and the key BJP allies is very prominent and far from the impact of anti-incumbency. This group is still gaining ground and increasing its vote share. The key BJP allies have mostly accepted the dominance of Modi and his brand of politics include LJP, SAD, AD, and other smaller parties. These parties are thriving on the local leadership and the charisma of the brand Modi. These parties are kind of extension of BJP political-DNA. I will not be surprised if some of these small parties get merged into BJP before 2019 elections and a new set of the ideology seekers join NDA.

The dynamics of politics in India is evolving and it is beyond the binary equations of the secular and communal. The new equation is extremely complex and probably beyond the dynamics of caste, and religion. I am not sure if the key players of the proposed mahaGadbandhan are analysing the emerging political equation and its impact.

Politics

Jul.10

India Needs Strong Opposition

India has strong government in the center and we need needs equally strong opposition. The desire of strong opposition is just not my views or wish of millions of the politically active Indian but also the National General Secretary of BJP Ram Madhav also believe the same. Even ruling party demands a strong opposition.

Unfortunately, there is no strong opposition at center. There is no single party or an alliance which can counter the moves of the ruling party as a cohesive unit with an articulated narrative. Ram Madhav, also argues that for any Mahagathbandhan to succeed or to be taken seriously, need to have a coherent narrative. The coherent narrative is missing as each party of the so-called opposition has their own hidden agenda; they don’t have any defined plan or ideology; and the opposition don’t have a defined strong leader.

It is important to understand that strong opposition doesn’t mean only numbers, a strong opposition party should act like a watchdog. They should be in position to command the respect of people and the party in power. They should be in position to argument well with positive in disagreement.

I believe that it is not necessary that congress should emerge as the largest and strongest party of opposition. One of the strong regional parties with strong leadership and national ambition can also emerge as the party of opposition at center. Though there is opportunity for a regional party like Samajwadi Party, or Aam Admi Party to emerge as the option to be the party of opposition, but it also requires leadership to have focus to achieve the position. As of now, in absence of any such alternative, congress becomes the defacto option of opposition party.

The age-old party Congress needs to start from scratch. It has to be a new beginning; this beginning can be independent of the Gandhis. The new age leaders of Congress would need a new approach, new leadership, new ideology, and contemporary agenda. Most of the political analyst believe that if congress need to emerge as the party of opposition, it needs to rework on the leadership, ideology, and reposition the brand congress from scratch.

It is important for congress to reinvent the party as it is fast losing the political ground, and voters confidence. Its ironical that congress as a party has been reduced to the politics of vote bank. The decline of the congress is witnessed from the results of recent assembly elections, and most of the local body elections results has shown that the Congress has been virtually decimated by the BJP. The decline of congress is apparent form the result of the recent Uttar Pradesh Assembly election where, congress managed to win seven seats, which is even lower than BJP ally Apna Dal’s which won nine seats. As we are witnessing the decline of congress and many other regional parties across India, we are also witnessing rise in the vote share of BJP in all the states where it has no presence, or limited presence. The decline in the importance of regional parties, and loosing grip of congress across India has created a scenario where we are not witnessing constructive opposition. It will not be wrong to say that we are back to the era of spineless opposition. The only difference is this time the opposition is congress and other regional parties.

In my views, the gradual decimation of congress from Indian politics is bad news for India and the idea of Indian democracy. Congress need to focus on the constructive opposition and argue around issues which are non-religious, beyond caste and regionalism, issues that talks of development, corruption, women security, terrorism, intolerance, riots, etc. I believe that this is the time for the opposition to unite and restructure. It is time to re-work on the ideology, and reposition themselves.

Politics

Nov.13

Basics of Online Reputation Management

Reputation management is the understanding or influencing of an individual’s or business’s reputation. It is the practice of monitoring the reputation of an individual or brand, addressing contents which are damaging to it, and using customer feedback solutions to get feedback or early warning signals to reputation problems. It is important to have well defined, and developed online reputation management program. The key elements of the online reputation management include:

Branding,New Media,Social Media Marketing

Oct.24

Email Marketing – Spam List

Writing the subject line and email content for emails can be one of the most stressful steps of email marketing. It is also critical as most ISPs and email clients use various filters to scan incoming email to determine if they should be delivered to the inbox folder or spam folder. The spam filters check for spam triggering words in the subject line and email content based on their weightage. It is important to know that spam words carry a weightage and not all are of equal importance.

Email Advertising,New Media

May.17

Successful Email Marketing Tips

There has been lot of discussions around end of email marketing, email marketing is dead, etc. I believe that email marketing is still going strong and evolving. I with certain assurance can say that in recent times, I have witness rise in popularity of email marketing. The rise in popularity of email  marketing can be proved by the rise in number of email in every inbox. The popularity of email marketing has created a situation where we need to optimize our email marketing practice. 

Marketing,Email Advertising

Jan.31

West Bengal Assembly Election 2011: Beginning of New Era

West Bengal Legislative Assembly Election, 2011 was not any normal election. This election marked the defeat of the longest-serving democratically elected communist government in the world. It ended the thirty-four-year rule of the Left Front Government. The voice of change was so strong that the incumbent Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also lost his Jadavpur seat to Trinamool’s Manish Gupta.

Politics

Jan.29

Commoditization of Political Brands

There are six key aspects in political branding: party, policies, leader, candidates, issues, and services. It is very important to know that any political branding exercise can’t separate these six aspects when it comes to it. This is my attempt to understand the basics of political branding in India and where do all political parties stand in these aspects. I must say that I have been observing the behaviour of most of the political leaders from all key political parties in India both national and regional. Here I would not like to talk of global political leaders and political parties.

Branding,Politics