In market-driven politics, the shelf-life of a leader as a brand is somewhat also linked with the ability to attract audiences – Janta. It is important for a leader to be confident, decisive, mature and spontaneous. There has always been concern if Rahul Gandhi possesses all these qualities. The charisma of the leader reflects in the performance of the team. We all know that under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, Congress has lost many states and the new addition is – Kerala and Assam. Moreover, its performance in Tamil Nadu is deplorable.
In India, the world of politics remains same only the reference point changes. On the one hand there is a political party which has aligned its ideology with RSS. This political party has been classified as non-secular or communal as it has differentiated itself from all others by aligning itself to the RSS and various Hindu ideologies. In my views, this is a classic case of differentiation as not only the party in question but also all other political parties (who claim to be secular) have labelled it as non-secular or communal. In the process, all other political parties helped it come to power by joining their share of voice against this party and polarized the voters mind (as they claim – politics of polarization). As they say, BJP is the only non-secular or communal party. In their views, there are two other not so non-secular parties – AkaliDal and the Shiv Sena (both these parties have aligned themselves with the BJP).
It will not be wrong to say that the Indian democracy is based on ‘cast system’. It sounds very derogatory but is sadly true. The main governing force as in cast vote bank in any part of India is function of – Muslims, Dalits, Brahmins, and various segments of OBC. It is important to understand that within the core segment, we have two dominant castes – Dalits and Muslims which is mostly united and form the biggest ‘vote bank’ in India.
With less than a year left for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has signalled zero tolerance towards corruption and candidates with criminal background. He has sacked many powerful ministers including Rajaram Pandey, Ambika Chowdhry, Narad Rai and Yogesh Pratap Singh and stripped others of plum portfolios. He is not only removing the ‘Dabangs’ from the party and the minister but also creating his own team and on-boarding them as ministers. In last two years, the ‘Team Akhilesh’ members being made ministers. It is obvious from his acts that he is on the go. He is the decision maker. He is clearly out of the shadows of the family politics. He is a mature politician now.
It is important to share that Congress since 1885 has dominated the Indian political space. It has also dominated India’s post-independence politics. It has ruled the country for 54 of the past 69 years, either on its own or as the leader of coalition governments. But now, the Indian National Congress is in crisis. Almost two years after its humiliating defeat in general elections, it has lost its face in the Assembly elections – Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal. They have become glorified third player in most of these states.
Prashant Kishor has delivered a landslide victory for Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in 2014. Once again in 2105, he managed to stich an unbelievable political alliance between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar. Today, he is one of the hottest political strategist of India. No wonder, he has been hired to script Congress’s revival in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
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.
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.
I believe that it was only Narendra Modi and BJP who understood the importance of social media in politics. Narendra Modi understood much in advance that in the age of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram and other social media platforms the rules of engagement has changed. He as a politician identified the shift in the tools used in political communication, and law of engagement with the current generation. Narendra Modi also understood the shift in engagement process which now is driven by likes, shares, and retweets on social media sites. Hence, Narendra Modi embraced social media and digital marketing as tool to engage with voters.