Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Mr. Rambo" and his PR stuff...

Vidya Subramaniam wrote an op-ed in today's Hindu. Titled "The case of missing BJP", the intention was to discuss the BJP's perceived failings as an opposition. And whilst the second part of her article reels out statistics that should get the BJP and its cadre to worry about a lot, there is one more failing of the BJP as Opposition party that she doesn't (or will not) mention.

She dedicates about two paragraphs to the politics of Uttar Pradesh and goes on to talk about the recent Bhatta Parsaul incident in the state. Please read the entire para that am pasting below.

"Conscious of the upcoming 2012 Assembly election, the BJP had jumped into the fight against Mayawati. But once Rahul Gandhi arrived Rambo-like on the scene, the audience quickly moved to his side. Thirsty TV cameras followed the Congress heir's every move, anchors hung on to his every word, and if he made gaffes, as he did, it was so much the better for prime time news. The BJP's Kalraj Mishra shouted himself hoarse. It was apparent that his version of events matched Mr. Gandhi's almost in toto: The police had killed 35 farmers, and hundreds had gone missing, he said, but to no avail. It was the Rahul tamasha that got the spotlight."

Rahul Gandhi arrived "Rambo-like". "Thirsty TV cameras". "every move, every word." The sold out media ensures that no stone is left unturned when it comes up to hyping Rahul Gandhi. Before "Mr.Rambo" came onto the scene, workers and leaders of both Samajwadi Party and BJP participated in the agitation, were arrested by the government. But "thirsty TV cameras" did not find all these news worthy. Mr. Rambo said he found bones of humans under heap of ash. VidyaS very conveniently misses out that point. She equates Mr. Rambo's utterances to what BJP's Kalraj Mishra said (which are entirely two different things). Notice how she uses the word "almost". Mr.Rambo misled the PM and yet the media let him off.

And herein lies the BJPs failure. Why is the BJP failing in exposing this massive PR exercise launched by the Congress in tandem with the Indian media? Why is the BJP not unravelling it's own campaign to counter this sold-out media? Rahul Gandhi is behaving like the opposition leader - his plan is to come to power owing to anti-incumbency of UPA2.0 (which is headed by his mother) and yet BJP is somehow not yet ready to counter this offensive? What exactly is the party waiting for? Rahul Gandhi is the V.P.Singh of this government, and yet BJP fails to attack and counter Rambo's PR effectively. Why? This muted silence on part of BJP is not helping matters at all. BJP's performance in the Parliament has been one of the best in recent times. Yet, there is no massive media coverage. The party needs to go on the offensive big time. It needs to bring up this point in every public meeting, in every press conference. Articles need to appear in newspapers, spokespersons on TV need to counter this regularly. Without this, there is no hope.

The second part of the article has many points for the BJP. However, there is nothing new in her data (some of the data is wrong too). Many many analysts on the internet (some, who are BJP sympathizers too) have spoken about these numbers a long time back. Now that we have these numbers in a main stream paper, the audience has just increased manifold. It should worry the BJP that they don't have any presence in important states. However, in my opinion, if BJP doesn't combat Mr. Rambo's PR blitzkerg in a sold-out media, a win in 2014 still looks a distinct possibility.


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