The story is told about the Bengalis keeping in mind that jealousy is perhaps the most prominent element in a Bengali character. When Rambabu’s son gets a job immediately after graduation, neighbour Haribabu tells the next door neighbour of Rambabu, say his name is Jadubabu, the news. First reaction of Jadubabu is that the news is not correct. But when assured by Haribabu that he himself has seen the letter of appointment, Jadubabu gives his final verdict, ‘Well he might have got the job, but wouldn’t receive his salary.’ The story perhaps applies to many other communities including that of the great champion of ‘secularism’ Mulayam Singh Yadav. The veteran political leader from Uttar Pradesh reached his conclusion after six rounds of polls, ‘Modi will not be allowed to become prime minister by his own party.’
The comment illustrates desperation. In this Mulayam is not alone. He is in the august company of many others. Mamata Banerjee is an example. Seeing the rising graph of BJP in what she thought her fiefdom she has forgotten all and is busy attacking BJP. She is busy talking of Modi’s estranged wife. She is countering Narendra Modi with her film personalities and is sending one actor called Dev to Asansol to match Modi’s proposed rally there. She did never think what would Dev say that would hold people from attending rally of Narendra Modi, arguably the most popular and talked about person in India today? The West Bengal chief minister, accustomed as she is with cronies nodding their heads in agreement, is at her wit’s end.
Take the grand old party Congress. One scribe waxed eloquent with hopes when she said that now Priyanka has come as the party’s strategist. What a touching faith in a family! Does Priyanka have any connect with the people of this country? Is a PR exercise of a photo splashed in media of Priyanka having food sitting in the middle of a farm with some local ladies surrounding her is a good enough indication of her connectivity with ordinary Indians? S Priyanka a great orator responding smartly to all critical questions posed by alert scribes? If the grapevine is correct she sat with her brother the great hope of India Rahul Gandhi when Arnab Goswami was interviewing him. Judged by the interview result nobody can have much faith in her PR ability. Bur Priyanka Gandhi is, if media report is to be believed, giving befitting responses to Modi’s charges. She said and I saw in media that instead of talking about real issues Modi is teaching alphabets – ABCD, RSVP etc. What a touching lunatic attempt at political response! Any novice in PR will maintain safe distance from such a brain.
There are many examples where the so called leaders have been committing hara-kiri almost every moment. Take Salman Khurshid for example. I saw he stated that Congress would support a Third Front government post election. Does he know that it is tantamount to acceptance of defeat much before all the constituencies go for poll? Communication is an art which needs clear thinking. I wonder if the Congress cronies have forgotten how to use their brain, if they at all have any!
But those who are feeling the hit from Modi wave – well there is no Modi wave so let me say Modi speeches – are not alone to commit blunder in their communication. There are many who are feeling inspired by Modi are also falling in line. Giriraj Singh is one example. Accustomed as he is to talk within his limited understanding and ability he wants people to migrate to Pakistan. Togadia is a well known Modi basher. His comments on similar line are actually to harm Narendra Modi’s campaign. But Baba Ramdev does not fall in this category. He is a smart communicator in the garb of a Yoga guru. Why did he use the phrase honeymoon in the context of Rahul Gandhi’s photo-ops at Dalit homes? He could have said poverty tourism or simple PR exercise to express what he wanted to convey.
Then there are the likes of Arvind Kejriwal and his unruly bunch of admirers. Kejriwal is busy talking of gas price and Mukesh Ambani. The setting of gas price is a complex technical process. But more than Kejriwal I would like to pay less, if possible not pay at all, for any ingredient I use in my daily life. This includes gas, electricity, water, petrol etc. If by bashing Mukesh Ambani the price goes down I will bash him everyday. Unfortunately things are not that simple. Even a stupid person like me understands the same. I also know that a person contesting against Modi does not have to mention only of Reliance serving criminal defamation notice to some writers of a book. The matter might be important but certainly not for voters in Varanasi. Similarly Rahul Gandhi should know that just by talking of the Adani group he is not scoring any fresh point. There is no known cases of wrongdoing either by Reliance or by Adani. There may be whispers, there may be allegations but none whatsoever is at the stage of filing of case. More important how is a common man impacted by the ‘crony capitalism’ that is being mentioned every time?
Clearly there is a huge quantum of communication confusion in the electioneering process today. This shows that most have not done their home work or thought through a strategy to sustain the interest of the target voters. Meanwhile we find experts, mostly some teachers somewhere in the world who are mostly occasional visitors to India, writing sermons on Indian election. One such article on Sunday mentioned that Narendra Modi had been planning to take a crack at the job of Prime Minister since 2002. Interesting thought indeed that makes good copy. But good copies are not always factually acceptable or logical.
Communication confusion is the operative word in India today.
The author is a communication consultant