The Horrendous Communication Strategy of “Modi Sarkar“

“A good relationship starts with good communication” – If this is considered to be foundation of every relationship, the relationship between the Modi Sarkar and India is strained. Not only is the government showing inefficiency in addressing issues, but they are also proving to be highly inept. Mind you, this is despite the fact that any adverse event or atrocity anywhere will now be stuck on PM Modi’s door even if similar events took place with same regularity.

As anyone will agree, the government of the day faces myriad of issues. At some times they need to be proactive, and others where they need to react to situations. I find a severe lack of interest or attention to address issues. If PM Modi thinks that he will weather the storm for 4 years, and then go on an attacking spree to dismantle opposition claims – I would love that to happen. But I am getting increasingly skeptic.

Proactive Communication Failures

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Let us consider two decisions that were part of the BJP manifesto: the implementation of the OROP and the releasing of Netaji Files. Both of these were the agenda on which PM Modi had campaigned aggressively against the UPA. How he lost sight of these, by not anticipating the negative publicity by the opposition parties is beyond me. He let the UPA and other opposition parties take on the position of pro-OROP by sending out confusing messages. Defense Minister Parrikar said the files were cleared from his department one day and Finance Minister Jaitley said that there were many complications, another day. What was going on there? PM Modi prided on getting all departments to work together seamlessly – but, here was a clear lack of that. Why cannot your government talk in a single voice when dealing with complex issues?

Regarding the release of Netaji Files, for approximately 18 months, we were led to believe that the release will affect our foreign ties. Arun Jaitley is on record saying that. What happened suddenly in September 2015 that you decided to invite the Bose family to meet and announce the release date? What happened was – Mamata Banerjee beat you into submission. The same Mamata Banerjee who did not release the files when UPA was in the center did it to embarrass PM Modi. Left with no alternative, you followed suit. I am not privy to national security matters, but this is the narrative that everyone follows now. If Steve Waugh was an Indian political commentator, he would have said “You’ve just lost West Bengal”. To summarize, the whole foreign ties explanation was bunkum. You wanted to release at an opportune moment, but Mamata forced you to act. If this is not true, come out with the timeline of internal deliberations.

Let me not get into other success areas in economy, foreign policy, NE policy and so on. Not one of these topics has been “properly” communicated. We know that the Modi app sends messages on these developments, but they are not registering on the front pages of newspapers.

Reactive Communication Failures

Church attacks, various bans by state governments, Dadri massacre, beef issue, akademi award returns and so on – none of these issues are due to Central government policies or come under the purview of the Center. I cannot fathom how many primetime shows have gone on to blame PM Modi on each of these and many more. Not once has the government or BJP for that matter, come up with a short and succinct rebuttal.

Every spokesman conveys a different message. Each has a different talking point. Almost every TV debate goes like “During UPA times, why were you silent” or “There were 10 deaths during UPA, why the hullaballoo over one death”. These may make good primetime viewing, but leaves a bad taste. Every one of us can understand that the government cannot stop all atrocities. But saying one death is better than ten or hundred, is sheer stupidity. Remember, we elected PM Modi for “achche din” and not just for “behtar din”. If the argument is that hardly anyone watches these shows, then please don’t bother to send spokesmen there.

Final Word

Prime Minister Modi must understand that India voted for and elected “Modi Sarkar” and not “Jaitley Sarkar”. Every time an issue breaks out or media creates an issue, I do not want to see Jaitley making a statement on behalf of the government. He is a great spokesman, but his words are from a lawyer-politician and not Modi. To be honest, nobody gives a damn about what he says. He may keep mainstream media happy, but he simply does not matter to us. Either PM Modi makes a comment or let the government keep mum. When Modi can give an interview to print media like HT or Dainik Jagran, why can’t he address a press conference once a quarter? That way he is not favoring any media house and is also taking matters head on.

Some BJP folks claim that PM Modi touches upon issues during the “Mann Ki Baat” program. However, this is a monthly speech. If you have not seen the trend, charged issues rise immediately after this show. Confident that PM Modi will remain silent for a month and opposition can drive the narrative. Like they say, baaki aap khud samajhdaar hain…


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