ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Selling Modi

A well-organised public relations campaign to whitewash Narendra Modi of his multiple sins is on.

In the aftermath of Narendra Modi’s third consecutive victory in the Gujarat assembly elections in December last year, a concerted campaign has been launched to project him as the prime-ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the coming general elections. This was already on the cards well before the Gujarat elections and, in the four months since, it is apparent that his projection is a well-organised affair, much bigger than the larger-than-life persona that it is trying to project for Modi.

Soon after the organised killings of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 helped Narendra Modi win the assembly election that year, which the BJP was expecting to lose prior to the riots, there was a sudden and perceptible change in the way he projected himself. Aggressive Hindutva was put on the public relations back-burner and those who insisted on the continued focus on Hindutva – like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia and influential sections of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – were unceremoniously sidelined. This is not to suggest that Modi abandoned aggressive Hindutva, but it was to remain invisible, at least below the radar of public perception and mainstream media. An organised publicity campaign was launched to foreground “development” which mainly referred to easing the terms of business even further for private capital as well as a few large-scale infrastructure projects with high propaganda value, like the filling of Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati riverfront with water stolen from the Narmada.

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