Amith Prabhu: On the campaign trail – so much PR to learn

14 Apr,2014

By Amith Prabhu

 

This past week I had the privilege of watching closely one of the most amazing Public Relations exercises. One which makes India the most vibrant and the largest democracies. One where one human being with their supporters going to fellow citizens asking for votes.

 

Yes – I was in a constituency that will see an interesting battle between three renowned individuals to spend 48 hours as a life-long student of political public relations. I was on Gul Panag’s campaign trail in Chandigarh. It was captivating to see this 35-year-old actor-activist go through a grueling schedule of 15 hours on an average juggling the urban and the rural areas of this union territory.

 

Thousands of candidates across 543 constituencies are doing the drill to make it to the Lok Sabha this summer which may see a change of government at the centre. But to see several individuals who have thrown their hat in the ring shows a new wave of politics that is gripping this country. And to see them embracing social media is as fascinating as the way this entire exercise is being managed by India’s independent election commission.

 

Few takeaways from my two days in Chandigarh: a) Social media and glamour take a back seat – people are looking for genuine leadership to lead them into better times. b) Politics is not as easy as it seems to be – one has to be ready for the long haul c) Public Relations is paramount in this game as there are multiple internal and external stakeholders to engage with d) A well-oiled machinery is vital to run a smart campaign e) Most campaigns are chaotic but there is a method in the madness e) Communications is the key to a successful candidacy and has to be multi-pronged f) Strategy takes a back seat as all politics ultimately is local and it is the small tactics of bringing multiple groups on board that matters

 

The gigantic exercise will come to an end on May 16 and over the next four weeks Public Relations will play out across the length and breadth of the country in myriad ways. Don’t miss the action on social media and main stream media. But if you get a chance join a campaign trail for a day as there is no better PR lesson than watching one from close quarters.

 

Post a Comment 
  • Vipul Bondal

    Well written. Have done several trips in the sun myself and spent several sultry Mumbai evenings doing the lanes and bylanes. I completely second what you say.

  • Anup Sharma

    You have summed it up very well. Having attended and been part of few campaigns I must admit that this is one “product” which changes at every constituency and can’t be packaged and “sold” in the same manner. While social media takes a back seat, the use of whatssapp is immense even in remote places and Facebook takes a new meaning when it is used as a collateral delivery tool and creating groundswell.

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