Sunday, May 30, 2010
Image Consulting for Varun Gandhi
Varun gandhi is the Gandhi who has been really successful in carving a small niche for himself, thanks to the pre election diatribes that he spelled out against a particular community .Not only did Mr. Gandhi won the Lok Sabha election with huge margins but also recently managed to become national secretary of the BJP .At this point of time he does not have an image crisis but of course an image chaos , he is donning too many images. In the author’s opinion these are as follows:-
1. A Hindu hardliner who is loved for his arrogance and aggressiveness, a Gandhi with a difference who loves speaking his mind.
2. Sanjay's ambitious son who has a vision and to make it happen he holds the guts to take strong actions.
3. An educated elite who loves reading books, does poetry, holds a post graduate degree in public policy from London School of Economics, has a Gandhi surname and who holds the potential to make an impact in the landscape of Indian politics which is often cluttered by goons, regional chauvinists, pseudo socialists, feudal lords etc.
4. A moron, publicity hungry youngster who will not hesitate to put his foot in mouth to get some attention.
Thus Varun in someone for whom people have very divergent views . Now the author will try to do some image consulting for Mr. Gandhi and will also like to suggest some future strategy:-
1. Be a Right winger but avoid being a an ultra conservative:- Varun must understand that there are lot of takers for moderately conservative Hindutva but there is absolutely no space for ultra conservative agendas neither in the media nor among any sizable mass of public. The kind of speech which he spoke in the pre- election rally is never expected from a statesman. What had happened had happen, with time people will forget all this but what is important is that Varun should never use such stuffs in the nearby future .Having said this it does not mean he should not capitalize on mild Hindutava, issues like terrorism, fundamental Islam, illegal immigration are alarming dangers and if projected in the right spirit holds a lot of potential to influence the voters. Varun being a learned person and a good orator can definitely take lead on these issues and by drafting an objective analysis can surely include those people in his supporter’s base who are definitely not hard liners but have concern for such issues.
2. No comparison with Rahul:- Varun Gandhi should always try to avoid himself being compared with Rahul Gandhi, since both the brothers belong to the same political family there will always be temptation in the media circles to compare them but Varun must understand the fact the kind and the scale of media attention which Rahul enjoys is almost impossible to attain at this stage of time .So there is absolutely no sense in trying to get himself compared with Rahul .Rather he must try to build his own independent image .
3. Avoid Sanjay's name:- Varun's statement on mass sterilization was nothing but an attempt to show that he too inherits his dad's charisma and vision but it must be understood that it will take Varun nowhere .Though Sanjay was a charismatic leader but he was also very sly and shrewd and was often seen in the Indian media as someone who is autocratic and ruthless, so having Sanjay's tag will not be a wise decision .More over it will also irritate the BJP & at this stage of time it’s not the family tag but the support and encouragement of BJP which is more essential for Varun to Bolster his newly started political career .
4. Leverage his Intellectual capital:-Varun has always been considered as someone who was known for having an intellectual perspective. He must leverage this and should always project himself as a very well learned & knowledgeable individual.
In short Varun must understand that initially he will have a comparatively smaller but reasonably decent enough space to work upon. He must try to use it in a proper way and must avoid making blunders to build a bigger base. He cannot be suave and elegant like his cousin or uncle; he cannot be the cynosure of indian politics like his stylish father, power full like his grandmother, idealistic like his great grandfather but can definitely be the Gandhi with a touch of difference, someone who is learned, aggressive and opinionated. Who speaks when needed and prefers silence when there is no need. Who is witty and has the guts to face the volleys of rapid fires , who has the intellect to take on the media and is not bounded by some "good boy" image, if needed can stretch a little bit beyond to challenge the conventions (but of course more on content & logic and less on rhetoric.)