Brand NaMo versus Brand Gandhi : Lighting up the political firecrackers

In the absence of any visible pro-Modi wave, it’s opportune time for Congress to position ‘Brand Gandhi’ firmly in the political battlefield.

Eleven days after celebrating her 47th birthday, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been given a formal position, clubbed with a momentous responsibility, in the Congress Party. While bitiya Priyanka has beena popular face in her mother’s and brother’s constituencies of Rae Bareilly and Amethi, how much political mileage she can derive in rest of the state only time will tell. Nevertheless, it’s going to be a high pitch battle of Brand NaMo Vs Brand Gandhi, with political strategists, media brokers and image builders providing the necessary ammunition to both the sides.

Reactions of both – Congress and BJP, to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s ‘entry’ into politics, have been on the predicted lines. While Congress party leaders and workers are rejoicing, equally charged up are the BJP functionaries. Devoid of any major issues against the Congress, they have now got the fresh ammunition. Criticizing and denouncing the move of Congress Party, BJP’s spokesperson Sambit Patra  lost no time in launching an offensive against the Congress accusing it of dynasty politics. PM Modi also made a veiled attack on Priyanka through his “For BJP, party is family; for others, family is party” remark while interacting with the BJP workers from Maharashtra via video conferencing. With political temperature rising, more firecrackers will be burnt in the public.

For BJP,  2014 election, was all about the newly created Brand NaMO, and the entire political campaign was weaved around it, something which Congress could not do with Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi. In 2019, while Brand NaMo is now five-years old, and has already lost much of its sheen,   with absence of any visible pro-Modi wave, and their recent defeat in the hind heartland – the scenario demands a brand activation campaign for them. On the contrary, ‘Brand Gandhi’ is fresh, enjoys huge credibility and is widely accepted in the country. BJP understands it well; hence Priyanka ‘Gandhi’ Vadra will be the prime target of their attack before and during the elections. Within 24-hours of her entry into politics, focus has already shifted on Priyanka’s husband Robert Vadra’s dubious land deals, which are currently being investigated by various government agencies.

BJP knows the real magic lies in the surname “Gandhi”. During the last five years, BJP has tried to use Mahatma Gandhi’s name to their political advantage, and they will try their best to ensure ‘Gandhis’ don’t take the ‘ownership’ back.  It is learnt that instructions have been issued to state broadcasters – Doordarshan and All India Radio that news bulletins should refer to her as Priyanka Vadra without any mention of Gandhi! Soon, social media platoons will be activated to focus on her being a daughter of videshi bahu or comparing her to Rahul Gandhi to project the latter as a failed leader. Congress, on its part, has already started pitching Priyanka as ‘Indira Gandhi’, given her striking resemblance with her grandmother.

With less than three months in hand, Priyanka Gandhi has an uphill task to perform in a state where the Congress has been completely wiped out. It is too early and premature to say, whether, as a fifth generation politician of Congress party, she can turn around the party’s fortunes in the upcoming elections or not , however, her presence will definitely alter the course of Indian politics in the coming future.

Narender Yadav
Narender Yadav
Associate Editor, News Intervention Media Educator and Film Critic

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