Skip to main content

In a scramble to go close to Modi, "future" PM, top PR firms start making important personnel changes

By Rajiv Shah
Well-placed sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi are happy – that, even as Modi is fighting a “winning battle” in the Lok Sabha polls to become India’s next prime minister, already, several public relations (PR) firms have begun to line up, even are closing ranks, and are vying with each other to be close to circles around the PM aspirant. According to these sources, they are making an “unprecedented effort” by recruiting persons who they believe have had access to Modi’s inner circles in Gujarat.
“If till now it was only one top international consultant, APCO Worldwide, involved in organizing the Vibrant Gujarat world business summits for Modi, which had managed to reach close to him, now things are clearly changing”, the sources point out. So close did APCO Worldwide reach to Modi that allegations began flying high on how the top international firm was “hired” for 25,000 US dollars a month to promote Modi worldwide, even campaign for visa, denied to him by Washington, amidst influential circles in the US.
While vehemently denying that APCO Worldwide in any way tried doing any other work beyond organizing public relations for the Vibrant Gujarat business summits, which were a biennial event after 2003, latest information with these sources suggests that PR firms in Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere are trying hard to “highlight” how they are in no way worse that APCO Worldwide in promoting Modi, he becomes India’s Prime Minister. “There is already a lot of one-upmanship”, the sources point out.
By way of example, the sources say, one of the senior persons working with APCO Worldwide and having big claims of access to the chief minister’s office (CMO) in Gandhinagar, has just joined a top Delhi and Mumbai-based firm, Adfactors PR as senior vice president strategic communications and public affairs. “Tushar Panchal worked with APCO Worldwide between 2011 and 2013. His claim to have access to the CMO has seen him quickly ride up the PR ladder”, these sources point out.
Earlier, Panchal worked with Hansa Public Relations, which carried out a recent opinion poll for NDTV India channel. The opinion poll gave BJP under Modi close to 230 seats in the Lok Sabha, and the NDA a clear majority. Soon after the NDTV released its results, allegations were made (click HERE to read) that Panchal, as head of services to government practice for APCO Worldwide, “influenced” the poll, carried out by Hansa, in a very big way.
Sources close to Modi claim that while Adfactors PR may have “hired” Panchal in the hope that he would help reach closer to the circles around Modi, he is only one of the several persons who were “vying hard” to “handle” Modi’s PR job in the recent past, but with not much success. “Panchal’s exit from APCO Worldwide, if anything, was not amicable”, the sources point out, suggesting that Modi's did not allow to to go even closer to Modi after the Vibrant Gujarat business summit. APCO Worldwide's contract with the Gujarat government ended in March 2013.
Meanwhile, Panchal's profile describes him as a “specialist with over 20 years of experience in communication fields such as advertising, corporate communications, public relations, investment promotions, public affairs, government affairs and marketing communications.” It adds, “He specializes in relationship management and development and implementation of marketing and corporate communication and business strategies.” He is supposed to help top corporate circles in India by making an impact on the future BJP rule under Modi.
As the Adfactors PR’s website says, “As the world's largest democracy, India also has the world's largest number of political parties. Whether incidental or deliberate, their ideologies impact the functioning of practically every institution and sector.” Adfactors PR was hired by Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), which is a dream project of Modi. GIFT has so far failed to take off. Other PR firms which are seeking to go closer to Modi have also worked for the Gujarat government’s various agencies, including Mutual PR, Perfect Relations, Acti Media, Simulations and so on.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

Govt of India 'has no plan' to reduce energy, fossil fuel consumption, emissions

Counterview Desk
In his representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India on draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP), 2019, top power policy analyst Shankar Sharma has insisted that there is imminent need to consider the economic activities at the national/international level very carefully from the perspective of climate change.

Here's proof: Manual scavenging is rampant, Ahmedabad isn't open defecation free

By Parsottam Vaghela*
Authorities of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat, may have gone into full swing in its cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat mission after the city was awarded the open defecation free plus (ODF+) certificate by the Union government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. However, my visit to some of the areas of the walled city of Ahmedabad on August 7 in order to ascertain whether it has become open defecation free suggested that the claim is a total humbug.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.