Skip to main content

"Pro-Modi" consultant APCO Worldwide behind NDTV India giving clear majority to NDA, alleges top scribe

By Our Representative
In a major critique of top channel NDTV India, well-known scribe Seema Mustafa has alleged that the top channel gave 230 seats to the BJP and majority to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as part of an international consultant’s effort to promote BJP's Prime Ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi. Writing in thecitizen.in, she has said, “The recent poll by NDTV giving 230 seats to the BJP and a full majority to the NDA was conducted by Hansa Public Relations, whose former CEO Tushar Panchal is currently head of Services to Government practice for APCO Worldwide", which is “widely credited for not just creating and pushing the Vibrant Gujarat project but also promoting and marketing brand Modi.”
Mustafa says, “Tushar Panchal joined APCO worldwide in 2011 straight from a two year stint as CEO in Hansa Public Relations which is part of the RK Swamy Hansa Group, crediting itself with ‘an exceptional track record of helping build clients businesses’ as a ‘leading advertising and marketing services organisation’.” She underlines, the opinion poll on NDTV is nothing but a clear example of “a system where the effort of stakeholders has become to manage consent, and propagate it through the media as national consensus.”
Quoting APCO Worldwide website, Mustafa says, Panchal is now currently in the position of senior director in on the consultant’s board and “manages key relationships with various state governments across the country”, and the website describes him as “one of the few communication consultants in the country today, who can provide 360 degree communication and branding solution to governments and heads of states.”
Giving his background, Mustafa says, Panchal was largely educated in Gujarat, completing Business Administration in Marketing from MS University in Vadodara. “He did his MDP in Business Management, from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and now has 19 solid years of experience behind him in well known companies”, the scribe added.
“Hansa Public Relations shot into media prominence just recently with the poll that has surpassed most others by giving the BJP and Narendra Modi a good 230 seats in these elections. This is still being discussed in Delhi’s drawing rooms, as it has upped the ante significantly for Modi and the BJP projecting them in the seat of power even before half of India has voted in these elections. Hansa and NDTV join a series of polls on Indian television steadily increasing the numbers for Modi in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls”, Mustafa has contended.
Seema Mustafa
“APCO Worldwide”, Mustafa recalls, “is a high powered company that has played an influential role, from all accounts, across the world in shaping destinies and political outcomes. It has a virtual who’s who list of consultants with the Indian presence being marked by former foreign secretary who was also the ambassador to the US after retirement Lalit Mansingh."
She adds, "Mansingh is on its International Advisory Council. In what is seen as a related and even more high powered appointment directed at the Indian market is the appointment of former US ambassador to India Tim Roemer as APCO’s Cice President. He is assigned to APCO’s Global Political strategies and international advisory council groups.”

APCO praise for UPA

Mustafa’s allegations have come, ironically, close on the heels of APCO Worldwide eulogising the UPA’s economic performance on its website: “After a series of significant policy changes starting in 1991, India today is a trillion-dollar market with an enviable rate of GDP growth.” It said, “Today, India plays an increasingly important role in global geopolitics — not only as the world's largest democracy, but also as an economic powerhouse that is coming into its own.”
It underlined, “India's economy is fueled by the combination of a large services sector, a strong and diversified manufacturing base and a significant agricultural sector that continues to provide a framework for the growth of the domestic economy. The country's resilience in weathering the recent global downturn and financial crisis has made governments, policy-makers, economists, corporate houses and fund managers believe that India can play a significant role in the recovery of the global economy in the months and years ahead.”
Noting this change, a UK-based scholar and activist Rohini Hensman has observed in a recent commentary, “The Gujarat Model of Development: What would it do the Indian Economy?”: “This is a very different picture from the constant BJP blitzkrieg blaring the allegation that the UPA has made a mess of India’s economy.” It points out, “Given that APCO is the public relations firm hired by the state government of Gujarat from 2009 to 2013 at a reported cost of $ 25,000 a month to promote Modi’s Vibrant Gujarat, it can hardly be accused of pro-Congress bias.”
Not just this. APCO Worldwide has gone so far as to deny that it has been part of the Modi bandwagon. Insisting that “APCO is a non-partisan, global communication, business strategy and stakeholder engagement firm that works with a significant number of global corporations, governments and leading nonprofit organizations in India and around the world”, it does not deny that “APCO was one of the strategic partners of the Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb) of the Government of Gujarat, working to promote the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Summit and to position Gujarat as a global investment destination.”
However, it points out, “The firm’s contract with the government concluded at the end of March 2013, and currently we have no working relationship with the Government of Gujarat.” Currently, it says, “APCO does not work on behalf of Chief Minister Modi. APCO is not involved in any media activities relating to the rescue efforts of pilgrims, tourists and residents in Uttarkhand in the wake of last week’s tragic flash floods. APCO has never worked to obtain a US visa for Chief Minister Modi.”

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

PLFS data: Is rising employment good news? Deeper analysis suggests contrary results

By Ishwar Chandra Awasthi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav*  Results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2020-21 , released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI) on June 14, 2022, show improvement in work force participation rate (WPR) and labour force participation rate (LFPR) and declining unemployment rate. Four rounds of data have been released from 2017-18 to 2020-21 based on PLFS. The general trend in the last four rounds clearly shows consistent increase in WPR and LFPR and falling unemployment rates by usual status (PS+SS). Though increase in WPR and LFPR is reported highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19, yet rising trend in these two key indicators continues throughout, and similarly fall in unemployment is registered highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19. Clearly, the recent results give some solace and relief after unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has entailed enormous loss of human lives and livelihoods and crippled economic activit

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria