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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Tablighis or Namaste Trump? Rupani must 'clarify' on origin of Covid-19 in Gujarat

By Mujahid Nafees* In his video communication on April 24, 2020, chief minister Vijay Rupani informed us that in the month of March the Gujarat government had quarantined 6,000 people returning from abroad in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. He further asserted that the spread of Covid-19 was caused by the tablighis returning from Nizamuddin in Delhi. His statements were widely publicized and given front page coverage by some local dailies.

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”