January 19, 2009

Today, I visited L K Advani's website. Although I learnt about its existence the day it was born, somehow I was not feeling inclined to go and check it out then. But today I did. And I was not impressed by L K Advani or his digital agenda. He and his advisers may be incubating an Obama like political campaign in their mind, but to tell the truth, I am sure, it is just not going to work.

If I understand correctly, the digital agenda of L K Advani and the political party to which he belongs is to attract the Internet savvy youth of India along with other netizens. But however hard I try, I don't seem to find a reason why youth of India and netizens would vote for L K Advani. L K Advani, as a person or as a political leader, seems to be at the extreme other end of the aspirations of youth and netizens of India.

Coming back to the digital campaign, the biggest problem is that it is a case of bad product being advertised to the wrong audience. Everyone knows that nothing kills a bad product faster than great advertising. Why a predominantly young India would like to be led by a 82 years old politician, who is better known as a hardliner rather than an inclusive and progressive leader? The value system and aspirations of the present and future India doesn't seem to match with L K Advani's. And if his campaign managers are trying to blindly copy Obama's campaign to bring the young India into its fold, there is a high probability that it will backfire. Social media and digital platforms help one rapidly spread one's message if one is true and authentic but they are harshly unforgiving to those who try to imitate and fail the test of authenticity of character and agenda.

The truth, as hard as it may sound, is simple - L K Advani is someone who cannot fire the imagination of Indians, particularly young Indians either by age or by heart, who are on a cusp of witnessing extraordinary change. Today, a well orchestrated marketing blitz can propel someone like Rahul Gandhi (young at age) or A P J Abdul Kalam (young at heart) to the center stage of Indian political arena where they can make Indians dream together. But I doubt if the same effect can be achieved by L K Advani or Arjun Singh. Today, a leader can fire the imagination of people, the way Obama did, only if he is in psyche with what people have in their heart and mind.

For America, it was the power of hope, courtesy Barack Obama. For Indians, it is going to be the power of aspirations and dreams. Any leader who has a character and a personality to carry off the aspirations and dreams of a billion people on his shoulder would emerge as a political hero in India in the present time. Who is going to be that hero? L K Advani would definitely not be that hero.


  1. Anonymous // January 19, 2009 at 12:05 PM  

    How I wish you were right about the need for authenticity in the social media. I suspect the social media may be as accessible to a well planned, well orchestrated and well moneyed campaign as the old media.

    If you have the right people twittering for you, posting on your blog for you, producing you videos on YouTube within a valid strategy - I fear you will be successful.

  2. Bizaholic // January 21, 2009 at 8:20 PM  

    @Detlef: Not necessarily. If you are not authentic, social media will ensure that people find it out soon. Do you remember what happened to the Republican candidate McCain despite all the infamous Republican machinery behind him. He was not true to himself and people found it out.

    Authenticity wins both in social media as well in real media.