Monday, 3 April 2017

Brands that paid rich dividend in business of politics

Past perfect; present tense; future uncertain

In India, politics is the most profitable business, though unlike politicians in the USA or the UK, most of the Indian politicians claim that their main profession is ‘social service’.

In addition to ‘logo’ (election symbol) every party has a ‘brand name’ by which it wants to be known among its clients. It could be an ideology or a slogan or just the established family name.

One of the essential characteristics of Indian politicians is that they do not want to retire. For almost all of them, there is nothing like voluntary retirement nor do they appreciate being sidelined by the party. S. M. Krishna and Narain Dutt Tiwari have proved that age is no bar to starting fresh stint in a new party if the old one has ignored him or her.

Most of the political parties are run as personal or family business. The two notable exceptions are communists and the BJP, though in the BJP there are many who love to follow the tradition set by the Congress that a politician’s progeny has a birthright to pursue parents’ profession. Like the business, the party is also inherited. If the party cannot be inherited, the most common option is to inherit the constituency once nursed by father or mother or grandfather or grandmother.

You can see the war of succession not only in business houses (as witnessed in the Ambani family a couple of years ago) but also in the political dynasties. These wars of succession are often reminiscent of stories wars of succession we read in history books. The only saving grace is that the modern successor does not send his father or mother or brother to prison. Aurangzeb was cruel and imprisoned his father for life. Akhilesh is kind hearted. He just dethroned his father in a coup but spared his life. Ours being a democracy, unlike Sharjahan, Mulayam Singh Yadav is free to move around and curse the day he handed over the  empire to his unworthy and ungrateful  son.

As in normal business, there are ups and downs in the business of politics too. When the brand name loses its attraction, the fainthearted employees of the company (political party)  desert it and even join the rival. Gaurav Bhatia, till yesterday the firebrand spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party, will now be full of praise for his new employer’s brand at the cost of his previous employer. Never mind. A salesman is a salesman. It is his duty to sell his employer’s products.

Those who have no option but to continue with their old company and brand, blame the rivals for adopting unfair means, as Arvind Kejriwal and Mayawati are doing today.

Quite often, for survival, the main brand is marketed with supplementaries, sometimes giving the impression that the supplementaries has overtaken the main brand. Kejriwal started with anti-corruption. Midway, he discovered that ‘communalism’ was a most serious threat to India (and, therefore, more profitable for his own business). Soon thereafter he discovered that direct attack on a day-to-day basis on the brand Modi could be more rewarding, though his calculations have gone wrong. Mayawati is always indecisive, whether to take this caste or that caste along her journey on the elephant.

Here are some famous brands which had perfect past but the present is tense and the future is uncertain.

Brand name: Anti-corruption (Company: Aam Aadami Party. Founder owner: Arvind Kejriwal)

                       Before start of business  &  after success of business

Brand name: Dalit Empowerment (Company: Bahujan Samaj Party. Present owner: Mayawati)

                                       Sweet blessing for bright future





Brand name: Gandhi (Company: Indian National Congress. Present owner: Sonia Gandhi; co-owner: Rahul Gandhi; owner-in-waiting: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra)

Gandhi is Congress. Congress is Gandhi. Therefore, party property is family property.


Thank you God for giving financial security during the rainy days.

Brand name: Secularism (Company: Rashtriya Janat Dal. Founder owner: Lalu Yadav)


A visionary and strategist

Result of vision

Brand name: Socialism (Founder: Mulayam Yadav.  Present owner: Akhilesh Yadav)

Simple living during the days of struggle for Samajwad 

Struggle for socialism paid 

Pariwar (family) is made of individuals. Samaj (society) is made of pariwars (families).  Yadav family is a sample of what socialism can give its ardent followers.

(All photographs downloaded from internet.)

Devendra Narain
April 3, 2017