Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi Facts

Information and analysis about Narendra Modi, India's new prime minister.


Does Modi have a "PR machine"?

Modi has an extensive PR machine. An important goal is to "...shape favorable media opinion for Gujarat Government, both nationally as well as internationally...", via a strategy which includes getting certain numbers of stories published per quarter in major media outlets "based on input provided by the State Government". The propaganda machinery around Modi includes 3D speeches, and his own TV channel, but it is not clear what this costs and how it is funded. Modi's social media strategy, includes heavy use of twitter and facebook, though a large proportion of Modi followers actually don't exist (see also here and here). Doctored images presenting Modi in a glamorous light circulate around the web, while his strategists circulate slogans like 'Har Har Modi', appearing to deify him.

Another part of the strategy is to woo potentially sympathetic commentators, such as writer Madhu Kishwar who, after a luncheon meeting with Modi, turned from being a critic to a supporter of Modi and wrote an extensive defense of Modi. The Modi spin machine sometimes messes up: a bizarre case is the Times of India "Rambo Act" article (original article now removed by TOI) claiming that Modi saved 15,000 Gujarati pilgrims stranded in flood-hit Uttarakhand. The story came from a BJP source, but turned out to be false and resulted in some backlash. Similarly, BJP strategists circulated the story that Narendra Modi had been declared incorruptible by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, which also turned out to be false, causing the party embarrassment.

From 2006 until March 2013, American lobbying company APCO Worldwide was in charge of the Gujarat State government's international PR operation. A critical look at APCO's activities can be found here. While APCO claimed only to promote Gujarat and denied promoting Modi as an individual, the BJP's "Glittering Gujarat" campaign with its exaggerated and selective claims has been central to Modi's campaigns.

PR machine in our news pages.