Why do we say this? We only had  sportstars and celebrities in India who could be considered as brands in themselves. But now, a ‘humble’ politician is overtaking them by making all the right moves and by being seen in the right places. 

 

People have increasingly become aware of Brand Modi. Take this latest instance for example: Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew the ire of the public when his image on the Khadi calendar of and diary of 2017 appeared instead of Mahatma Gandhi's.  Congress MP Shashi Tharoor  was quick to call this an exercise to promote “Brand Modi”.  

 

 Brand Modi displaces Brand Gandhi

 

The brand saga began when we heard the chants of NaMo, NaMo before he came to power. The need to build a brand was necessitated out of the Godhra Riot fiasco, where his name figured prominently among those responsible for the carnage. His strident Hindu nationalism came in the way of positive image building, but then he managed to liberate himself slowly by becoming the poster boy for Gujarat. Every development in the state was attributed to him and you can see the results in the number of times he was elected as the Chief Minister of the state.

 

Then came the rebuilding of Brand NaMo. He was then projected as a man who believed in the development of his people, a politician who actually listened to the people’s problems and finally he was the ‘messiah’ that people were waiting for. He was painted as the one who would liberate them from the oppression and corruption they were facing under the Congress. His various schemes, directives and initiatives for the public proved how much work he could do for the nation. By the time he came to power the anti-Congress sentiment worked big time to secure his win.

 

Brand Modi

 

Even his detractors helped largely by inflating the brand Modi balloon. Every time someone challenged him, Modi made sure he replied, his genius being in spinning the negativity against him to reflecting the positivity about his work. Then you also have him portrayed as a doting son who loves his mother. An image that appeals to the Indian tradition of maternal love and obedient son and right there you have the public falling for his ‘good son and better man’ image.

 

Then you have this persona of a media-savvy, camera-loving, technologically adept PM who is now thinking digitally. His presence on the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to the youth directly and to generate conversations is a big hit with the public. Not to forget the widespread media campaign which repeatedly focussed on his achievements and his vision for India; the psychology was such that everywhere the public turned they could see Modi’s face looking benignly at them, exhorting them to do good and reminding them of the promises he has fulfilled.

 

Modi’s globetrotting habits may have drawn flak from the public but the deals and investments he is bringing from these foreign visits is enough to make the public look the other way. Remember how it was in Gujarat? When Mamata Bannerjee kicked Tata Motors out of Bengal, it was Modi who gave them land in Gujarat. He projected the move in such a way that it became a game changer for Gujarat development.

 

Modi and his travels

 

Modi managed to break down the wall of inaccessability that was linked to his predecessors. His commendable oratory genius  ensures that his political rallies witness packed crowds and his Radio sessions (Mann ki Baat) are widely heard. He makes sure to speak in the language that the masses speak, thus widening his reach.

 

When Modi announced demonetisation,(a pretty gutsy move), he made sure he addressed the people it was being done for - the poor, the downtrodden and the general public. He constantly drew up the image of an India groaning under the weight of black money, corruption and more such evils. With this move, though inconvenient, he promised to be the liberator of India and that’s how the Indian public feels all the more indebted to Modi.

 

In fact, time and again Modi has promoted and used Mahatma Gandhi's ideals to emerge as the favourite of the Indian masses. From Make in India, to wearing Khadi, to Swach Bharat campaign, everywhere you see glimpses of Gandhiji. 

 

So Modi taking the  place of Mahatma Gandhi on the Khadi calendar has proved that brand Gandhi is on the ebb and brand NaMo is on the rise. Like Bapu was lauded for his vision for Independent India and his struggles in leading India to freedom, similarly Modi can be seen as the ‘new-age Gandhi’. He is the man who is leading India into the digital age, freeing the country from corruption and is taking along the poor, marginalised, economically downtrodden and the youth to spearhead this vision of his. So now as we know it, Brand Modi is here to stay.