24 June, 2021

Let There Be Dialogue

A former career communicator’s book must be culled for tips by the PMO

Narendra Bisht
Let There Be Dialogue

A delegation of European parliamentarians who met Narendra Modi last year (and were impre­s­sed with his work ethic) had a small doubt: what does the prime minister do to unwind? Does he catch a movie, go to a play, listen to music, meet friends, hit the gym or play a sport? The answer, strangely, is no one knows, because a) Modi has cultivated this impossible image of a man who is working 60x60x24x7x365 to make India better, b) he doesn’t reveal anything of his softer side that might diminish the halo around his macho persona, and, c) there is no one in his vicinity who is authorised to tell us these things.

The opacity runs counter to Modi’s accepted credentials as a master communicator, but it is very much in line with modern-day image man­agement where controlling the message is the key. Then again, after 20 months of watching his media strategy unravel, it is clear that what he is most comfortable with are one-way platforms, like Twitter, Man ki Baat and Madison Square Garden, where he speaks and everyone listens, no questions asked. Not for...

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