Does content matter when politicians blabber?

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Pratap Vikram Singh | February 8, 2014



The prime ministerial candidate of the BJP and Gujarat's chief minister, Narendra Modi, is considered as a good orator. The saffron leader is known to enthral crowds through his rhetoric. The content of his speeches doesn’t excite me, though. But does content really matter? Perhaps no. That’s what I figured out at a gathering of software and communications professionals and young entrepreneurs who came to hear Modi for his valedictory address at the India Digital Summit on February 7.

For most of the techies I spoke to, Modi is a leader with a vision, a Krishna who will salvage the country. To me his address (to the telecom and IT professionals) was a no show. But then who cares! The theme was digital entrepreneurship and economy, but he didn’t even use those words for a single time. He gave analogies about how important IT and high speed communications networks are for a country’s growth and development.

Here is an analogy. Just try to make sense out of it and let me know if you succeed: “Cities have historically developed around rivers. Later, urban sprawl came around highways. The next generation cities would develop around optical fibre.” Seriously!  To a gathering of software professionals, he appealed to join hands and work towards increasing the domestic manufacturing of electronics.

He also talked about migration, perhaps in the context of the recent death of an Arunachal Pradesh student in Delhi: “Why can’t we give them jobs in the north-east? Why do people have to go to Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai?”

Several professionals I spoke to said Modi’s speech was ‘disappointing’. “He didn’t make sense,” said an entrepreneur, who is with the business development team at Noida-based Solutions Infini, a messaging solutions provider. Modi was “slightly off the mark, but overall absolutely contextual,” said Amit Kopargaonkar of Buzzcity technologies. “Given the options, he would make for a good prime minister.” But several of them said they will vote for him, as “this man at least has a vision”.  

“He is an amazing orator. He just makes you forget everything. He has a vision. Now whether he delivers is another question,” said Vaishali Neotia, founder and CEO, MERXIUS, a Hyderabad-based company which makes augmented reality applications.

For the 24-year-old Nishit Mamgain, who works as marketing officer with Letsgoma Labs, which is into mobile applications business, Modi knows the art of connecting with the people. Another IT professional, who didn’t wish to be named, said Modi disappointed in most of his speech. But he admires Modi as a leader, and keeps him on a high pedestal vis-a-vis Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh or any other political leader. Modi has his vote, too!

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