PR disaster for PM Modi

PM Modi’s public relations machinery has made fatal mistakes.

Lesson 101 of PR: Tell your story logically without hiding key information or lying.

Now Modi government has lied with respect to two most important aspect of the currency demonitization as follows:

First, is the reason(s) for demonitization or currency exchange program by causing tremendous hardship to the 125 crore common men. Modi government has given a large number of reasons, none of them have been logically explained, that is, where was the need to do what has been done and the way it has been done. Where was the hurry to implement the scheme without proper planning and second why all the secrecy. For instance, fake currency has been in circulation for long and corruption is what all of us have been born with. Nothing would have changed much if the same action had taken place after 2 / 3 months after more planning. There is only one reason that I can think of for maintaining secrecy at the cost of avoid pain to 125 crore people, that is, to not to allow people with black money to get away. If this was the reason, it should have been explained to the people by giving reasons as what would have happened if the secrecy was not maintained. For instance, one of the reasons given should have been that people with black money would have bought gold with the old currency.

Each and every reason given Modi Government is being analyzed by me separately in other posts.

Second, Modi government should have clearly indicated in how much time the problem will be resolved and the reasons why it will take so much time. It failed on both accounts. Initially, Modi Government indicated that within 7/8 days everything will be normal, then Mr Jaitley asked for additional 2/3 weeks and now Mr Modi after returning from Japan has asked for 50 more days. This clearly give the impression to people that the Modi government is hiding something. It also failed to not only give a good estimate of by when the problem will be resolved but also did not truthfully explain the reasons why it would take the the time it would take. Mr Jaitley first explained the problem of recaliberating of ATM machines. He should have also explained the issue of the capacity of the currency printing facilities. The result is chaos. Modi government says there is no shortage of cash and when people go to the banks, there is some problem or the other. For instance, I went to the bank today to withdraw money. Only Rs. 2000 and some Rs. 50 and Rs. 10 were available. Also, the bank was not exchanging notes. In another bank where my driver went to withdraw his money, the cash finished at 1:00 pm by the time his turn came.

LESSON 102 of PR: Its just a matter of time when your lies will be revealed.

The second lesson of PR states that the more you hide facts or try to cover up, the more aggressively will the media will dig deeper and everyday will come out with new facts and details and you will keep getting into deeper and deeper mess. This is exactly what is happening today. Modi government keeps insisting there is no problem and the media keeps showing more and more live pictures of the lines and closed ATMs.

LESSON 103 of PR: Accept your mistake. Inform the people your plan moving forward.

The best to deal with a bad situation is to accept your mistake(s) and lay out your plan as to what you will do moving forward to control and improve the situation. The more you try to cover-up, the more people will investigate. It is better to accept mistakes. No one is perfect. So long as you are doing your best there will be very few who would be willing to hang you.

I do hope the Modi government will try to adhere to the time tested lessons of PR wisdom but politicians rarely do. Lets hope for the best.

Avinash Narula

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