Sujay Mehdudia

Parties try to sell themselves, their ideology

U.S. the originator of political marketing

Political products the sum total of ideologies

SHIMLA: Political marketing has become the new mantra for parties across the country who are now clearly trying to perfect this art to capture power by trying to sell themselves, their ideology and their policies to the voters who have become proactive and now tend to scrutinise the poll issues in a more effective manner.

According to a new book and probably the first on the subject ‘Political Marketing in India’ written by a serving senior civil servant Arun Kumar Sharma in the hill State of Himachal Pradesh, political marketing now has a universally accepted definition of being the application of marketing principles and procedures in political campaigns by various individuals and organisations.

Dr. Sharma has done his Ph. D in Political Marketing. The book states that U.S. was the originator of political marketing beginning with the television spat between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, the media manipulations, advertising tornados, and the inundation of voters by way of paid spots. The U.S. Presidential election is now a theatre of marketing techniques.

“Political parties in any democratic set-up strive to gain power. The means are elections in which political parties make promises and field candidates who may be able to carry along with them a large section of voters. The promises and other solemn assurances are wrapped in the ideology of the party and sold to the voters in attractive slogans. The electioneering and to some extent governance has taken from all fields including marketing,” he remarks.

Methods of research

According to the book that hit the stands this month, political parties, with the change in times, are also trying to assess the needs and wants of voters by resorting to market methods of research. The political outfits offer their “political products,” for satisfying the needs and wants of voters.

Political products are the sum total of ideologies, leadership issues, popular promises, containing the perceived needs and wants of the voters. According to Dr. Kumar, the book analyses the role play of each stakeholder in the democracy — voters, media personnel and political managers.