How Narendra Modi buys media through PR


The request for proposal (RFP) document of the Gujarat government that sets ‘targets’ for the PR firm that wins the contract to promote Narendra Modi’s image

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its deputy political editor Jatin Gandhi lays his hand on a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) document of the Gujarat government that shows how “almost every day, the Indian media—and sometimes the foreign media too—is tricked or influenced by Narendra Modi‘s public relations machinery”.

Exempli gratia: “Modi’s Rambo act, saves 15,000” (The Times of India, 23 June 2013) .

The RFP besides setting targets for the PR firm that bags the contract (see image, above) also lists what is expected of a PR firm if it bags the contract to manage the Gujarat chief minister’s image.

# The hired PR firm should ‘arrange for national and international media to visit Gujarat and attend various events organized by the different departments of the Government of Gujarat’.

# ‘The number of media personnel for any event shall be decided by the Commissionerate of information after deliberation on the scale of the event.’

# “It is the Firm’s responsibility to arrange for the visits of journalists to Gujarat, any other part of the country or abroad. The expenses for the same will be reimbursed by the Commissionerate of Information on the submission of actual bills.’

The story quotes sources as saying the state government has already borne the expenses of scores of journalists, paying for their flights, travel within Gujarat and stay on assorted occasions (and multiple visits in some cases).

“Senior journalists are usually assured of luncheon meetings with Modi, with seating plans drawn up to boost their egos. The current Indian PR agency (Mutual PR) has so far arranged meetings between Modi and a range of newspaper and magazine editors.

“Starting this year, the government also has a budget allocation for taking journalists abroad on Modi’s foreign visits….

“At the Vibrant Gujarat summit earlier this year, a list of 20 journalists was drawn for a luncheon meeting with Modi. On this list was Madhu Kishwar, editor of Manushi and a fellow at the Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies, who has turned from being a critic to an advocate of Modi.

“Internal communication accessed by Open shows that the agency was wooing Kishwar, something she firmly denies.

She says that she is writing a book on Modi: “I am going to include a chapter, I think, on the myth and reality of Modi’s PR. There is no PR. I have written angry letters to the CM’s office asking for information for which I have been waiting several weeks now. They are so overburdened.”

“With Kishwar claiming she is oblivious to the machinery at work, the Gujarat government nevertheless gave her special attention because she was seen as one of the lone voices emerging from the ‘the Left liberal space’ favourable to Modi’s policies with ‘captive column space available to her in The Hindu, DNA and Manushi…’

Read the full article: The Modi mythology

Also read: ReutersModi interview: ‘sensational tokenism’

‘Network 18’s multimedia Modi feast: a promo’

For cash-struck TV, Modi is cost-effective TRP

Modi‘s backers, media owners have converged’


  1. I am NoBody as I am an Aam Aadmi. But I am a part of Modi’s PR machinery…because I see a HOPE in him

  2. Guest

    Why is media covering 1 negative point of Mr. Modi. Why can’t media cover his good deeds and development of Gujrat State…. Thanx to Mr. Modi For Developing Gujrat State and Making INDIA Proud over the World.

    1. Ishan

      I do not understand the so called “Gijarat’s model of development”, it has and always will be a rich state. On the other hand hand, I think Nitish Kumar has done very work in Bihar. NaMo is more more of a media hype than reality. Yes, one cannot deny that Modi is a good orator but I really doubt that “Gujarat’s development model” applies to other states as well.

  3. sunil chaudhary


  4. rbantwal

    We could argue this a couple of ways.
    1. the state govt is being run efficiently and this is just one more example. The PR firm is being defined SMART objectives and this is a common management practice.

    2. this could be argued that the media has a weak moral fibre and will succumb to the viles of this government. The society must be informed so that the fence sitters are shamed and do not stray. If indeed this is the case, any body is free to purchase what is for sale. No? Well may be Sanserif knows their fraternity better.

    3. Alternately, at best, the opposite camp with its larger pockets, will buy these chaps out. These journos will be happier
    Ok, now this is getting tiresome.

    4. Poor you. Did you just discover that journos are fed and taken out on junkets? Never noticed this eh? Common!
    Makes me wonder where you guys are coming from.

    Disclaimer: I am not a NaMolite. I don’t subscribe to the Khaki Chaddi ideology either.


    Hey, I am under the impression that he is just an ambitious politician. Not the only one. There was no sense of discovery here for me that the article seems to have make. If he does so, well he wont be the first or the last. I rest my case.

    1. Sam

      Just adding some of my own perspective:

      When it comes to “Public Relations”, where does the lie end and the truth begins?

      Examples in the Moditva at work –

      * “‘All of Gujarat’ love him so much that they keep electing him.”

      The truth is that more than 50% of even Gujarati’s don’t like him and / or are not in awe of him (less than 50% of the voters in Gujarat voted for the BJP).

      * “Gujarat has reached it Zenith and crowning glory under his leadership, and is the leading developed state in India.”

      Gujarat wasn’t a backward state when he took over, and STILL lags behind many other developed states in many areas.

      * Corruption free Gujarat and “incorruptible” modi?

      So corruption free that he didn’t want a Lokayukta there, and when someone he didn’t like was appointed he has (so far) spent crores in legal fees to try and get him removed through the courts.

      Don’t worry by the way – both the high court and the supreme court have ruled against him that he should have the primary say on who should be the Lokayukta.

      (The businessmen of Gujarat are however very grateful to him that he eliminated the system where they had to pay a bribe to 10 people to get something done and introduced the single-door system of “donation” to the “Modi fund”).

  5. Yella Ok

    The two articles next to each other, one on Gujarat/Modi, the other on Ghandy family/Priyanka make for a nice comparison, don’t they. One covers PR firms “buying media”, the other covers how diplomacy in teacups change a person. One is posted under “Issues and Ideas”, the other under “a bit of fun”. It is time for us to go figure what all of this means.

  6. The Times of India has issued a clarification on its report titled, ‘Modi’s Rambo act, saves 15,000’. As per the clarification, neither Mr. Modi claimed that he had ‘rescued’ 15000 people nor the BJP spokesperson in Uttarakhand did so. All that was said was the Gujarat government machinery helped 15000 people. in various ways. See this: Times of India’s Clarification

    The clarification should put to rest all speculation and motivated propaganda. Jatin Gandhi’s article in ‘Open’ is nothing but just that, ‘motivated propaganda’. He must have penned his article without bothering to check with ToI or despite it. In the current political ambience cavilling against Modi pays! So much for freedom of speech.

    Here is the link to Times of India’s Clarification mentioned in the earlier comment. I am posting it as the site does not seem to accept hyperlinks:

  7. lauren ramesh

    More fool media for getting “bought”. How cheap can they get?

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