Commonwealth Games and India Reputation

The  Commonwealth Games which was touted to be India’s show of new power and splendour is soon becoming another show of the deep corruption that the country is pickled in. From the bureaucracy that needs to be paid in the order of their status to nepotism, India is unable to come out of  these ‘tags’ while hosting international sporting events.

To the nouveau Indian wanting to see development and the doing away of corruption and introduction of transparency, the fact that eight RTI (Right To Information) activists were killed in seven months shows there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

While a large number of people question why the country made the bid to host the CWG in the first place, others hoped the capital city will be spruced up to international standards. Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International airport is probably the only saving grace in the corruption hit games now.

From exorbitant prices from treadmills to toilet paper, Suresh Kalmadi and honchos seem to have milked crores of rupees at every possible point. The money trails all lead to more sleaze and nepotism.

For sports-lovers the anguish is in how all this money could have actually given better protein rich food to the Rugby team or better facilities to sportsmen and women in the country.

For now The Commonwealth Games is fast turning into India’s shame and the 8% growth the country is showing seems to be all hollow. Sports in the country is really only about cricket and the highly successful IPL too had its share of sleaze.

Most people would tend to agree with former sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, when he shocked people a few weeks ago with this statement…

“I am very happy with the rains, firstly because it will ensure a good agriculture for the country and secondly because it will ensure that the Commonwealth Games are spoilt”

A day ago Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia came out with a more scathing remark…

“It’s not a good idea to host the Games. What are the parameters for hosting a good Games? Fancy roads, which we have (in Delhi). Fancy airport, which we have. But what we don’t have is proper infrastructure. The government is not aware of the real picture of our infrastructure”

India national reputation continues to be of corruption, sleaze and lack of transparency, but of late, a lot of it is being exposed through a watchful media and that is a huge change for the country.

Shashi Tharoor’s Controversial Pandora and his Reputation

Regardless of his impeccable credentials as a diplomat and him being the emerging face of Indian politics, Shashi Tharoor was recently made to resign from his post of Minister of State for External Affairs, on the grounds of illegal use of his office. Being a writer, sportsman, politician and above all a top UN diplomat, Tharoor was in a soup with nothing much to prove his part clean.

Ousted by Congress, Tharoor might not have ever dreamt of such an exit with allegation from all sides including no support for him from his very own ruling party. Well, seems Tharoor failed to score when it came to build a good PR internally in his party, though he enjoys over 700,000 followers in Twitter. Alleged for being involved in the auction of the Kochi team in the IPL, Tharoor never thought in his scariest dream, that his love for Kerala will turn up to him in such a fashion.

Being an ardent twitterer Tharoor’s (@ShashiTharoor) message have irked his party for a couple of occasions in the past, he was the first minister who came out open via Twitter and tried to connect with the masses. If Mr Tharoor would have used his social networking and twittering skills which is something new to Indian politics, to clear the air about the alleged scandal, then he would not have landed in such a mess, and the damage would have been minimized. Tharoor’s flamboyant persona and cool attitude had enough supporters on twitter, but being a politician Tharoor needed to distinguish his private and public life, before flaunting his girlfriend openly. All this has raised several repercussion, with the big question, whether Shashi Tharoor is a mis-fit in the Indian political scenario?

Claiming innocence in Lok Sabha Tharoor  said, “My conscience is clear and I know I have done nothing improper or unethical”

Whatever be the case, we at Reputation Management strongly feel that Shashi Tharoor needs to make sure that he comes up strong over all these controversies and restructure his political reputation. He needs a well defined PR strategy in parliament to successfully make up for his lost glory.

David Cameron vs Gordon Brown

The race has begun between the Conservatives and the Labour party, with 5 months until the next general, what will be interesting is how much the Internet will play in the two parties campaigns.  As social network sites allow people to find like minded individuals easier than ever before, it can gain momentum and sabotage the message of a politician very easily.

In the past the parties were very focused on spin, nowadays people have had enough of such tactics and will fight back using sites like facebook.  It is very easy now for a party’s manifesto to be hijacked if one or two minor points really trigger a fury of people reacting to them and the bigger picture being lost.

So how it starts is very simple, someone creates a group or page on facebook and starts to invite friends to join, who in turn invite their friends.  Shortly people start bookmarking the page through sites like Digg and attracting even more traffic.  It doesn’t take long for journalists to pick up on the action through things like Google alerts and BINGO you also have the story appearing in the papers etc.

At the moment the Labour and Conservatives seem more determined to pick each others manifesto apart, I wonder how long it will be before more politicians reputations will be tested and what will come out of the closet over the next 5 months.

Unfortunately in today’s world it is often not what you are saying but how you are saying it which counts.

Travelling Tharoor missed all the brouhaha!

Shashi Tharoor tweeted again and explained why he was quiet while the visa controversy was going on everywhere on TV and the WWW. His boss Minister of External Affairs, S M Krishna went on to say that such matters should not be discussed on a public forum like Twitter. Tharoor however tweeted so this morning…

Was travelling outof range& missed brouhaha.Now that EAM Krishnaji,whom I respect,has spoken,I hv nothing 2add.Will discuss visa issue w him.

But thanks for all the kind words over the last 24hrs. Appreciate the support!

Support he had from everywhere but the politicians of both the ruling Congress party and the opposition. Debates went on on all major news channels on Tharoor’s tweets. People were amused and felt he has every right to tweet what he feels like while his party were left explaining. The difference of opinion between the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) and the Home Ministry was discussed at length.

For the rest of the country it was a great day – a minister telling them things like it is. There’s hope for politicians in India after all, we may yet have a new breed of leaders who dare to be different.

Shashi Tharoor- badly in need of online reputation management!

Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs is no stranger to social networking and is the highest followed person in India on Twitter. Tharoor in fact popularised Twitter in India to a great extent with his now controversial Tweets and was even named “Twitteroor” for his political gaffes as far as his political party’s stances were concerned.

The minister is intellectual, tech-savvy and popular with the masses and has 537,478 followers on Twitter when this post was written. The problem with Tharoor is that his Tweets are a source of both admiration and political uproar at the same time. Even as he endears himself to the youngsters, the geriatric members of his often sycophantic Congress party look at him as an up-start of sorts.

That Tharoor was in the initial stages a close rival to the UN Secretary-General post of Ban Ki Moon and that he has numerous books to his name all accord him a celebrity status. What I like about him the most is his constant attempts at making his countrymen laugh at themselves. Here he is back in the news for tweeting against his own government’s tightening of tourist visas to India. This is what he tweeted –

Dilemma of our age: tough visa restrictions in hope of btr (better) security or openness & (and) liberality to encourage tourism & goodwill? I prefer latter.

When asked about the economy class of Air India he famously tweeted –

“absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows!”

The slang was lost on most people in India and when he added the holy cows all hell broke loose.

That he has huge plans for his country and is not afraid to speak his mind and even against his own government makes him stand apart. But then these days how the mighty fall ( Tiger Woods) and before you know it, courting controversy can finally catch up. The minister sure needs some expert reputation management for continuing his work well and to be in the good books of the old war horses in the Congress party.

Being a busy man he needs the services of an army of experts to help him with online reputation management and being a celebrity and a politician the need only magnifies manifold.

Labour’s Budget and Reputation Both Trashed

Labour seem to be working towards getting votes rather than dealing with the truth that the UK economies is struggling big time and what people want now is honesty.

Labour don’t seem to have come through on their mini budget with anything to really deal with the mounting debt the UK is in.  There is also talk that the UK may need to lend money from the International Monetary Fund.  The UK cannot afford to damage its reputation any further as a place for people and companies to invest their money.  Warnings that the UK’s international credit rating could be downgraded were suggested this week as sterling continued to drop in the money markets.

George Osborn said after Mr Darling presentation “We were promised a Pre-Budget Report and what we got was a pre-election report.”

Labour need to stand up and be counted, the UK’s economy is too important to be used for political gains.   Don’t put this country into more debt.  Don’t destroy the country’s reputation.  Do what is right; you are going to lose the next election anyway.  Make the hard decision now and just maybe people will look at labour in the years to come in a different light.  Choose to play this political game and labour will be out of the picture for a long time.

Two Words Joe!

Politicians can sleep around with inpunity, but say the wrong thing and your is career is over.

America should have been talking about the Obama Health plan, instead the focus is on those two words of Joe Wilson (Representative for North Carolina) who shouted, against all decorum, at the President – “You Lie”.

Wow did he do himself some damage! Constituents like their politicians to be passionate, but they also like them to respect the country. Shouting at the president broke that taboo and with it he has done his reputation as a politician some serious damage. (see our articles on Politician’s Reputation Management for more on this).

Normally, politicians destroy themselves with women, wine or money or some combination of the two. Voters don’t like it, but sometimes they shrug it off with a, “typical…”

What a politician says is very different and impacts much more widely on the reputation and attitude of voters. Witness California’s Mike Duvall. What has upset people is not that he an affair (or two) but the derogatory way he discussed it with a colleague and was overheard doing it. That was low and has killed him.

So politicians protect your reputations as follows: it’s not what you do but what you say that matters. Its also what you don’t say or how you respond to questions that matters. Witness Teddy Kennedy’s failure to answer questions after Chappaquidick and the  uncomfortable body language that spoke volumes about his guilt.