Despite high unemployment rates, every Indian considering her or himself as a tees maar khan, the opportunities the collapse of the Congress has provided, and Nitish Kumar running away from this opportunity, there is a job nobody is willing to take up. It's for the role of a national leader willing to be an alternative to Narendra Modi across India.
Despite technology making this task easier, and the easily copied playbook of a presidential campaign, nobody wants this job.
Do you have it in you? If yes, apply now.
An alternative national leader for 1.3 billion Indians.
Full-time, 18 hours a day.
Public speaking, mass campaigning, political strategy.
India is the world's largest democracy and the second largest country by population. A multi-party democracy, it is noisy and messy and provides better opportunities than perhaps any other country for political leadership.
The Westminster-style democracy follows the first-past-the-post system, meaning that a leader doesn't have to persuade even half the voters. Just persuading more voters than other contenders is enough to make you win a large number of seats.
India's politicians have a unique opportunity found in few other developing countries. It is the opportunity to make 1.3 billion people's hopes and aspirations come true. It is the opportunity to lead a people said to be on the cusp of one of the greatest economic and social transformations in the world. A political leader in India is not just about holding public office. It is about improving the quality of life of one seventh of humanity. No other profession offers you a task so ambitious and yet so fulfilling.
A country so huge with challenges so Himalayan needs diversity in its politics. The last time India had a one-party monopoly, it held back economic growth, suspended the Constitution for two years and stymied creative energies.
As India is once again seeing a one-party monopoly under the leadership of Narendra Damodardas Modi, it seeks an Alternative National Leader who can appeal to voters across the length and breadth of the country. Indian democracy will make it possible for such a leader to do so, provided there is someone up for the role.
India's democratic roots will help the Alternative National Leader find purpose and passion. Join India's tryst with destiny to change the world.
Indian democracy is searching for an Alternative National Leader to give Indian voters an alternative vision to believe in. The role seeks to not so much as counter the market monopolist, as that has been found to be counter-productive. The job instead is to provide a parallel yet contrasting vision to voters about how the leader shall seek to transform their lives, improve their economic station, give them better government and greater opportunities.
The Alternative National Leader shall leverage her or his skills in public speaking and mass communications in setting the agenda of national discourse so that a popular narrative builds around her or himself that this Alternative Leader is the answer to the problems of 1.3 billion Indians.
The market monopolist's strength is that he has gained a very deep trust amongst a large section of voters, trust that borders on faith. However, the monopolist's weakness is that there is little visible change on the ground in terms of actual development or economic progress. In fact, key economic decisions by the monopolist have led to a decline in economic activity, reluctance by investors to pour money into the economy, a lack of trust in the Indian rupee, short-term hardships for traders, and economic distress amongst farmers. The Alternative National Leader needs to be able to persuade voters that he has better answers to these problems than the monopolist.
To achieve the task, the Alternative National Leader shall attack the not the monopolist but his policies, not his ideology but his lack of success. Voters see the monopolist as the one and only man who is at least trying to do good. Others, by inference, are seen as not even trying. The Alternative National Leader shall strive to persuade voters that she or he is not only trying but trying better, smarter, sincerer, harder. To that extent, the Alternative National Leader shall ask people about what the monopolist his achieved. What real change can they see around themselves?
The monopolist's rise has also resulted in a successful campaign by his fellow travellers subjugating India's most weak and marginalised, Dalits and Muslims, through violence, mass propaganda, denial of political representation. The Alternative National Leader will have to walk a tightrope in winning their trust, but at the same time not allowing the monopolist to brand the alternative leader as being partisan to the subjugated communities.
The Alternative National Leader shall work with communication experts and professionals to project the right image of herself and himself, through speeches and social media, and through events created to garner high television rating points so that news TV across languages gives air time to the Alternative National Leader. The leader shall also help create daily visuals of herself or himself that sub-consciously make the leader look like the one and only brand ambassador of positive change.
The Alternative National Leader's success shall be measured by her or his ability to set the national agenda by dominating public discourse with her or his persona, ideas, interventions and achievements. The more TV debates, op-eds, news headlines, social media outrage there is about the Alternative National Leader, the more successful s/he shall be considered.
Such success shall be rewarded with greater resources to expand the leader's footprint. Once people see this alternative leader can actually capture some of the mind space of voters, resources shall flow from all kinds of interest groups unhappy with the monopolist – including some from members of his own party!
The contract shall initially be for two years, up to the 2019 general elections. It is renewable for another five years depending upon your performance. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. The Congress party will have disintegrated further by 2019, and many regional parties would have started to do so, providing even greater opportunity to capture political market-share in the next five years. You would naturally grow into this role depending upon your ability to garner political market-share in 2019.
- Contest the 2019 general elections, after having established yourself by popular consensus the singular Alternative National Leader by then.
- Transform yourself into another person, one who's selling yourself as an inspirational and motivating brand, as much your ideas.
- Devising and executing political strategy and campaigns that leave a lasting impact in the public mind.
- Travel across the country, to remote corners in treacherous weather for long periods.
- Make yourself acceptable to all non-BJP political formations to win over their support, and hence their resources, networks, cadres.
- Work in close co-ordination with a communications team that spreads your message far and wide, after having helped you to come up with communication content.
- Give at least one public speech a day.
- Miss no opportunity to hog space in the media, print, electronic and web.
- Collaborate with non-political individuals and organisations to come up with solutions for a better India.
- Good oratory skills in simple Hindi, the ability to speak in Hindi without resorting to any English words at all.
- Some experience in public life and leadership positions, not necessarily in politics.
- Not having any remote links with any crime, financial or otherwise.
- The ability to stand all kinds of pressures from the monopolist and his network.
- Should preferably belong to the Other Backward Classes, the largest group of voters.
- Ability to work long hours under stress without any holiday for the next few years. Once you accept this job position, foreign holidays are a strict no-no.
- Make quick decisions, correct course when they backfire and not be demoralised by setbacks. At the same time, you should have the ability to stay the course on campaign strategies as they take time to deliver results.
- It would help if you already have a positive public profile, even if it is limited to a small region or a limited sphere in culture, industry or some such area.
- It would help if you already have the backing of an existing political party with some vote-share and seats, preferably in the Hindi belt.
- It would help if you are a woman, providing a contrast of humility to the machismo of the monopolist.
- It would help if you come with some financial resources and have the ability to persuade people to donate more to you.
- The basic pay is a shot at India's prime ministership. Perks include the love of the people when they bestow their hope in you. Even if you don't hit jackpot, you will have made a place for yourself in history as the person who at least tried, unlike a long list of opposition leaders who accepted defeat even before the battle began.