Rahul Gandhi’s earlier temple run just before Gujarat election had effects. But the question was on whom and what?
RG is custodian of one of the top political brands. His actions express or subtle; small or big; direct or indirect influence on what Congress brand stands for. Core to its brand identity have been ideas of secularism and liberalism. This cocktail made enormous sense to its core constituencies of voters, mainly the Muslims and liberal Hindus. The brand resonated so much that Congress governed India, the Congress which ruled India for several decades, virtually unchallenged.
But Rahul now seem to have embarked upon a journey to transform brand Congress my his new found fancy for temples. The latest being his visit to Mount Kailash after a great temple run in Gujarat. The question is what is his projection as ‘Hindu’, ‘Bhakt’, ‘Shiv Bhakt’, ‘Janaiu dhari’, ‘believer’, etc is doing? In this regard the wisdom of Sun Tsu is particularly illuminating, and he writes in his Art of War:
‘whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of enemy will be fresh for fight; ..the second in the field has to hasten to battle, will arrive exhausted’.
What is needed to bring about this position? To that he says:
‘it is more profitable to draw the enemy at a place and time of your choosing rather rush on the offensive seeking him’.
The words, ‘to draw the enemy’ and ‘of your choosing’ are critical. RG and his strategists seem to be precisely doing the opposite. They are moving him to precisely where the BJP would want him and him party to be: in temples. Temples are like BJP’s fortresses on high grounds with defenses that cannot be penetrated. What BJP’s strategists should be doing is actually done by the Congress’s Generals. They are pushing their most prized warrior in a terrain of huge strategic disadvantage.
Sun Tsu futher explains:
‘..together with compelling bait, helps to draw the enemy in a desired locality, in the latter (move), striking at this vital point will force the enemy cease offensive action and divert his men in the defensive mode’
The earlier temple run made the Congress spokesperson defend volley of scathing sharp attacks. This opened a whole lot of questions about his religion, devotion and others. Politically impact did it have on Congress’s core franchise, the Muslims and liberal Hindus? , Nothing but frustration. So if you want to buy a cola what must you buy RC Cola or some local cola brand when you can have the original and authentic Coca Cola?
In the world of business, companies know that a brand is the most precious asset in contemporary scenario. And brand must stick to its core identity. Straying away from its DNA, the brand alienates its core franchise and positions itself as fake and inauthentic.