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Exclusive Interview with Suryah, Techno Campaign Strategist ~ Indian Politics

  By - Stephen   On 2016-02-10T15:11:00

Suryah SG (25), a law graduate
from a premier Law College at Pune was part of the Political Techno Campaign
Team of BJP during the 2014 General Elections and four Assembly Elections.
  He will be playing a crucial role in the
Techno Campaign Strategy Team for BJP in the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections.
  He is one of the few persons followed by
Narendra Modi in his Twitter.
  In an
exclusive interview for PreSense, he shares his views on this new concept.

How did you involve yourself in the ‘New Age Techno
Communication Campaign’ of Narendra Modi?

On 24th
June 2012, I received a call from the Office of the then Gujarat Chief Minister,
Narendra Modi. I was invited to meet the Chief Minister the following day to
discuss the evolving trends of the social media. I was then a law student at
  This phone call proved to be a
turning point in my life and provided an opportunity to learn about election
communication strategy. The historical interaction with Modi for 20 minutes
still lingers in my mind like a dream. I worked for the Gujarat Assembly
Elections 2012 and later got involved in different elections to assist the BJP
in different capacities thereafter.
  The 2012
Gujarat Election Campaign was a landmark in the history of Indian Elections. We
integrated all the technology tools like internet, social media, mobile phones,
smart phones, 3D Rallies, etc. to connect with people.

What were the
strategies planned by your team during 2014 General Elections?
In January 2014, Congress MP & Former Union Minister,
Mani Shankar Aiyar mocked the then Gujarat Chief Minister Modi as a Chaiwala. Our CAG Team (Campaign Team
that worked for Narendra Modi during the run-up for the Lok Sabha Elections
2014) immediately sprung into action and coined a political event, “Chai pe Charcha” (Discussion over Tea) throughout
the country.  As someone who had organised
dozens of Chai pe Charcha events
across the country it was a totally new and refreshing experience, interacting
with chaiwalas (Those who prepare and
serve tea at tea stalls) all over the country, live and through video conferences.
We were able to capitalise on Modi being a Chaiwala
earlier in his life. While the ground activity was executed by the party
workers, the idea to conduct such catchy events came from our strategy team.
The importance of the social media is largely
underestimated. We normally believe that Face book, Twitter & WhatsApp
influence only a particular age group of people.  In reality, the impact of the word-of-mouth
campaign spreading through these social media platforms is very huge. One
WhatsApp user has the potential to spread the message he receives across an entire
Do the senior political leaders and workers accept a team
of youngsters?

Political leaders who have toiled at ground level for over
three to four decades, do not tend to easily accept the newly sprung up
election techno strategists overnight. It takes time for them to come into an understanding
that the political landscape in India is slowly turning towards a strategy
based activity. These political leaders still do not accept the evolution and
adaptation of technology as influential factors in electioneering.


Since I had
studied law from a premier law school in Pune, I was fortunate to have friends
from different political parties studying with me in my college. I had
opportunities to interact with strategists from various political parties like the
Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Shiv Sena and other small parties
during the run up of the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 and the Maharashtra Assembly
Elections 2014. Presently, I am also interacting with the strategists for the
Assam, Kerala and West Bengal Elections 2016. Everywhere, I find a similar experience
cutting across the party lines among the new groups of young techno strategists
facing difficulty in being accepted by the old political guards. The seniors in
the parties just cannot accept fresh youngsters as potential strategists for
the elections. While their worries are totally justified, the recent elections
have proven that fresh political techno strategists can walk the talk and give
a tough contention to conventional political experts.

In one of the state elections where my friends were associated,
the local political leadership had a tough time to amend their ways. This compelled
the central leadership to come down to the state for two days, camp there and
convince the local political set up that these techno strategists were present
only for a temporary period till the elections were over. Till such time this assurance
was given by the central leadership, this young group of people were treated
like bitter rivals. The existing senior leaders feel unsecured.  At the same time, I also find that some of
the pro-active senior leaders encourage the youngsters by supplementing the
knowledge with their own experience and wisdom. 
What are the
skills needed to become a political techno strategist?
Anyone who wants to become a Election Techno Strategist
should have exceptional skills in using technology tools, and smartness to
convert every challenge into an opportunity. The Indian political situation is
not yet matured like that of the western countries. It needs immense patience
and perseverance by youngsters to get into the political setup and become a
real strategist and influence the political decisions of the party. With my
experience I can boldly say that it is definitely not a cake walk. Ambitious
youngsters aspiring to become a politician should behave in a matured manner,
if they take the role of a strategist. Exhibiting the political ambitions
openly during their role as strategist will prove disastrous and
What is the difference between corporate campaigning and
political campaigning?
Political campaign is time-based and sprouts suddenly
during the election time. Corporate campaigning needs continuous engagement
with stake holders through various agencies and PR mechanisms. While corporate
campaigning is well established in India, political campaigning will take some
more years to stabilise.
To cite an example, when our team was working for BJP in
the Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2015, we formed a Campaign Team Y4D (Youth
for Development).  Through this team, we
strategised a series of events and meetings to reach the voters.  In Pune, hundreds of volunteers wearing the Modi
Mask thronged the streets with printed charge sheets on the misgovernance of
the state ruling party.  Using proper
strategies, BJP won the toughest seats. After assuming office as Chief
Minister, Devendra Fadnavis invited the entire team for dinner.  In the corporate campaigning, the strategy is
What is the difference in strategies between national
elections and regional assembly elections?


I worked for
BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha Election and four Assembly Elections. The national elections
have a broad perspective, while regional elections are localised. People are
smart enough to differentiate between them. BJP which won 7 out of 7 seats in
Delhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, could win only 3 out of 70 assembly
seats in the elections held after 8 months.
In Bihar, where BJP had won majority during the Lok Sabha Elections
failed to form the Government, largely because of the unification of two rivals
factors, RJD and

Content-wise, the strategy team will have to create
contents on regional issues and they have to be delivered through the communication
channels of the party. Regional issues should be the talking point and research
has to be done locally. Also linguistic problems arise at every stage both in
National and Regional Elections. Four big states viz. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West
Bengal and Assam that are going for Assembly elections in 2016 have strong
local languages – Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali and Assamese. National Parties like
BJP and Congress are handicapped as they deploy their own Strategists who are
not well versed with the local language and culture. Therefore from my
experience, I would say both the elections are completely different and the
approach should be unique.
What do you think is the future for the Political Techno
Strategic Communication experts
?  What is the
trend among the Indian political parties, both at the national and regional
India has very few national
parties. Congress and BJP have already started to realise the need for proper strategies.
As for regional parties, we saw AAP in Delhi & JDU in Bihar hiring
professional agencies to handle their campaign strategies. DMK and a few other
regional parties in Tamil Nadu seem to have roped in Techno Strategy teams to
handle their Social Media and PR assignments in the run-up of the 2016
‘Political Techno
Strategic Communication’ is still a grey area; I do not see much scope for
aspirants now, unless they have the right connections politically and a proper
understanding of the political landscape and culture of the region. It is a
difficult area to even risk and venture upon. Those who achieve success in this
field will be sure to be successful everywhere. There is no institute or
University to teach Strategy. At the end of the day, everything comes down to the
individual’s capacity to deal with complex situations with a variety of factors,
at the shortest time.

Interviewed by the
Editorial Team

Reproduced from the cover story of Jan 2016 issue of ezine PreSense

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Author: Stephen

Stephen is an internationally acclaimed business news journalist with 20 years of experience in the industry. Having worked for some of the most prestigious newspapers, magazines and news organizations, Stephen has become a respected leader in international business news. His writing has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, and Bloomberg. Stephen has also appeared as a commentator on several radio and television programs, including CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV. He is a sought after public speaker, appearing regularly at conferences and industry events to discuss the latest business news. With his wealth of experience, Stephen is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up to date on the latest international business news.

Top Liked Comments:

Buffy Howe

2023-01-08 03:38

This was a really helpful read, thanks!

Gaylene Mote

2022-03-25 10:39

Very helpful post, thank you!

Stephania Paris

2022-10-03 01:16

Thanks for the valuable advice!

Lloyd Haslett

2022-09-12 02:31

This was a great read, thank you!

Yuri Kazmierczak

2022-11-25 18:00

This was such a helpful article!

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