Political consultancy firms may rake in neat Rs. 700-800 cr. campaign strategy and management: ASSOCHAM

Friday, April 18, 2014

With emergence of new and important voters\' segments like those using social media and the economically lower sections aspiring for better life through their use of ballots, the major political parties have roped in professional consulting firms giving some of the party offices corporate-like feels. In the bargain, these consulting firms are estimated to be making between Rs 700-800 crore from the general elections, which are underway, an ASSOCHAM study has said.

While releasing the ASSOCHAM paper on “LokSabha elections throw new biz opportunities” Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM said, “the disaggregating of the poll data is becoming important as things like vote shares, winning margins, vote concentration, demographical profiling etc are being used.  The parties which lose or win do not want to take the elections as one-time affairs. Those winning would like to retain their hold while those losing would do a scientific analysis for their future strategy. All this requires professional approach”, said Mr. Rawat.

“Though the assignments given to these consulting firms are time-bound, terminus with the elections, some of the bigger parties with rich resources may use their services for longer time when they do the post-poll analysis with some of the advanced mathematical and economic tools”, said Mr. Rawat.

As per the ASSOCHAM recent estimates, In India, there are nearly around 150 political consultants, big and small, charging nearly around from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 lakh for each constituencies (for 543 seats). The services on offer include managing media, planning campaigns, marketing policies, designing promotional material, website and social media page and weighing the prospects of rival candidates. Voters\' profiling and sending right kind of message to the right kind of voters is the key, said Mr. Rawat while releasing the paper.
It is not just national parties such as the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)but also smaller regional parties that are using political agencies this year. It’s not limited to larger metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Kolkata but also in tier- II and tier-III cities, political parties are betting on specialist to manage their campaigns, points out the ASSOCHAM paper.

Some political consulting agencies are mainly selling packages to parties at Rs 50 lakh per year and to candidates at Rs 5 lakh each. Political consulting firms help to manage the campaign and election strategies of candidates for public, adds its secretary general.

While national parties have also involved international and national level agencies to plan their campaigns. The paper further mentioned that it\'s a boom time for these agencies to maximize returns within available resources. Political consulting firms are selling packages to parties to help them manage their campaigns. Once the candidate is elected, the political advising may also be necessary for press statements, crisis management and re-election strategies.

These specialized consulting firms are often media companies with experience in public relations, politics and political campaign management. Many campaign strategies begin with a written plan designed to guide the candidate until election time. Such elements as presentation techniques, speeches for radio and television and the candidate’s official campaign integrated into that plan, adds the ASSOCHAM paper.

The additional functions of political consulting firms include mass mailings to influence voters, opposition research and graphic design of signs and pamphlets. Consulting firms may also train campaign team members and party supporters to delegate responsibilities, points out the paper.

Mr. Rawat further said that these political parties are increasingly focusing on specialists to manage their campaigns during the election polls. Currently, the political consultancy is a flourishing business not just in cities but also in small towns and rural areas.



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