Here is a little TV interview with Santana Vasudevan Krishnan, an IITian contesting in the state polls this year:
"Getting inspired by Rang De Basanti is one thing...while doing it is another thing...", reads the newsreader. How sad the movie that's mentioned is Rang De Basanti and NOT Yuva. North Indians and North Indian media are often like CNN. They dont see the world beyond them.
But the news reader had all the perfect questions and Santana Vasudevan Krishnan didnt have any good answers.
"Why should people vote you when you dont have a film or political background? You might appeal to middle class, but they are usually not the people who vote. So whats the point of your contesting?"...so on and so forth ....asked the news reader. All perfect questions given the fact that majority of voters dont even know what IIT stands for, both metaphorically as well as literally.
"We are different", started Santana Vasudevan Krishnan. For a moment, all I could recall was the ULTI cliched film interviews and opening ceremonies on Gemini and Teja TV.
A simple litmus test: How many bollywood/tollywood/kollywood movies have a character from IIT? I am not talking about the 'hero', try to recall an IITian character atleast some where in the background. "English August" is all I can think of. What does it prove? IIT doesnt sell movies. Forget politics and votes.
The strongest weapon at the disposal of Santana Vasudevan Krishnan is Innovation, in my opinion. Innovation in terms of a totally different approach to marketing politics, usage of with loosely coupled social technology like cell phones and an ant colony of passive student volunteers....etc...etc...I am not talking about Chandrababu Naidu kind of of hi-fi babudom, but instead: innovation at grass roots level with the least usage of resources....appealing not just to the intellect and rational part of the voters.
Well, you might have understood that I dont have any of the answers or any precise approach guidelines. But I can say this with conviction, "Think Different" is what an IITian can do and what a traditional politician cannot do. And there lies the edge, not the usual super appealing brand image IIT. "Know the audience and act accordingly", it usually works.