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The Politics of Historical Personalities: Textual Analysis of Speeches by the Indian Prime Minister
, Aman Kashyap
Published in iimidr.ac.in
Pages: 1 - 26
The paper brings light to the politics of historical personalities in the Indian political discourse by an analysis of 53 speeches delivered by the Indian Prime Minister (PM), Narendra Modi, between October 2014 and February 2019 as part of a new communication intervention (‘Mann ki Baat’ (MkB)). We used the principle of ‘balance’ as a baseline to investigate whether the speeches reflected an imbalance in the salience given to historical personalities. A preliminary analysis reveals the following: We find higher salience of historical personalities that are ideological sympathists of the PM’s party as compared to those that are ideological opponents of the party. Interestingly, the highest salience was received by the category of ideological ‘targets’, which comprises personalities that are not connected to the PM’s party but with whom alignment was sought to be projected. The apparent strategy for aligning targets was by drawing connections between the personalities and the policies of the government. Further, we find that aggregate personality mentions rose over time and the increase was driven by mentions to ideological sympathists. These preliminary findings on the ideological leanings of the speeches are interesting as MkB had been repeatedly projected as serving an ‘apolitical’ purpose. Thereby the study brings light to the subtle innovations in communication that politicians can employ for furthering ideological objectives.
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Concepts (6)
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    Political communication
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    Politics of public policy
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    Mann ki baat
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