New Delhi: A recent poll conducted by one of the leading survey agencies in India predicted that NDA would cruise to Delhi by winning more than 274 seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. This was the first instance a survey had given more than 272 seats to any party or alliance.
The survey- jointly conducted by NDTV and Hansa- gave 226 seats to BJP and predicted that Congress will able to win a mere 62 seats to suffer its worst defeat in independent India's history.
Hansa is a PR firm conducting market research in 77 countries with offices in India and the US. It also became the first market research company to acquire a global brand when it took over USbased firm, GCR. In 2009, the firm launched Celeb Track, attributed as the world's largest celebrity study.
Interestingly, Hansa Research's former CEO is the present head of Services to Government practice for APCO Worldwide in India. The connection assumes significance, considering APCO is also the brain behind Narendra Modi's 'Vibrant Gujarat' campaign. The fact was revealed in an article written on online daily, The Citizen.
APCO and Gujarat
APCO's Gujarat association started in the year 2007 when APCO Worldwide was roped in by Gujarat government prior to the start of assembly elections in the state. The main objective of the campaign was to improve the image of Gujarat in front of the world.
'On the face of it APCO Worldwide brief is to build and sell Brand Gujarat to the international community. APCO, through its 32 offices across the globe, has been promoting Gujarat as a great investment destination. APCO has also been managing Modi’s own behaviour and projection, for which the cost has been over $25,000 per month since 2007,' quoted an article published in November 2007, in the Times of India.
The controversial APCO
As per the company’s website- We’re an independent, global communication, stakeholder engagement and business strategy firm. Our clients include large multinational companies, trade associations, governments, NGOs and educational institutions all looking for a partner who can provide a new kind of thinking and take on the toughest, most complex communication problems.
Our diverse and hands-on global team of more than 600 experts comes from the environments clients need to reach — we are former elected leaders; journalists; ambassadors; business and nonprofit executives; government officials; market researchers; and communication and Internet experts.
The company was founded by Margery Kraus in 1984 as a subsidy of Arnold and Porter, one of Washington's largest law firms, and from where APCO’s name is derived. Arnold and Porter is now Israel's largest and longest serving registered foreign agent (not that there aren’t more than a handful of unregistered ones).
The company has played an active role in several key controversial projects. It has a team of pro-war lobbyists and is credited with supporting GW Bush during the invasion of Iraq. It also helped former British PM Tony Blair in defending his controversial decision to enter Iraq war.
Critics refer to it as a PR firm for dictators. Some of its prominent clients include, former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha; President-for-life of Kazakhstan Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev; Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Communist youth leader-turned-Russian billionaire with mafia links.
The firm is known for taking contracts of boosting images of leader who fell out of favour of their followers.