File image of PM Narendra Modi at a Facebook event
File image of PM Narendra Modi at a Facebook event | Facebook/@narendramodi
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Organisation backing Modi, which Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien claimed was Facebook’s biggest advertiser, now looking for professionals to drive PM’s 2019 campaign. 

New Delhi: An organisation backing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which had its funding called into question in Parliament, is now looking for professionals to drive the Prime Minister’s election campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Nation with NaMo, which primarily operates out of Facebook, has now advertised in various employment websites seeking candidates at the level of associates, senior associates, managers and general managers who will be part of a “research functional team”.

In one such job offer, posted on the web portal IIMjobs.com, the organisation, calling itself a political consultancy group, says it is looking for people to “create content for outbound communications — election agendas, social media, public events etc”.

“If your vision of a modern India aligns with that of the Prime Minister’s and (you) seek a platform that will afford you the responsibility to shape the nation’s future, we invite you to apply and be a part of this exciting journey,” its job offer says. “The nation needs you.”

The group, for another related position, that of a business analyst, has specifically sought graduates from premier institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIM).

For the job position listed in December, the group has said that it wants “undergraduate/postgraduate from a premier institute (IIT, NIT, DU, BITS, NLU, IIM, ISB, TISS, etc.)”.

The team that Nation with NaMo is looking to hire, according to its job ad, is to be comprised of candidates who will conduct in-depth studies of various policies and state schemes and present the findings so that they can be rolled out on the ground.

The role, according to the job description, will also offer the opportunity to meet experts in various policy areas and academicians. The job offer has received close to 1,000 responses.


Also read: The impact of BJP’s recent defeat on the IIT-IIM corporate class


Backing for the right

The Nation with NaMo, which began as a volunteer group in 2013, now claims to be a “leading political consulting organisation”. Its website states that it is a community of 17 lakh plus volunteers and it is listed as a not-for-profit company on LinkedIn.

The group claims to be one comprising former management consultants, lawyers, engineers, political theorists, public policy professionals and people from other sectors. Its source of funding is not clear. ThePrint messaged the group on its Facebook page as well as its official page seeking its comments for this report, but there was no response until the time of publishing.

Apart from its name, the organisation’s Facebook page also makes no bones of its political leanings. It keeps posting content on Facebook, backing the Prime Minister and the BJP-led central government, justifying its initiatives, from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to its building of the Sardar Patel statue.

“What the opposition said — Nobody will visit the statue, the statue is a waste of money, the statue will be a drain of Gujarat,” reads a recent post on the Sardar Patel statue controversy. “What really happened — statue attracting 30,000 visitors daily, revenue worth Rs 6 crore per month being generated, tourist arrival in Gujarat to grow by 2.5 crores per year.”

In one of its recent posts, it claimed to have “fixed” a headline that appeared in Hindustan Times on the latest violence in Kashmir. While the original headline was “7 civilians, 3 militants, 1 jawan killed in Pulwama gunfight”, the post changed it to “7 stone pelters, 3 militants killed, 1 jawan martyred in Pulwama gunfight.” It was widely shared on social media, including by a senior bureaucrat.

The group’s website and its official Facebook page also contain content from leading Right-wing commentators and columnists such as Major Gaurav Arya and R. Jagannathan, editorial director of Swarajya magazine.

The funding question

The group’s funding, however, has been under a cloud.

In July, Rajya Sabha member and Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien, during a debate in the House on the misuse of social media to spread fake news, claimed that Nation with NaMo was Facebook’s largest advertiser and that it had 19 sponsored ads in a six-month period.

“Who is paying for this?” he had asked. His questions were not answered in Parliament.

“It is very important to know who is funding these groups. Now they are hiring people to conduct the campaign for 2019,” O’Brien told ThePrint. “They want to hire IIT, IIM graduates who surely will not work for a meagre amount. The funding for these people and who is heading them is all very suspicious.”

The BJP, however, denied having any links with the group.

“These are unaffiliated, self-motivated volunteer group(s), who have organised themselves to see that Modi comes back as Prime Minister again in 2019,” BJP IT head Amit Malviya told ThePrint.

“There are several of these groups, mostly led by young professionals, who believe they have a stake in India’s development and want to do their bit to make it happen.”

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