Politicians have their own role models. Young and upcoming individuals follow some of the role model politicians. Obviously, the most successful politicians would be the role model. Success of a politician can be rated in many facets: money, income, networks, sustenance capacity, and floating always even in the most adverse political storms (like a sea float).
Common people are farthest in this network of income and expenditure, payments and receipts and balancing self and other interests. The most efficient means of reaching the people are the media and connections with persons, whom the people love (film stars, godmen and women, etc).
So, you have successful politicians, who can be businessmen, when they are in opposition, and leaders of businessmen, when they are in power. Their power remains the same, being elected or not elected. They can be influential in their own party, and also in the opposition party. They can decide who can be their opponent in their own constituency. In fact, they would promote their own opponent. Some are bigger than the party, of which they are a member. Party would be dependent on them, than the other way. It can be in the constituency or outside. The key is becoming bigger than the party is to accumulate more and more money and create ‘own’ networks (most often caste) independent of party cadre. In future, you may need to start your own party.
Best way is to have loads of money is to have a finger in the business, which is not linked with costs of production. Thus, usually it would be a business in natural resources which cannot be valued, and the value depends on the demand. Many made a killing out of deforestation. With trees on the wane, they turned to sand and stones. As business grew, this sand mining politician would grow into major minerals, such as coal, iron ore, etc. Funds from these would help them to venture into infrastructure projects. Roads and culverts are for small time contracts for followers. Now, it would be airports and 8-lane toll highways. Power projects would be an added advantage. Ofcourse, one can start with min-hydel, biomass (cutting trees) and then graduate to thermal. This graduation would bring them on par with corporate honchos. But, do not forget land. Start with cubic feet, grow to acres and hectares. Government land would be the best possible start, to do business with.
However, you have to be honest. You cannot earn money through extortion, harassing women, crime and anti-social activities. You cannot afford to go to jail on those counts. That would be very bad. Leave that to your followers, who need their livelihoods to follow and support you. You can go to jail on corruption and there is no bar. In fact, it would be an added advantage. Once your stars turn, you need not advertise your services. People with necessities would come to you. Price for your services can always be negotiated.
Heading a association of a particular business is now the latest trend. So, if you are a cabinet minister, and being the president of ‘xyz’ manufacturers association is a matter of pride and no shame. In fact, if you are in trouble, members of this association would come to your rescue, and you can always be their godfather. In fact, this way you can also connect with ‘opposition’ politicians, who have same business interests. You can be pally with them when it comes to business. But beware that necessarily you have to maintain political distance in the public domain.
Then, another phase of life begins. Becoming connoisseurs of art and artful living. Attending filmy functions and sports opening & closing ceremonies would give them the positive image. Being a President or office bearer of any sports association would be an added advantage, of removing them from the everyday grind of politics. Earlier, it was only boxing or wrestlers association. Class is also important – more classy sports are also advantageous. They would also do social work, through a trust or society. This would be the conduit for corporate tax savings and constituency development funds. Maybe it will help during and after the elections. It would give them an image makeover at the cost of state funds.
These days owning a news channel would be helpful. It can be an instrument, to cow down opponents, cajole the ‘subjects’, earn pots of money and keep regulatory authorities at bay. If you cannot, ensure that you have a relative or a supporter in the media. Starting a chain of colleges would also help. The formula is to ‘reform’ a sector, encourage privatisation and reap the benefits.
If you become a national figure, do not forget foreign lands. The best way is to support a existing a business group, foreign multi-national, or Indian multi-national. They can route some profits to you. Additionally, there are thousands of hectares of land up for grabs in Africa. There are tax havens, as well. You can always visit and monitor your business. However, be sure to link it with a official tour to study waste management, travelling in a metro car, traffic lights, etc. Do not select heavier topics, after all you need to enjoy the trip and manage your business. Back home, you may be ‘harassed’ with questions, as studies always involve reports.
You may consider what one Union Cabinet Minister did. Start a consultancy service in New York, and provide ‘intermediary’ services for approvals and permissions back home. Not to confuse your potential customer, name it after the party you are heading. No one can object, in the land of contradictions. Election Commission would be least bothered. This would help you in earning money, and also bring you closer to who is doing which business and how in India. Arm-twisting them later can get you more money later.
Leave nothing to anyone. Philanthropy, philosophy, press, power, people and pelf would all be part of the same. You would be a fool, if you think they will leave past ‘money spinners’. Jobs, transfers, small contracts, tenders, etc., are all done by their followers. All this requires trust and trusted people. Who can be more trustworthy than sons, daughters, wife and their relatives? But, they would not be enough. Identifying self interest of the other one and integrating with one’s own would be the key strategy. Caste, religion, region, etc would be additional helpful links.
In the following maze of success, you can begin anywhere. You can be a successful businessman, and enter politics and complete all the formalities of success. Or, you can be a film star, and become successful as above. However, the story is you have to complete all the links, to become successful, wherever you begin. However, you need to start with criticism, and end with ‘mysticism’, making people guess where you are in this complex political scenario. You would not have to worry about disqualification, or burning bridges, everyone knows that in politics, criticism cannot be taken personal. If you are successful, even your rivals would follow you, court you and would welcome you with open arms. It would be so thrilling to move between rivalry and friendship, as frequently as possible. It tickles everyone, more so the media, the intellectuals and the ‘fanatic’ followers. They all know you are doing it with a purpose. They would come up with a rational explanation of why you behaving like that.
But, ultimately, connecting with the people is important. After all, they provide you the bread and butter. No worry about dissent and disgruntled people. Do not worry about average citizen. They all know that you are beyond ‘repair’ and they would worry about themselves. You can keep connecting with different people, not the same set always. You can chose your constituency.Managing citizens should not be a big issue.
Ultimately, when you die, you need not be worried as well about those ‘four’ persons who can carry you to grave. Being a successful politician, you are entitled to government-organised funeral services, with 21-gun salute, etc. So, bingo, go ahead and do not look back.