Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first head of state to receive the prestigious Philip Kotler Presidential award on 14 January. The Prime Minister's Office, while congratulating the prime minister, said, "The award focuses on the triple bottom-line of 'People, Profit and Planet' which will be offered annually to the leader of a nation."
However, controversy erupted soon after the award was announced with senior Opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, questioning the authenticity of the award. Rahul mocked Modi and the award saying it was so famous that it has no jury.
The award, which was given by the World Marketing Summit India, has previously been given to recognise achievements in advertising and marketing. The award is named after celebrated marketing and management guru, Philip Kotler, who is also the founder of the World Marketing Summit (WMS) Group. Kotler spoke exclusively to Firstpost on the ongoing controversy and said that a jury would have further complicated the selection process. "We did not want to make this a public vote with all the clamor this would raise of persons favoring different heads of state."
According to the citation of the award, Modi was selected for his "outstanding leadership for the nation".
Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:
What is your reaction to the controversy surrounding the first-ever Philip Kotler award given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
No national head of state in the world could receive this award without some persons objecting to one or more his or her policies. I was not surprised that some opposition party members arose to complain about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi receiving the award. We wanted the award to represent the good work done by the prime minister to advance India's prestige in the world and kick starting the Indian economy and following the triple bottom line of people, profits, and the planet.
Were you part of the decision-making with regard to the award?
Why was there no jury?
A committee within the World Marketing Summit researched different national leaders and concluded that Modi deserved the award. We did not want to make this a public vote with all the clamor this would raise of persons favoring different heads of state.
Were any other candidates shortlisted for this award?
Yes, three other names came up. I would not list them for the same reason because it would lead to political pressure.
What was the criteria on which the award was given?
We looked for a head of state who met these four criteria:
1. Believes in representative government and in social justice
2. Believes that a good society will build a healthy business climate
3. Encourages businesses to practice the triple bottom line, namely to balance profits, people, and the planet in their deliberations
4. Sincerely and wholeheartedly works for the Common Good - education, health and living standards of average citizens
Has the clarification regarding the award come from you or the World Marketing Summit India?
My clarification comes from the World Marketing Summit which is headquartered in Canada. The World Marketing Summit India did not select the awardee. That would conflict with our objectivity. The World Marketing Summit holds meeting in several different countries to come to a decision.
What would you say to the controversy raised by Opposition leader and Congress president Rahul Gandhi about this award and lack of a jury?
I am a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi who would have certainly won this Award in earlier days. Today's Opposition leaders must criticise the choice we made to satisfy party members. Please ask Rahul Gandhi to name the present head of state of a country to whom he would have given the award.
Has this controversy made you wary of associating your name with this award next year?
No. The World Marketing Summit will continue giving this award. Our aim is to make the public aware that they need and want a top qualified person to run their government, one who they could be proud of. We can easily agree on who the world's worst heads of state are. We need to start defining the characteristics of the world's best leaders. We want citizens in the world to start demanding better heads of state.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Jan 18, 2019 10:32:31 IST