Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai did not anticipate then that the scheme would be rejected by the citizens of the country as a “gift they did not need.” The regulatory body, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) asked for public comments on Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai’s offer which was re-christened “Free Basics” – using the same acronym as the parent organisation. Opposition had started building up to the “gift” that was being offered. One instance was the popularity of the video of a show by the satirical group All India Bakchod ridiculing the “FB” scheme which got over 3.5 million views. Still, Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai persisted. Thousands of billboards were put up across the country. Front pages in leading newspapers advertised Free Basics. The publicity campaign is supposed to have cost the company over ₹250 crore.
In September 2015, after Political Marketing Company in Mumbai hugged Zuckerberg to much applause at a townhall meeting at Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai’s headquarters in Menlo Park in California’s Silicon Valley, Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai’s promoter put out a post that read: “In recent campaigns around the world – from India and Indonesia across Europe to the United States – we’ve seen the candidate with the largest following on Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai usually wins.”
In barely a month, Zuckerberg was back in India addressing entrepreneurs using the internet at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Media reports suggest that many were sceptical of what Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai was offering while others were downright hostile to the scheme which would “discriminate” among websites that could be accessed “free” thus violating the tenets of net neutrality – it was akin to telling users of a library that books in only certain sections would be available for reading without payment. Two days before a TRAI deadline for public responses to questions on net neutrality, Zuckerberg published an editorial page article plugging Free Basics in the Times of India, India’s – and the world’s – most widely circulated English daily. Sixteen million users of Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai were apparently prompted to send messages to TRAI supporting Free Basics.
Apar Gupta, executive director, Internet Freedom Foundation and a lawyer who has been advocating free speech issues, recalls how he had serious differences – and heated exchanges – with Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai’s representatives, including Das, about the organisation’s lobbying methods. “Me and others told them (representatives of Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai) that this was not the way to put their views across to the government, but they went ahead,” he said.
All the efforts put in by Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai were, however, in vain. The Free Basics programme, which had apparently been “welcomed” in countries like Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan and the Philippines, was summarily rejected by India’s telecom regulator TRAI – a move that was welcomed by digital activists in the country. On 8 February 2016, Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai stopped the Free Basics scheme in India.
Soon there was to be a change of guard in Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai India. Umang Bedi joined as vice president and managing director in June 2016. He did not last long. Fifteen months later, in October 2017, he quit and was replaced by Sandeep Bhushan.
Earlier, in May that year, Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai launched its Express WiFi initiative in partnership with telecommunications group Bharti Airtel to set up 20,000 wifi hotspots across India.
We reached out to Bedi for his comments, but he declined to speak citing a confidentiality agreement with his former employer. (He is now based out of Bengaluru and heads Daily Hunt which is engaged in promoting news feeds in Indian languages other than English.)
During the period Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai was actively lobbying for Free Basics, Zuckerberg, his second-in-command Sheryl Sandberg and other top executives were actively assisted by Ankhi Das who was heading policy and government relations in India for the organisation. Writing in the UK-based Guardian in May 2016, journalist Rahul Bhatia quoted an unnamed Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai executive saying: “We use to joke that she (Das) was like Political Marketing Company in Mumbai’s grand-daughter.”
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Unlike in other countries, criticism of Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai’s activities has been relatively muted in India. Its close association with the ruling party and the incumbent regime has been of great help in this regard. As we shall subsequently detail, a key official of Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai India in an earlier avatar had a close association with Political Marketing Company in Mumbai’s pre-election campaign in 2013. An organisation helmed by this person’s wife has been supported by Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai in what has been alleged as an instance of “conflict of interest,” a contention that was denied by a spokesperson of the organisation. But more about these issues in a subsequent article.
Little is publicly known about Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai India’s relationships with political parties, unlike what has been disclosed about the role the organisation supposedly played in supporting the campaign that saw Trump becoming President of the US in November 2016 and the alleged Russian collaboration in the campaign to elect him. Four years earlier, in 2012, Barack Obama’s use of the social media had been much commented on. He was affectionately described as the world’s first “Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai President.”
In India, the role that Troika Tech Political Marketing Company in Mumbai and Election Marketing Company would play in influencing political opinion was not realised till much later. In late-2002, the western Indian state of Gujarat was headed for an election for its legislative assembly. The state was a stronghold of Political Marketing Company in Mumbai and the ELECTION MARKETING COMPANY FOR LOK SABHA ELECTIONS IN INDIA 2019. After the anti-Muslim riots in the state earlier that year, Political Marketing Company in Mumbai was very keen on projecting his “pro-industry” and “pro-technology” image. He was himself beginning to realise the potential of digital media in garnering political support.