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From PR to full time politics, corp comm specialist Malvika Mudgal's new chapter

From corporate comms to chambal politics: Malvika Mudgal

Malvika Mudgal, Godrej PRmoment Adfactors 30 under 30 winner for 2019, has left her corporate communications role at global food giant Cargill to move to full-time politics.

Mudgal is a BJP ticket aspirant from Rajakhera in the famous Chambal ravines area of Rajasthan.  Rajakhera is listed under the NITI Aayog’s Aspirational District Programme and Mudgal has identified core areas that need action under basic infrastructure, water crisis, education, agriculture, health, financial inclusion and skill development.

  BJP is yet to announce its candidate list for the state election expected to take place in Rajasthan in November 2023. 

PRmoment India's Paarul Chand spoke to Malvika Mudgal to understand what drives her shift from PR to politics, and how her work in communications and public policy has contributed to her campaigning in Rajasthan.

PRmoment India: What led you to transition from mainstream corporate life to politics?

Malvika Mudgal: Destiny led me to politics. I come from a political background (my father, and grandfather, were involved in active politics). I have always stayed very close to politics due to my background, but wasn’t involved on the ground. 

After my father’s demise in August last year, I moved base to my hometown and started working in our constituency Rajakhera, Dholpur district, Rajasthan. 

The people were very accepting of us and thereafter the attachment to people on the ground, their needs, and the scope to use my skills and work on the ground is what drove me.

PRmoment India: How has your background in public policy and communications helped you in your current aspirations as a professional politician?

Malvika Mudgal: My background was in communications & policy, in multinational organisations. I worked with corporates like Hitachi, Eli Lilly, and Cargill and was always involved in CSR, sustainability, and ESG - the work that I did at a policy strategy level at Delhi, I am now able to translate to the grassroots of Rajakhera. The assembly seat is one of the most backward ones in Rajasthan, 80% of it is rural with about 46 panchayats. Basic developmental challenges exist - such as water, roads, electricity, healthcare, education, and irrigation for farmers. I am able to leverage my understanding of the corporate world to support on-ground needs.

PRmoment India: Personally what has the change been like from Delhi to Dholpur? What skill sets are needed for grassroots campaigning - in terms of resilience and stamina, planning your campaign and comms strategy?

Malvika Mudgal: My father’s death was a very difficult time, and a lot of responsibility for business and politics came to rest on the shoulders of my brother and me.  My brother, Dushyant Ashok Sharma, also had corporate exposure in Delhi (American Express, MSAG Skill India, for example) before moving back to my hometown 3 years ago. We both became each other’s support system through this period, we were battling the challenges together. Our combined strength, education, corporate exposure, and urban life exposure, gave us an edge. 

On the campaign trail: Malvika Mudgal

For over 6 months we have been pursuing a highly intense door-to-door campaign and have covered 27 panchayats so far. The physical exertion of walking 15+ km per day, 3-4 days a week does get very taxing, but our efforts are to meet with every citizen in the assembly face-to-face.

PRmoment India: What is the core of your communications and PR strategy for campaigning?

Malvika Mudgal: My background in public policy, PR and the developmental sector is very instrumental- I am able to understand the needs on the ground, connect to national policies, and explain to the people how they can access these policies, be it direct-benefit-transfers (DBTs) or others. 

In a backward constituency such as Rajakhera, the constituents need someone in a position of authority to ensure Govt benefits and policies reach them, and their lives become better. What better way than mainstream politics to ensure the benefits reach the people?

Malvika, Dushyant handing over research paper to Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Cabinet Minister in Ministry of Jal Shakti.

Rajakhera is listed under the NITI Aayog’s 'Aspirational District Programme'. Dushyant and I have identified core areas that need urgent action with regard to infrastructure, water crisis, education, agriculture, health, financial inclusion and skill development. We have also written a research paper highlighting the above problems which are directly related to weak policy and governance functioning in Rajakhera. We presented this paper to some senior leaders highlighting on-ground issues.

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