SHASHI S Vempati, a key member of Narendra Modi’s digital campaign for the 2014 General Election, has been appointed CEO of Prasar Bharati, the country’s public broadcaster. Vempati has been on the Prasar Bharati board since February 2016. After the BJP-led NDA won the Lok Sabha elections, Vempati, a former Infosys executive, was appointed the CEO of Niti Digital, an online platform that had campaigned for Modi. Niti Digital included multiple properties — among them, Niti Central, a “centre-right” news website; IndiaVotes.com, one of the largest electoral databases gathered for Modi’s campaign; and India272.com, which was part of Modi’s Mission 272+. Vempati accepted an industry award for the digital campaign.
Niti Digital was founded by Rajesh Jain, an entrepreneur who owns Netcore Solutions, a digital marketing company, and was appointed a part-time member of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI, or Aadhaar) in September 2016. Announcing Vempati’s appointment on Twitter, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu posted, “Hope PB [Prasar Bharati] scales new heights under you leadership.”
Vempati could not be reached for a comment. Messages to his mobile phone did not result in a response. Vempati was recently part of a seven-member committee, headed by Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash, which recommended setting up a digital news platform by Prasar Bharati to counter negative news about India globally and “advocating Indian national interest”.
Prakash said that Vempati had performed a “key role” in “formulating the idea of a digital platform for India”. The position of Prasar Bharati CEO fell vacant in October last year after Jawhar Sircar quit, about four months before his tenure was to end.