Robbin Sharrma: From Tech to Designing Political Campaigns

In India, political consulting was an unheard phenomenon until Robbin Sharrma emerged as a transformative force, reshaping the very fabric of this specialised field. As the founder and director of Showtime Consulting, Robbin has played a pivotal role in navigating the complex and dynamic landscape of Indian politics. His journey, marked by strategic acumen, extensive experience, and a commitment to pioneering initiatives, stands as a testament to his profound impact on political consulting in the country.

Robbin’s professional journey is made up of diverse experiences, transitioning seamlessly from the tech world to becoming a prominent political strategist. His initial foray into the professional world saw him as a business analyst at Accenture, where he played a key role in information access management (IAM) and Linux application management. During this period, he not only led the ‘Go-Live’ of all IAM-related applications but also developed tools in Linux to enhance productivity and decrease response time.

Robbin’s journey continued with a stint at PepsiCo as a summer intern, where he played a pivotal role in identifying and activating top eateries and dining outlets in Delhi. This experience not only enhanced his skills in brand activation but also provided insights into consumer behaviour, a valuable asset in the dynamic world of political consulting.

Subsequently, Robbin’s path led him to CEAT Tyres Ltd., where he served as a project intern, focusing on channel architecture, brand repositioning, and the study of dealers and consumers. This exposure to the corporate world honed his skills in strategic planning and project execution, laying the groundwork for his future endeavours.

His journey further unfolded at Accenture, where he served as a consultant, working on projects related to market entry strategy and growth strategy. This period marked his continued growth in the corporate world, showcasing adaptability and a keen understanding of strategic planning.

Robbin’s transition to political strategy was marked by his role as a Founding Member of Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening accountable governance in India. His responsibilities included developing voter outreach and volunteer engagement platforms, along with strategic planning and implementation monitoring for the 2014 general election.

This experience paved the way for Robbin’s venture into political consulting as the co-founder and director of the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC). Here, he led a robust team across 403 Assembly Constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, overseeing field operations, on-ground campaign execution, media strategy, data analytics, digital marketing, and candidate assessment.

Showtime Consulting, under Robbin’s visionary leadership, became the culmination of his diverse experiences, expertise, and strategic thinking. The co-founding of India’s first Political Action Committee (PAC) was a watershed moment, setting the stage for subsequent achievements and establishing Robbin as a trailblazer in political consulting.

One of the noteworthy campaigns in Robbin’s repertoire is the “Chai Pe Charcha with NaMo” initiative in 2014. As the campaign head, he conceptualised and executed a groundbreaking two-way interaction outreach programme, enabling then Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to connect directly with citizens from over 1000 locations. This campaign, which remains a monumental success in political consulting, showcased Robbin’s ability to innovate and foster direct communication, contributing significantly to the BJP’s success in the 2014 elections.

Another notable campaign was the “Cycle Campaign—Har Ghar Nitishe, Har Man Nitishe” in 2015, a first-of-its-kind initiative where 5000 bicycles delivered Nitish Kumar’s promises to every doorstep in Bihar. This innovative approach contributed to effective message delivery at the grassroots level, showcasing Robbin’s ability to tailor strategies to diverse regional landscapes.

Robbin’s political consulting journey is also marked by his effective leadership in the Indian National Congress, where he served as a campaign manager. The 2016 “Rahul Sang Khat Sabha” campaign in Uttar Pradesh, conceptualised and implemented by Robbin, targeted farmer issues across more than 40 districts. This programme, involving over 45 Khat Sabhas and 40 road shows, activated Congress workers, preparing them for the 2017 battle and emphasising Robbin’s capacity to devise and execute comprehensive political strategies.

Showtime Consulting, under Robbin’s continued guidance, has achieved significant milestones, contributing to the electoral success of various candidates across the nation. From securing crucial state elections to increasing voter turnout and shaping public opinion, Robbin’s quantitative achievements underscore his profound impact on India’s political landscape.

However, Robbin’s contributions extend beyond numbers. His work has consistently transcended into qualitative dimensions, influencing policy decisions, fostering transparency, and strengthening democratic processes. His commitment to empowering citizens is evident in the crafting of campaigns that not only secure electoral victories but also ensure that a diverse array of voices are heard, reflecting his deep understanding of the nuances within India’s political landscape.

A standout case study that highlights Robbin’s strategic acumen revolves around Showtime Consulting’s pivotal role in Meghalaya under his leadership alongside Conrad Sangma. Through strategic planning, voter engagement, and innovative communication, Robbin and his team played a crucial role in realising Meghalaya’s growth and development vision. This campaign serves as a testament to Robbin’s ability to translate strategic thinking into tangible, positive outcomes.

Robbin’s dynamic approach to political consulting is undoubtedly shaped by a wealth of experiences across various sectors, positioning him at the forefront of an ever-evolving political landscape. His experience, acumen, and transformative impact make him a key figure in shaping the trajectory of political consulting in the country.

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