Millennium Post

Fictions of foregone conclusions

Fiction 1: The prime minister of the country has been chosen.

The ministerial portfolios have been allocated, with one mass circulated ‘national’ daily ‘reporting’ that Arun Jaitley will be the Finance Minister.  All this can be known because the general election 2014 has been won by the BJP-led NDA as the psephologists had been predicting with avuncular certitude on various news television channels.

Fact 1: Till Saturday, the fourth phase of General Elections ’14 being held in nine phases, 110 seats have been polled. That is, in a Lok Sabha of 543 seats, a total of 20.25  per cent that has till now been polled.

Fact 2: The third phase of the elections, on 10 April, the election juggernaut entered into a bit of  heartland India like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh on the one hand, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala on the other. And as a friend pointed out, the television pundits who had been talking about 220-230 seats for the BJP, suddenly began talking about 200 seats.

Fact 3: The BJP, on its own does not have a significantly material, political presence in about 25 seats of the north-eastern states; 42 seats of West Bengal and 140 seats of the south Indian states, excepting in Karnataka where they had made some inroad only to lose it because of internal strife and corruption. That makes a total of 207 seats where the BJP is a marginal factor, though, of course, it has forged alliances that can deliver a few seats for the NDA.

When these seats are toted up against a total 543 Parliamentary constituencies, the number of seats where the BJP matters directly becomes 336. Of these, again going over to the TV pundits and their ‘psephologist’ soulmates, if the BJP wins 230 seats, that would make it a winner of 68 per cent of seats – a political and statistical feat that has not been seen in this country neither before nor after 1984 elections – when there was an unprecedented Hindu and Muslim consolidation after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

That leads to the second fiction of this BJP narrative, drummed up by a select group of media outlets and the unscionable RSS rumour factories.

Fiction 2: There is a Narendra Modi wave that is constituted of a spoken rhetoric of ‘development’ and an unspoken signalling of anti-Muslimism.

Fact 1: Despite this supposed wave, Modi is expected to deliver 230 seats to the party which is just about 50 seats more than the best ever BJP showing of 1999. Does that portend a wave like situation?

Fact 2. On 11 April, the day after the third phase of polling in Delhi, this newspaper had front-paged a story that talked about how till early afternoon of the election day, the committed BJP voters did not emerge in day light to vote for the party till frantic calls were made to the RSS units ‘to get out the vote.’ Does this show signs of a wave?

Fact 3: Over 250 million of the country’s population is Muslim and they seem to have made up their mind, at least, about one issue, that they will not vote for the BJP. Can this significant number be swept aside by a so-called ‘wave?’

Fiction 3: The centrality of the state of Uttar Pradesh in Indian polls has been restored; and the BJP is winning 40 seats of the state’s 80.

Fact 1: The centrality of Uttar Pradesh has been restored in the BJP’s poll schematics because it still does not have significant presence in the South and the East, but to get 40 seats in a state where at least the fates of 36 constituencies are decided by the Muslims, is quite an uphill task.

Fact 2: Considering the fact that the BJP is considered a backer of Brahminical religiosity, the dalits feel alienated from the party. In UP, where the dailts are second most decisive factor in the polls, can the BJP win 40 seats, solely on the basis of OBC identity of Narendra Modi?

Fiction 4: The so-called ‘decisive’ leadership that led to the ‘Gujarat model’ of development has swept the middle-class off its feet and they all now want it to spread across the country.

Fact 1: After the play of Manmohan Singh second inning, anyone half-pragmatic will be considered ‘decisive.’ But is Modi cannot be called pragmatic comsidering he being too hide-bound by the lessons of ‘big business.’
On the general scale of middle-class demands for affordable healthcare and education, the results of Gujarat on those counts are dismal and has been widely circulated through alternative mediums of communication like the internet and word-of-mouth, though corporate media has sought to ignore it

Fact 2: While the FIIs leverage the Indian stock market as a show of support to Modi, they are also pragamatic enough to be ready to cut their losses at the first signs of trouble. Hence, one notices the swings between market euphoria and short selling, making the indices move like an yo-yo. Notice the Sensex before 10 April and after, and the ‘Gujarat model’ seem like made of glass that can shatter any moment.

The bottomline: Modi is too divisive and a polariser for the Indian electorate to test their pentanniel direct stake in politics to be experimented with.   

The author is a senior journalist
Pinaki Bhattacharya

Pinaki Bhattacharya

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