Debunking the article in Economic Times that tried to save Rahul Gandhi

Many social media users thought that the coverage of Congress-Samajwadi Party (SP) alliance during the Uttar Pradesh elections by Economic Times was a bit too partisan, which was exposed with BJP sweeping the elections.

However, it seems that Economic Times is still continuing its “helpful” coverage. The newspaper today published an article claiming that though the party had failed, Rahul Gandhi had “succeeded” in his Dalit Leadership Mission (DLM).

The key points of the article are as below:

  • Due to seat sharing arrangement with SP, Congress got 27 seats in Reserved Constituencies
  • 18 out of the 27 Congress candidates in those constituencies were chosen from Rahul Gandhi’s DLM
  • Out of those 18, Congress had not contested in 3 seats in 2012
  • In the remaining 15 seats, total number of votes increased from 437448 to 660880 representing a 51% jump in votes for Congress from last time.
  • In the 3 seats where it contested now in 2017, but not in 2012, Congress polled between 20000 to 53000 votes which represents a good show
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Even otherwise the article might appear as clutching on to straws to save the image of Rahul Gandhi, but one deeper analysis, it comes out that even this attempt fails.

The article purposely leaves out the fact that in 2012, Congress and Samajwadi Party did not have any alliance. In other words, they contested against each other. Whereas in 2017, there was a tie-up between the two.

As a result of the alliance, Congress is bound to get some additional votes that would otherwise have gone to Samajwadi Party if there was no alliance. So the correct comparison would be to pool the total votes of Congress and Samajwadi Party from 2012, and compare those to what Congress got in 2017.

And that’s exactly I decided to do to cross check claims of Economic Times article. I could obtain a list of  29 reserved seats in UP where Congress fought, but couldn’t manage to narrow it down to the 18 that Economic Times quotes. Those 18 seats have to be out of these 29 seats, so we should have at least 18 cases of votes going up from 2012 to 2017.

To ascertain whether the votes have gone up, this is how I have compared the votes:

  • Congress and SP both fought in 2012, but only Congress fought in 2017: Votes received by Congress in 2017 (includes votes by SP voters) was compared with total number of votes received by both Congress and SP in 2012.
  • Congress and SP both fought in 2012, and both fought again in 2017: yes, despite the alliance, there were 7 such seats with “friendly” fights. Here I compared only Congress votes from 2012 to 2017 (which Economic Times has done with all the seats).
  • No Congress but SP fought in 2012, while only Congress in 2017: Here votes gone to Congress in 2017 was compared with what SP got in 2012.
  • No Congress but SP fought in 2012, but both fought in 2017: 1 such seat. Despite a friendly fight, here what SP got in 2012 is compared to total number of votes polled by both Congress and SP in 2017 (this is being generous to Congress).

Please note that the numbers have been rounded off to nearest thousands, but this will not affect the final conclusions, as the numbers themselves reveal:

Economic Times lie
Rahul Gandhi’s success

As you can see from the above table, in spite of having the entire Samajwadi Party vote base at its disposal in many seats due to the tie-up, the Congress party has managed to increase the votes in ONLY 7 OUT OF 29 RESERVED SEATS.

We needed at least 18 such seats if the conclusion claimed by Economic Times article was correct.

Furthermore, out of these 7, there is no data available to figure out if any of the candidates came from Rahul Gandhi’s DLM, since the Economic Times article does not publish the list of constituencies where candidates from DLM stood.

One more attempt at propaganda for the family caught, I would say!

References:

  1. 2017 UP Results Candidate Wise 
  2. Reserved Constituencies in UP
  3. 2012 UP Results Candidate Wise

(the article was originally published on my blog)

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