Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Home Editor's picks Modi is winning the narrative, but is that making the arithmetic harder?

Modi is winning the narrative, but is that making the arithmetic harder?

The question is whether BJP’s graph is rising faster than the opposition’s desperation?

Also Read

Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

The baseline of the 2019 election is quite simple :

(1) There is no doubt that BJP and Modi are by far the No. 1 choice of the country.

That’s one of the constant factors. But there is a second constant factor:

- article continues after ad - - article resumes -

(2) No party can seriously hope to get 50% votes… or for that matter … get >50% vote in 200+ seats.

So, can Modi be defeated? Of course. Even Nehru would have lost the 1952 election if the opposition had united against him. In fact, Nehru would have lost pretty badly. In 1952, Congress had a 45% vote. A united opposition would have swept the election, with a double-digit vote share lead of 10%!

So the only “variable factor” in this election is how far the opposition is willing to go to defeat Narendra Modi.

This variable factor depends obviously on the opposition’s perception of who is winning the election. Ironically, this means that “highs” for PM Modi in some way increase the risk of him losing in 2019.

- article continues after ad - - article resumes -

In December, the opposition was all over the place. The cocky Congress, with 3 newly won states, appeared to be on a rampage. They were reading two hung assemblies in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as a huge positive vote for their prince Rahul Gandhi. The enthused Congress even began chasing a mirage in Uttar Pradesh, injecting Priyanka Gandhi into the campaign, thinking that this might be the India of 1975.

One might just laugh at this.

Despite the December low and perhaps because of it, BJP’s chances were going up. The party took some measures to mollify core middle class voters by raising the Income Tax exemption to 5 lakh, brought in reservation for “economically weaker sections” and a cash handout for marginal farmers.

PM Modi remains incredibly popular. Nobody thinks his government is corrupt. Most people appreciate his vision and his work on addressing core issues: such as electricity, gas and toilets for all. And the scale on which he has pulled off these quantum improvements. The only challenge was addressing a strange, almost irrational feeling of “what have I really got?” You can’t assuage these feelings by reeling off data about numbers of gas or electricity connections or roads built, etc. It comes from lingering insecurity that followed the high expectations of 2014….everyone wants to believe PM Modi is thinking about them personally.

- article continues after ad - - article resumes -

That’s why the income tax exemption limit was so important. And so was the reservation for economically weaker sections. And the Kisan Samman Nidhi for marginal farmers. It was a reminder from Delhi that their favourite leader is thinking about them.

The opposition was mostly blind to these shifting sands. They were still on a high from December, the first time Congress had actually beaten BJP in an election since May 2013.

The BJP, meanwhile, was getting ready to sweep Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. With Cong left out of the BSP-SP tie-up in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP was again in the hunt for 40 seats from UP. The state of Bihar was already in the bag anyway. The BJP was escalating massively in Bengal and Odisha.

Then the terrorist attack in Pulwama happened. Then the revenge air strike in Balakote. Then Abhinandan brought back within 24 hours. As Air Force Chief Dhanoa said yesterday, operations are still “ongoing”.

Modi’s face is everywhere. Nobody is even talking about the opposition. They have no narrative, nothing to tell the voter.

“Vote for Congress because PM Modi is not perfect” is not an election-winning slogan. Neither is “Vote for Congress because Pakistan PM likes us”. Nor is “Let’s go back to things as they were because the last five years fell a bit short of your highest expectations.”

I think the election is set to be announced in 4-5 days. Voting may start in a little over 30 days. No time for the opposition to create a narrative now.

The problem for PM Modi now is that a dejected opposition has gone back to working with calculators instead of people.

Today we hear that AAP and Congress are very close to striking a 3:3:1 deal in Delhi. This could easily mean 7 seats subtracted from the BJP tally. If Congress joins the alliance in Uttar Pradesh, that’s BJP down by another 20 seats.

This puts even more pressure on the BJP’s “greenfield states” like West Bengal and Odisha.  I do not believe the BJP leadership is overconfident. They have lived through 2004. Getting Jay Panda on board yesterday was a good acquisition. The man has been stalling for a long time. The fact that he finally boarded the BJP ship yesterday shows that fence sitters sense a clear pro-Modi mood.

But as the BJP’s graph rises and so does the desperation on the other side, watch out. Desperate people do desperate things. And these things sometimes do work.

The question is whether BJP’s graph is rising faster than the opposition’s desperation?

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Trending now

Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

Activist writes to the health ministry and AIIMS Delhi asking to probe blood donation by Bhim Army chief who suffers from a serious blood...

In the letter, the activist has urged the authorities to probe whether Chandrashekhar Azad and his doctor hid his medical condition from AIIMS before donating blood

The UK: Man and son have a lucky escape after a turtle they found on the ground turn out to be live grenade from...

Man grabs his son moments before he was about to pick up a live World War 1 grenade thinking it to be a turtle on the ground

Rajasthan: Salon operator resumes work after giving samples for Coronavirus test, attended 18 customers before confirmed positive

Hairdresser found coronavirus positive when his report came late at night, after he had attended 18 customers in his saloon during the day

Maharashtra government goes all out against Republic TV, orders CID probe against Arnab Goswami and his channel in a two-year-old suicide case

CID investigation ordered against Arnab Goswami by Maharashtra Home Minister in a case which was already closed by court

“We don’t have electricity and water for 6 days” Locals in Kolkata suffer, amidst no administrative help from West Bengal Government

"A person who is suffering can only understand what we are going through. There has been no help from the administration," a local sighed.

Minor girl gang-raped by army constable Shahnawaz Sheikh and his friends in Jharkhand town, one arrested

Minor girl gang-raped by three man in Shahebganj district in Jharkhand when she had gone to an orchard to pick up fallen mangoes

Recently Popular

Mumbai Police issues prohibitory order, to take action against messages on social media: Here is how it curbs criticism against Uddhav Govt

For MLA Aaditya Thackeray too, the most worrying aspect of the pandemic in Maharashtra is the ‘hate on social media'

Paatal Lok morphed image of Yogi, other leaders to show corrupt character in the story: BJP MLA files complaint against Anushka Sharma

Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma is yet to respond to the allegations meted out against her web series Paatal Lok

Delhi: Tanker operators say AAP MLA Prakash Jarwal collected bribes up to Rs 60 lakhs a month

The accusations of graft against AAP MLA Prakash Jarwal came to light after a water tanker owner, Dr Rajendra Singh, committed suicide alleging harassment for payment from the AAP MLA and his aide Kapil Nagar

Fact-check: Did South African Church pastor make congregants drink Dettol to ‘cure coronavirus’

Prophet Rufus Phala of AK Spiritual Christian Church has a history of making his followers drink disinfectants such as Dettol

Rahul Gandhi distances Congress from the Coronavirus mess in Maharashtra, shifts blame squarely to Uddhav Thackeray: Read how

Today, during a press conference held by Rahul Gandhi, he was asked about the Coronavirus pandemic and its spread in Maharashtra and he squarely shifted the blame to Uddhav Thackeray

Connect with us