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6 instances when Indian media got it horribly wrong and predicted a Modi loss in 2019

Contrary to the predictions made by the news outlets of a possible anti-Modi government at the centre, the election results reinforced an unprecedented Modi Tsunami that conclusively dealt a body blow to the credibility of those media outlets who shunned the facts to further their propaganda.

Some media houses in our country have a dubious distinction of prognosticating fallacious outcomes. Especially, when it’s related to their bete noire Prime Minister Narendra Modi, propaganda often takes precedence over rationality. Ever since Modi was declared as PM candidate ahead of 2014 General elections, attempts were made to undermine his candidature and scuttle his chances of becoming the PM. Nevertheless, he won the elections with a landslide victory.

However, the media outlets having an ill-disposition against him didn’t relent at this. While senselessly excoriating PM Modi has been the hobbyhorse for many Indian media outlets, for some the hatred for the man was so intense that obituaries were written for the Modi government as early as 2017.

The Exit Polls results have come as a rude shock to everyone who was hoping the public might have been disenchanted with Modi and BJP and would vote him out of power. Most exit polls suggested a trend that BJP is all set to come back for the second consecutive term and the NDA would comfortably cross the 300-seats mark.

As the election results are pouring in, it is legitimizing the predictions made by the exit polls. With the results overwhelmingly favouring the BJP, Modi is set to take oath as the country’s Prime Minister. At this juncture, let us have a look at the instances when PM Modi was written off by his detractors, only to be proven wrong.

1. Newslaundry published an article stating 11 reasons why PM Modi may lose the 2019 General elections

The article published on Newslaundry in April 2018 lists down 11 reasons why PM Modi may lose 2019 elections. It stated that the growing discontent among the NDA alliance partners, consolidation of regional rivals, the rise of regionalism, aggressive anti-BJP stance by the regional rulers, joblessness and agrarian distress, social disharmony and Dalit-Muslim-Tribal bonhomie, hollow anti-corruption plank, failure of foreign policy and border skirmishes, charges of crony capitalism and NPAs, internal challenges faced by the BJP and the rise of Congress are reasons why PM Modi might lose the elections.

2. Yogendra Yadav penned an article in the Print asserting that 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be a replica of 2004 General elections

In 2004 General elections, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was widely expected to comfortably win the elections but he lost the elections to the UPA coalition. In his article, eminent psephologist who has a dubious distinction of getting his predictions wrong contended that despite Modi’s popularity ratings high, he might in for a setback in 2019 General elections. In an attempt to undermine the undercurrents favouring PM Modi’s return, Yadav blathered about Type-1 and Type-2 errors committed by the pollsters in predicting an outcome.

Type-1 error is a type of error that gets the winner right but underestimates the extent of his/her victory. Type-2 error is where one gets the victor wrong or predicts a big sweep that fails to happen. Yadav then goes on to draw a similarity between the 2004 elections and the 2019 elections and asserts how the Type-2 error had led to pollsters playing safe in estimating the loss of seats for the BJP. Based on this phenomenon, Yadav suggested to “mentally chop-off” 30-50 seats from the BJP tally as suggested by the polls.

3. Another article published in the Print suggested that Modi’s return as PM in 2019 is uncertain

The article discussed various scenarios based on the number of seats won by the two principal national parties- BJP and Congress. The author asserted that PM Modi’s return is unlikely as the BJP will have to win more than 230 seats on its own to have Modi as PM once again. According to him, If BJP’s tally dip below 230, all regional coalition partners in the NDA will pressurise the BJP to choose a slightly amenable PM candidate in order to gain more control over the ministries.

In a scenario where BJP gets less than 200 seats and Congress leads the coalition of regional parties, the article stated that Rahul Gandhi will be the Prime Minister of the Country. In an event that none of the two National parties has a sizeable majority to stake a claim at the centre with their alliance partners, then anybody can be the PM with the outside support from Congress or BJP.

The article said that it is a “foregone conclusion” who the next Prime Minister will be, emphatically stating that the people of the country will vote anyone to power but Modi.

4. Amidst the Lok Sabha 2019 elections, Scroll published a speculative piece on the consequences of PM Modi’s defeat

Amidst the Lok Sabha elections and just two days before the last phase of the elections the Scroll, known for its hostile reports against the BJP government had come up with an article conjecturing what would happen if PM Modi loses the Lok Sabha polls. The article proceeded to demolish the possibility of a catastrophe should Modi loses the elections.

Disparaging the Modi government, the article ventured into contending that the apprehensions raised of a likely turmoil in the Financial Markets, the stagnation of the Economy and the vicissitudes accompanying an unstable coalition government are all unfounded and the country will only perform better than it did in the last 5 years. It also asserted that the Modi’s defeat would mean that the purported Mob lynching culture that has been allegedly promoted by the current government will be done away with and heads will roll which would lead to Yogi Adityanath’s ouster as CM of the Uttar Pradesh in 2022.

5. Deccan Herald argued that 2019 is Narendra Modi’s ‘India Shining’ moment

Likening the 2019 General Lok Sabha elections to 2004 elections, Deccan Herald contended that PM Modi, who is seeking a second term in 2019 might end up meeting the same fate as Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in 2004. In 2004, the ‘India Shining’ campaign was run by the BJP on the hills of a triumphant Vidhan Sabha elections in 3 states. Vajpayee called the elections six months prior to the slated dates but lost the elections to Congress-led UPA coalition, despite the opinion polls and exit polls forecasting an absolute majority to the Vajpayee government.

On similar lines, the article argued that Narendra Modi might also lose the elections as the opposition leaders, especially Rahul Gandhi has been instrumental in highlighting the problems faced by the country in the last 5 years. The author even went on to predict that Rahul Gandhi might upend Narendra Modi’s election bid to become Prime Minister just like Ronald Reagan did to Jimmy Carter in 1979 in the United States’ politics.

6. The Wire predicted that a Mayawati-led Centre is why people are voting against PM Modi

It is a political dictum that India’s PM comes through its most populous state Uttar Pradesh. Defeat someone in the Uttar Pradesh and his chances get remarkably diminished to stake a claim at the Prime Ministerial position. The Wire in its article asserted that there ain’t an ‘Undercurrent’ but an “Earthquake’, fuelled by disappointment and sadness, waiting for the BJP in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It also postulated that the vote against PM Modi is actually a vote for Mayawati-led coalition government at the centre.

In 2014 the BJP had won 73 seats out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. It is predicted in the article that the BJP will be reduced to 15-20 seats in the state, while the SP-BSP-RLSP coalition would bag 40-55 seats. The author disregarded PM Modi’s popularity in the state claiming that even his once ardent supporters, women, are seething in rage against Modi’s “well marketed but poorly implemented” schemes and are likely to vote against him.  In another article by the Wire, the media outlet floated a theory that Modi would be curtailed by the opposition party as BJP is poised to lose 75 seats in the Hindi heartland.

The liberal intelligentsia took great efforts in belittling PM Modi but braving all odds, he scripted a magnificent victory. As PM Modi appears in a formidable position to return back to power, all the contrived scenarios and the figment of imagination purveyed by the media outlets are decidedly put to rest. It is a sobering realisation for those media outlets who underestimated PM Modi and overestimated the botched up ‘Mahamilavat’ coalition he was up against.

Contrary to the predictions made by the news outlets of a possible anti-Modi government at the centre, the election results reinforced an unprecedented Modi Tsunami that conclusively dealt a body blow to the credibility of those media outlets who shunned the facts to further their propaganda. The strong and convincing verdict to PM Modi reaffirms people’s faith in his leadership of the world’s largest democracy.

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Jinit Jain
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