In my childhood days, I was quite fond of playing gully cricket. All the kids in our society used to assemble in the nearby lane and divide ourselves into two teams with an equal number of players. If the number was odd, the last player who wasn’t picked by either of the sides was called as ‘Kachcha Nimbu’ who got to bat twice, from both the teams. ‘Kachcha Nimbu’ was looked down upon by others with disdain as he was considered a weakling.
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, I came across an article by Shivam Vij published in the ‘neutral journalist’ Shekhar Gupta’s The Print. In the piece published on March 12, 2019, Vij drew out the inferences from recent developments in the current affairs to claim that Narendra Modi losing 2019 might be a real possibility.
For 3 excruciating days, I was tormented ipso facto that PM Modi might be losing ground and his invincibility might be severely threatened. But on March 15, I read another article by Vij, asserting that Modi Wave in Uttar Pradesh is as strong as it was in 2014 and 2017.
Initially, I was flummoxed, I read both the articles twice. Has Modi turned around things which were looking rather bleak in just 3 days? I was at my wit’s end to decide which analysis to be believed. In the end, I chose to believe the latest one, thinking that Vij might have got it wrong in the earlier one.
For the next thirteen days, I was upbeat that PM Modi would come back to power based on many reports and TV shows. Of course, the detractors painted a gloomy picture for PM Modi’s return but their contentions were consistent and have remained the same since 2014. Then, on March 28, I read another piece in the Print by Shivam Vij arguing that Akhilesh Yadav is a winner even before the elections have begun.
Once again doubts crept into my mind. Has Akhilesh Yadav done something in the last 13 days that has changed the dynamics on the ground? Part of me wanted to believe that the one who couldn’t do anything in 5 years of his government, what is he capable of doing in a mere 13 days with Yogi at the helm in UP to effect such a massive turnaround. I vigorously scoured news websites, searched for any radical measure or promise made by SP-BSP alliance in UP but found nothing worth considering.
In just a matter of 16 days, Shivam Vij completed a sine wave, from the trough predicting Modi’s imminent loss to the peak claiming that the Modi wave in UP is as strong as it was in 2014 and 2017 to trough again asserting that Akhilesh Yadav is winning the Uttar Pradesh even before the elections.
If one has a cursory glance at the articles penned by Shivam Vij, it becomes amply clear that he has often passed prejudiced opinions under the garb of profound analysis only to take a 180 degree turn a few days later. In 2018, Shivam wrote an article on the dubious political operations of Cambridge Analytica in India. A few days later, he wrote an article rubbishing the claims that it was involved in any political work.
Yesterday, as the results poured in, I had a keen look at the numbers coming in from Uttar Pradesh. The numbers revealed that it was not just a reinvigorated Modi wave but a full-blown Tsunami that shook the entire country and swept away Kings and their clans.
The result reminded me of the ‘Kachcha Nimbu’ that Shivam Vij is. The only solace for Kachcha Limbu in those good old days was that the batting came in both the innings of the match. If you flunked in one inning, you can make up for that in your next one from the opposite team. However, the ‘Kachcha Nimbu’ always lacked conviction in his efforts, knowing full well that if he failed on one occasion, he has other to capitalise.
Perhaps, Vij appears to operate on that principle. His myriad volte-faces suggest that his opinions are often based on frivolous analyses. But, he can claim consolation in the fact that one of his predictions- Modi wave in 2019 is as strong as it was in 2014 and 2017 eventually turned out true. Shivam Vij’s flagrantly contradictory articles claim all possible outcomes of an event, maybe so he could later claim that he was right in 50% of the instances.
Back in those days, we struck a compromise to accommodate extra players by altering inherent rules and norms governing the game. Sometimes, we did it because the ‘Kachcha Nimbu’ offered us to use his new cricket kit, the other times we did it to avoid hurting someone’s sentiments. In the case of The Print coming up with Shivam Vij’s articles that contradict each other in a matter of days, I am unsure which policy is at work.