Speaking at the event “How India Voted”, psephologist and ‘social activist’ Yogendra Yadav, who has often passed off his predilections under the pretext of psephology acknowledged the colossal error made by him and his friends in undermining the Modi wave in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections and expressed his frustration over the voting pattern embraced by the people.
“In my constituency of Gurugram, I had issued a very special appeal to people to ensure that the BJP is defeated at any cost. I said this Prime Minister is the biggest liar of a Prime Minister we have ever had in the history of our country. Voters didn’t listen to me one bit. I’m sad, I’m angry and I’m dejected. I want to hold them by their collars and say-you idiots,” Yadav lamented.
However, in an introspective tone, Yogendra Yadav asserted that such knee-jerk reaction by him and his friends in the last 3-4 days has been “fundamentally flawed”. Yadav was likely referring to the meltdown of many ‘neutral journalists’ and ’eminent personalities’ who had written PM Modi off and penned obituaries for the BJP government before the Lok Sabha elections 2019 begun only to realise that the PM Modi stormed back to power with an even greater majority than the 2014 verdict.
Yadav listed out the reasons for the “fundamental flaws” in thinking of those who belittled Modi and the BJP. “We conflate consequences with intentions. The consequences of this mandate are disastrous for the country but the intentions that go into the making of it aren’t diabolical at all. Unless we see this distinction, then there’s no space for politics in the country,” Yadav said.
Yadav asserted that there are 4 parameters in understanding the verdict of the 2019 General elections- Reasons for voters to vote for a political party, their intentions behind it, causes and the consequences of their choices. Yadav stated that those who were in shock and despair after the results were so dejected that they mixed consequences for the intentions and causes for the reasons. He admitted that those who got the 2019 elections wrong were disconnected with the reality as they didn’t bother to walk among the voters and understand their psyche.
Citing the reasons why voters voted for the BJP in an overwhelming number, Yadav highlighted that in PM Modi voters saw a strong and efficient man who was capable of strengthening the country. He added that the voters were fed up of the negativity surrounding the anti-Modi campaign which led them to sway in the BJP’s favour. Yadav also pointed out the voters completely discarded the caste arithmetic and those regional parties who relied on caste dynamics to beat the BJP. And lastly, Yadav reasoned that voters were more frightened with the leaders of the coalition against the BJP than the BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi.
Yadav also postulated that the people in this year’s elections rose above their self and voted selflessly rather than selfishly. “Compared to previous elections, most of the times in most elections people vote in a self-centred way. Some people vote in a way that rises above themselves. Strangely, ironically, painfully, more people voted selflessly than selfishly,” Yadav said.
Regarding the intentions, Yadav said that anxiety, resentment and aspirations among voters played a huge role in deciding their voting preference in this year’s elections. “Anxiety is about what would happen to this country. Resentment among the majority community about teaching the minority a lesson by reigning them a bit,” Yadav said.
In reference to the causes that shaped the voting behaviour of the people, Yadav presented his theory of four Ms that were instrumental for BJP to register a landslide victory. These 4 Ms are- Modi, Money, Media and Machinery. According to Yadav, Modi was pitched by the BJP as a strong leader while the opposition had several PM contenders with no definitive candidate. He alleged that unprecedented amounts of money was poured in by the BJP in running the election campaign and alleged that Media was captured by the saffron party. And at the end, Yadav concluded that the election machinery of the BJP is far more superior, dynamic, future-oriented than the opposition’s weak, outdated, and static machinery.
Stating the consequences of the electoral victory, Yadav continued his fear-mongering vis-a-vis Modi government. He asserted that the 2019 verdict indicates that Electoral authoritarianism will prevail and that elections will be the only democratic process to happen in the country. He said that the concentration of power will increase and there will be a steady decline of autonomous institutions. Yadav went on to compare PM Modi with Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan foreboding that India might well be on that trajectory.
In his characteristic debonair, Yadav employed sophistries in trying to downplay his and other journalists’ failure in predicting an impending defeat for PM Modi and defended it by painting a picture of gloom as a consequence to voting for the BJP.
So while Yogendra Yadav endeavoured to offer a neutral analysis of how the country voted, it didn’t stop him from perpetuating his anti-Modi stance. Though he acknowledged that there have been monumental errors in reading the voter psyche but it didn’t deter him from prophesying doom after PM Modi’s re-election. Manifestly, Yadav is flustered that despite his repeated entreaties and desperate attempts to brainwash them against the Modi government.