For decades, the mainstream media and liberal ‘intellectuals’ held the upper advantage in establishing narratives and ipso facto influencing electoral outcomes. They spun wild stories against candidates and the parties they wanted to see losing while whitewashing the sins of those whom they thought were ‘appropriate’ for being elected to power.
However, with the advent of social media, coupled with increased consciousness among Indian voters, they were stripped of this advantage. They could no longer pass off their personal convictions as intellectual insights or sentiments on the ground without the threat of being exposed by informed social media users and have eggs on their faces.
But this has not stopped the fiction peddlers among the left intelligentsia from spreading canards and misinformation about political parties that do not align with their ideology. Instead, their resolve to sow disinformation and generate a groundswell of negative sentiments against a political party they despise has only grown stronger since.
Gratefully though, not just social media users but even the common man have seen through this left-liberal treachery. They have realised that the articles published on propaganda websites such as Scroll, The Wire, The Caravan or even on newspapers such as The Hindu, Deccan Herald, etc. cannot be taken as incontrovertible reality or factually correct. They have now grown cynical about the news they consume, believing claims made in them only after verifying the ground reality.
The left-liberal ‘intellectuals’ penchant for co-opting deaths and tragedies to further propaganda
And nothing exemplifies it better than the stunning victory of the Bharatiya Janta Party(BJP) in Hathras and Lakhimpur Kheri—two constituencies that media and adherents of left-liberalism placed outsize focus—seemingly to gin up anti-BJP sentiments. Despite the malicious efforts by the left-liberals and their pliant media organisations, BJP pulled off a magnificent win in Hathras, the town had come under the media glare following the horrifying gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in September 2020.
The Hathras incident took place on September 14 after which the victim was admitted at Safdurjung hospital in Delhi where she passed away on September 29. The initial medical report did not mention rape. The victim’s brother had also not mentioned rape in the complaint registered on the day of the incident. The rape allegations surfaced much later on September 22 when the police recorded the statement of the victim. The CBI report has been filed under sections 302, 376, 376A and 376 D of the Indian Penal Code and under the relevant provisions of the SC and ST Act.
The Hathras case sparked massive political debates in the country, especially after media reports twisted facts and started claiming that the victim had been brutalised. It is notable here that the initial statements of the victim, the family’s FIR and statements had all alleged a strangulation attempt. However, later, the family had added the charges of rape and eventually gang rape to their list of allegations. Since the victim was a Dalit, political parties had tried to exploit the caste violence angle. Medical and forensic reports had dismissed sexual assault claims. The entire timeline of the case, media misreports, political spins and controversies, and the government’s actions can be read here.
Building on this warped narrative, the left-liberal propagandists masquerading as journalists tried to keep the matter boiling, apparently to earn political dividends in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. They used the case to target UP CM Yogi Adityanath to convey that the law and order in the state have not at all improved as alleged by the BJP and the UP government. In the run-up to the elections, several commentariats and left-leaning media personalities kept harping on the incident, presumably to galvanise the voters to vote against the BJP.
Left-liberal propaganda on Hathras incident and Lakhimpur Kheri violence busted
However, their attempts failed spectacularly as BJP’s Anjula Singh Mahaur created history by emerging victorious from the Hathras constituency with a thumping majority. She polled close to 1.55 lakh votes, a staggering three times more than the runner-up Sanjeev Kumar, a BSP candidate who approximately received 54,000 votes. Mahaur polled an astounding 58 per cent of the total votes polled, underscoring the dominance of the BJP in a constituency where the left-liberals have used an unfortunate tragedy as a rallying point to spawn popular resentment against the saffron party.
The liberals’ penchant for using deaths to further their petty political propaganda is not a new phenomenon. For them, deaths are mere statistics and dead bodies props to be used against political parties that do not conform to their worldview. When the devastating second wave of coronavirus struck India, the liberals shared morbid pictures of burning funeral pyres and alleged dead bodies in river Ganga, with the express aim of undermining the government and portraying them in a bad light.
This morbid fascination with exploiting deaths to their political advantage was also witnessed during the UP assembly elections concerning the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, where eight people were killed during the violence that erupted when farmers were protesting against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to the area. Four farmers were moved down by an SUV. A driver and two BJP workers were then lynched by angry farmers. A media person was also killed in this incident.
Ashish Mishra was arrested on 9th October 2021. He was granted bail by the Allahabad high court on 10th February 2022. The arrest of the son of the BJP leader was enough for the professional propagandists to spill propaganda mills about the incident and use it to target the BJP. Even before the court proceedings began, Mishra was declared guilty by the lot who often pontificates others against having media trials and declaring the accused guilty before the court issues its verdict.
Voters’ rejection of partisan and slanderous media narratives
However, this nefarious attempt to malign the BJP and scuttle their chances in the Lakhimpur Kheri constituency did not yield the intended result as the people saw through the Left’s chicanery and voted in favour of the BJP candidates. BJP won in all 8 seats in Lakhimpur Kheri, despite the Left’s efforts to weaponise tragedies and deaths to influence electoral outcomes.
Despite the massive efforts undertaken by the Left, BJP pulled off a stunning victory, racking up an impressive 255 seats out of the total 403 seats, with the majority mark being 202. It is the first time that a government has returned to power in Uttar Pradesh in over 35 years—a significant achievement, given the challenges faced by the Yogi Adityanath government in the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Not just that, while the number of seats of BJP has declined, there is an increase in BJP’s vote share in the state from 2017 to 2022. In 2017, according to the Election Commission data, BJP secured a 39.67% vote share in the state with 3,44,03,299 votes in total. In 2022, according to Election Commission data, BJP’s vote share went up significantly, up to 41.3%.
Perhaps the BJP victories in Lakhimpur Kheri and Hathras are not as significant as UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s return to power in Uttar Pradesh, but they still hold great importance in the political and the media landscape of the country, for the results demonstrated that the voters of the country have become acutely aware of the media shenanigans and are no longer willing to treat partisan media narratives as gospel truths.