The results of the recent assembly elections in five states must have left BJP’s opponents feeling totally defeated. The BJP not only retained Uttar Pradesh, but it also did so by a huge margin. On top of that, the BJP won Goa, increased its seats there, and broke the well-established incumbency cycle in Uttarakhand. Then, of course, there was Manipur, but they had always factored in a BJP win there. Because Manipur is in the northeast. In a region dominated by Congress since independence, a region with hardly any of those much-maligned Hindi speaking vegetarians, people just assume these days that the BJP is going to win. That is 2022 for you.
Imagine the despair of the usual suspects. And think of how many strokes of “luck” they got since 2019. First, the pandemic. It hit India at its weakest point, which is our healthcare system. Nobody could have predicted it. There was no precedent, no plan and no policy blueprint. With the government driving blind and in total darkness, with deadly pitfalls at every corner, it would have been the best time to be in the opposition! Barely had India’s economy begun to recover than there came the war in Ukraine, feeding inflation further. And yet, the BJP dominated the elections.
The critics are flabbergasted. Most of all, they cannot understand how the average Indian still supports Modi. On their travels across the heartland, they meet people who stand up for Modi and defend him. How? This is not just a rural phenomenon. In cities, the BJP’s support remains rock solid. See the historic margin with which the BJP won Noida. Rather, the BJP has extended its solid urban voting block to villages, to the weaker sections of society, backward castes and women. What is going on?
Every critic has their own explanation. One said that BJP has “rigged” the mind of the voter. Don’t worry, it’s just Yogendra Yadav talking and so it doesn’t have to make sense. There is Ravish Kumar, who has coined the term “mehengai ke supporter.” A nation of fools, whose minds are rigged, standing up like bots to defend their master. They all went to “Whatsapp University.” They deserve only ridicule.
This is what happens when you have the liberal privilege. You cannot figure out why nobody likes you. You only end up throwing insults at others and talking about how bewildered you are. Not once have these people tried to understand the perspective of a BJP supporter. And that is why dare I say, they have not yet managed to change the mind of even one person who voted for the BJP in 2014.
How could they? They are too drunk on their own sense of intellectual superiority. Ask them to debate a BJP supporter and they will shudder as if asked to touch excrement. How can the liberals, educated at the finest universities with the most upper-class jargon possible, engage with inferior minds?
Let me help them if they want to listen. Let me explain to you what makes BJP supporters tick. I cannot speak for every BJP supporter, but I am surely more familiar with them than the average media liberal.
“I understand the bitterness of opposition supporters, but not the bitterness of BJP supporters. Your side has been ruling for a long time now, but why are you still angry?” I am loosely paraphrasing one of these prominent talking heads here, possibly Abhisar Sharma or Ravish Kumar, but I could be wrong. I don’t remember exactly who asked this. But it struck me as a good question, and I remember that.
So why are BJP supporters so angry? Instead of looking for liberals to hate, why don’t they spend their time questioning the party that is in power? The answer is people like you Ravish ji. The whole ecosystem of critics. From Youtubers like Dhruv Rathee, to “comedians” like Kunal Kamra, all the way to Modi-haters at the New York Times.
Believe me, your overcriticism has created a protective shield around PM Modi.
Every government will have its critics. Every government should have an opposition. The problem is not the criticism, but the ridiculously unfair extent to which you people go in order to criticize this government. Do you know what it does? It allows the Modi government to play the victim. I know you get a kick out of being as mean and brutal to PM Modi as possible. But you go too far. So far that PM Modi looks like a tragic hero, surrounded from all sides by ruthless raiders. Modi supporters begin to perceive it as an attack on themselves. And they go stand up for their leader. You lose every time.
I can give you examples to illustrate this point. How many do you want? No Embassy on earth is ever held accountable for issues faced by citizens of their country on foreign soil, not even America. That too in a warzone. But who knows? You might have a little bit of a rhetorical point about Indian students stuck in Ukraine.
But you went nuts with it. You began a coordinated attack. Why did Indian students find the train crowded while escaping? Why was the bus not waiting at the exact spot they said it would? Four million refugees fled Ukraine. You were asking why some Indian students had to walk. One news channel said that the students are “surviving” on ramen noodles! A college student surviving on ramen? The horror!
And did you see how it worked out? The internet was soon flooded with images of elderly ministers standing with their hands folded in welcome, being treated like dirt by “spoiled” kids coming back from abroad. Could you feel the exact moment when the public sentiment changed? I bet 99% of those evacuated felt grateful to reach the safety of the motherland. And the free ride home, in a situation where America & China told their citizens to fend for themselves. But you just had to go on and on about the remaining 1%.
The result? The public turned against the returning students. And against you people.
Do you think people are stupid? The other day a TMC spokesperson asked what the Bengal govt can do if there is a crime at midnight. The anchor did not challenge him on that. Do you think people don’t notice this kind of stuff? In India, opposition state govts don’t take responsibility for what happens within state borders. But Modi has to answer for Ukraine?
See what happened. You took a grievance that was minor at best, and exaggerated it so much that it backfired on YOU.
But then there are grievances that were not minor at all. Take the events at Lakhimpur Kheri. Or all the issues with Covid management. You could have seriously challenged the government on those issues, and you did. But again, your extreme bias did you in.
I remember mid-2020 when we saw long columns of migrant workers going back to their homes in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. It was heartbreaking. You tried to milk that story to the benefit of the opposition, as you would in any democracy. But here is the mistake you made. You put all the focus on BJP ruled Bihar and UP. In all those weeks of saturation coverage, I did not see a single worker who was on their way to say Bengal.
Are you saying there are no migrants from Bengal working in other states? You can’t be serious. Ask anyone in Bengaluru, or Noida, if they have ever met a migrant from Bengal.
But your camera was selective. You selected only the ones from Bihar and UP and asked what those state governments were doing. Here is the thing. People are capable of thinking in multiple dimensions. They are capable of agreeing with you that perhaps Bihar or UP governments, or Modi govt itself, was insensitive. At the same time, they also noticed how cleverly you dropped Bengal from your coverage. And they know exactly why you did that.
At the peak of the pandemic, I remember looking up two editions of the same newspaper, one published from Mumbai and the other from Amdavad. The Amdavad edition had front-page stories of the misery of lockdown, the ruin faced by workers, families and small businesses. Then, I went to the Mumbai edition. It had a front-page story of how Shiv Sena workers were providing “hope” to everyone.
Do you think we don’t notice? Do you think we don’t see why your coverage focused only on UP and Gujarat? And now you must be flabbergasted. After all your work “exposing” the failures of the UP govt in the pandemic, how did they get re-elected?
The problem is that your venom no longer works. We grew up in the Congress monopoly. This was our entire media diet since the day we opened our eyes… just how wonderful Congress is, and how bad BJP is. We know your bias. It no longer affects us. In fact, it now has the opposite effect. We know BJP is not perfect, but we know that you will protect the Congress even if it is a hundred times worse.
Do I have to tell you about the time when the Home Minister of India’s most commercially significant state went absconding after corruption charges? The media barely heeded the story. They were probably busy chasing Yati Narsimhanand. Why do I even know the name of this Yati guy? Because you act like he is a big deal. He is nothing. You think nobody is noticing that you covered up the fact that the Home Minister of …. was absconding?
And that’s how BJP supporters always give their party a huge benefit of doubt. We know that every little thing, fair or foul, is thrown against them.
You could have been measured in your criticism regarding Covid. You could have criticized the UP govt, you could have criticized the WB govt. You chose not to. The pandemic gave you too many opportunities to criticize, and you got greedy. Instead, you began gaslighting us with coverage of how well New Zealand is doing!
The problem is that the public does not hate Modi as much as you do. I guarantee you won’t manage to convert one BJP supporter by describing how New Zealand, with a population half of Bengaluru, is having an easier time dealing with Covid than India. Instead, you will push them towards defending the Prime Minister reflexively.
Even yesterday, Ravish Kumar was showing images of cities in Australia and Germany. He was talking about how life is better there. And taunting our govt. If the Modi govt has really done “vikas,” why are Indians still going to Australia or Germany? Maybe Ravish Kumar does not realize this, but outside of his most faithful supporters, a view like this will be mocked anywhere.
We remember how 60% of Indian households had no toilets before 2014. We remember how over 90% of rural homes had no tap water. Eight years later, you ask why India is still behind Australia or Germany? Your over-criticism is only going to solidify support for Modi.
I remember 2013. I remember that national level ad that Congress took out. It showed someone coming back to their village and talking about all the wonderful things they have seen in Delhi. Among them, are stairs that go up and down in Delhi Metro, like “magic.”
“Imagine how they see common people like us,” I remember telling my mother after that ad, “They want the whole country to thank Sonia Gandhi because there are now escalators somewhere in Delhi.”
And now you want me to be angry because the Modi govt could not arrange enough comforts for Indian students in Ukraine on their way out of a warzone? Perhaps you folks have no clue of the monumental inefficiency of the Indian state. You don’t know because the Indian state worked well for you folks!
But not for us all. Think about it. Free rations were such a big positive for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. But how? The ration system was not created yesterday. Then, what was the BJP boasting so much about? And why did people accept their boasting?
Because most schemes were always on paper, until now. The lived reality for most Indians used to be that no government scheme works … ever. Not even 1% gets delivered. If they get anything at all, the bribes and corruption involved are beyond belief. Even if the BJP delivers 10%, it is times better. Go ask around about Gareeb Kalyan Yojana, about Awas Yojana, about Nal se Jal. Maybe you can go find that 1%, or 10% that has not been delivered. But you forget that 90% has been delivered.
The other day, Ravish Kumar sent people to the poorest parts of Madhya Pradesh to “expose” BJP govt claims of tap water for all by 2024! Yes, you read that correctly. They have started “exposing” the govt for failing to meet its targets two years in advance. They do not realize how insane this sounds to an average person. In this country, we learned to be grateful if a govt yojana gets done ten years after the target date set by the govt. Do you want us to be angry because the target was not achieved two years in advance? Not happening.
But you critics don’t see it, because you don’t see us as fully human. You have convinced yourselves that you are the only smart people around. That everyone else is an idiot.
I remember one anchor taunting Tejaswi Surya for focusing on communal issues instead of job creation. Maybe it was a fair criticism. But wait. Do you seriously want to taunt the MP from Bengaluru South over job creation when you never ask how many jobs Bengal has created? What kind of upside-down world is this?
In your mind, this is okay. Because you and all your friends hate PM Modi with a passion. And you think everyone else is just stupid.
But you are only hurting yourself. You and your cause.
So here is my prescription. Do you want BJP to lose? Then shut up! Every government makes mistakes. Wait for those mistakes. When you find real mistakes, be measured and reasonable in your criticism. People will get tired of the BJP sooner or later.
I remember a group of pathological BJP haters doing an online stream on the day of the UP election results. They had just spent a month raising money to do “ground reports” all across Uttar Pradesh. The reports invariably showed that the BJP government had failed in every sphere, and people were angry.
But on the day of the results, at a moment of deep despair, I caught some of them slip up and disclose what people had really told them on the ground. Covid? There was a disaster in America too, what could UP have done? People had asked them that repeatedly.
You see? People were reasonable. No matter how many times you tell them to hold the UP govt to the standards of New Zealand, they won’t. You could have focused on real lapses, and acknowledged the failures and successes of all govts fairly. But you got carried away in your hatred against Modi and greed for flashy anti-BJP headlines. Your greed backfired on you. And you were left feeling devastated on election results day.
No, the BJP is not rigging people’s minds. You have to acknowledge the things this government has done well. You have to talk about what you can do better. And above all, you need patience and humility. Because Congress govts performed so pitifully, it might be a long time before people get tired of Modi. You have to admit that to yourself.
But you are too proud. And you don’t see those against you as people. You think you are all too clever. That’s your problem, not ours.