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HomeNews ReportsRole of emotional intelligence in Lok Sabha elections 2024: What's in the voter's heart?

Role of emotional intelligence in Lok Sabha elections 2024: What’s in the voter’s heart?

How emotions play on your decision-making is a very tough thing to quantify. A very simplistic example is that no software can make two computers fall in love- and you cannot define how a man falls for a woman or vice versa! Quantifying emotions is almost impossible- till now as I understand.

The election bugle has been sounded and this multi-mega event begins on 19 April- the biggest electoral exercise in the world beginsAbout 970 million people will take part in the giant elections to decide who will rule the world’s most populous nation. Besides political parties which are in the hundreds, there are independent candidates too. Everyone is putting his best foot forward to impress the voter to vote for him/her. Media is having a field day and lapping up every bit of information as people are glued to their screens listening to podcasts, conclave debates, and slugfests on Highly hot and lava-like debates. In short not a dull moment these days. Social media as a mammoth giant has now taken full grip on the minds of the voters.

India has more than 1.2 billion mobile phone users and 600 million smartphone users. This is a great leveller as the entire nation is tech savvy and everyone- almost everyone gets his small piece of information on his palm top twenty-four by seven, in real-time. The Digital India push by the government has made connectivity which is affordable and which works.

Predictions galore

Psephology is a discipline under political science that deals with the examination as well as the statistical analysis of elections and polls. People who practise psephology are called psephologists. Major tools that are used by them are historical voting data, campaign finance information, and other related data. Opinion polls by contacting people also play an important role in psephology. 

In short, this is a very synthetic, scientific, data-based, number-crunching exercise. It takes care of raw inputs and logical analysis. They generally do not miss out on any visible details so to speak.

People travel a lot– a learning experience

All Indians have been travelling across cities, across villages, and a common man is a keen observer- he knows what has happened and what has not happened and what is going to happen! In his heart of hearts, he knows the ball game being played in front of his eyes. Most are quiet spectators and many are vocal too. Everyone knows how much change has impacted him and the rest of the people around him- his radius of understanding may be limited but not stunted- a common man or woman may not understand Geopolitics but he understands national politics. Indians are smarter than Americans in this too.

A long long time ago- how British ruled us by targeting our culture.

If you want to break a nation it is culturally bankrupt. And if you want to unite it, it again has to be through a single thread called culture. A renaissance.

Thomas Macaulay, a British politician, delivered his speech on February 2, 1835, to prove that Indian “natives” needed to be educated in English.

He wanted to build a tribe of Indians that would defend and advance British interests. “Indian by blood and colour, but English by likes, beliefs, morality, and intellect,” would describe this people.

Look at his foresight almost 200 years ago!

 A quote from Lord Macaulay’s speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below:

I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

Reversing the damage

The present administration in India is trying to bring back our self-esteem, one step at a time. A lot has been done and a lot needs to be done and at the heart of every Indian, an Indian is in his heart. The same philosophy will work and Bharat has realized it- and that will be the decisive factor- not perceived by the naked eye. This is an emotional trump card a ‘Brahmastra’- the ultimate weapon in the nation-building arsenal.

Like Sadhguru says ‘India for the first time has got an Indian Prime Minister’

Emotional connect matters

Having written several books on Emotional Intelligence and conducting hundreds of talk shows and workshops, for the corporate and students and even doctors, on the subject, I have realized the superpower of emotions- which most either don’t understand or at best underestimate its relevance.

How emotions play on your decision-making is a very tough thing to quantify. A very simplistic example is that no software can make two computers fall in love- and you cannot define how a man falls for a woman or vice versa! Quantifying emotions is almost impossible- till now as I understand. It is judgemental in a way. How much do you love him- on a scale of one to ten? Can you say I love him 7 or 9- anyone’s guess- and you are guessing too. Hatred is also as complicated as love. So, you say that you love him from the bottom of your heart- what does it mean?

Most of the time you say ‘I don’t know what is going on in your head’, but you may be a mind reader yet you can never correctly read a heart.

Culture is emotional

Because cultural ideas and practices are all-encompassing, people are often unaware of how their feelings are shaped by their culture. You live, you breathe your culture. It is a way of life. Therefore, emotions can feel automatic, natural, physiological, and instinctual, and yet still be primarily culturally shaped.

Even having faith in someone works at an emotional level- the chemistry between two people is not as straightforward as physics. Why and how a woman trusts a man is a Billion-dollar question with no simple answer and even a woman does not know why she trusts him and not others. ’kuch kuch hota hai’.

At the heart of decision-making that impacts you is your heart.

There have been so many Bollywood films with titles having ‘dil’ words in it.

“Dil hai ki manta nahi”, ‘Dil diya dard liya’, ‘dilwale Dulhaniya le jayenge’ or ‘ Dil se mileydil’. 

That is why it is very difficult or even impossible to convince a political hater to love a party or a political leader he hates- ‘Dil hai ki manta Nahi’. If you give any logical reasoning, he will not listen.

“One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.”              

― Friedrich Nietzsche

Let me say it loud and clear- patriotism is from the heart and not your head. Why do people die for a flag which is just a coloured piece of cloth? Why do millions go to the Vatican, or haj or mandir or gurudwara? You do it from your heart.

This is where computers, spreadsheets and data could fail as leadership is all about emotions.

Gut feeling- what is it, and how does it matter?

Dr Daniel J. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and executive director of the Mindsight Institute.

During his research about how we think and how and ‘where’ our emotions are formed, he says:-

“We now know that the intestines, our gut, has a set of neural net processors that function like sophisticated computers. The computers we have at home are linear processors, and they can do all sorts of fancy things quickly, but the really sophisticated computers are those that are in a spider-web-like network called parallel distributed processing. We have these parallel processors called PDP models that are in our intestines and also around our hearts. So, the heartfelt feelings that we have are not just poetic metaphors of the ‘gut instinct’ and ‘heartfelt feelings’ but instead are really sophisticated processors. Now, it’s not rational—meaning it’s not a logical thing.”

He further states that “it is a very important way in which our whole being is processing information, and often this source of bodily wisdom is very useful when contemplating an organization’s direction. There are related areas of the prefrontal brain that communicate rapidly with each other, assessing “Should I go toward or move away from this thing in front of me?” All of these prefrontal areas work together in decision-making. When leaders say they listened to their guts, they’re really saying, “I don’t just base my decisions on logic; I actually use my whole self, which includes my gut and my heartfelt sense of reasoning.”

They’re not just responding to their gut feeling, but they’re using their gut to give them an ultimate summation of where they should go. The same can be extrapolated to any living human being’s decision-making process- who he wants to go along with or who he trusts!

Who will win?

The windsock is clearly pointing towards victory for the BJP under the leadership of PM Modi.

He has not only positively influenced the heads of the people by giving a huge push towards development but has also won the hearts by resurrecting the culture and heritage. The national pride, self-esteem, dignity and cultural renaissance is a heady mix which would not be an easy task to convert to an absolute number and to put on a spreadsheet.’

Therefore predicting ‘kitnee seatain ayengi’ is very difficult. Yet heart will be the major factor.

‘jisne dil jeet liya’ wo he Sikandar.​

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”
― Helen Keller

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Virender Kapoor
Virender Kapoor
Author, inspirational Guru. 'What you can learn from military principles' 'Excellence the Amitabh Bachchan way' 'Speaking the Modi way' 'Winning Instinct - decoding the power within' 'PQ - How it matters more than IQ'

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