Why Modi is PM and not the Leader of Opposition?


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By Philip Mudartha
Bellevision Media Network

15 Jun 2024: 

Synopsis:

“Modi was set to lose 2024 like Vajpayee in 2004. Here’s what changed: If just 1 (one) out of the 66 people watching the government propaganda had changed their mind, the Supreme Leader would have been the Leader of Opposition today”. Yogendra Yadav, Shreyas Sardesai, and Rahul Shastri write in their opinion piece for the Print on 14th June 2024 based on voter data analysis of recently concluded elections to the 18th Lok Sabha. ThePrint is an alternate media not lapped up by Modi cronies.

 


Yogendra Yadav is National Convener of the Bharat Jodo Abhiyan. Shreyas Sardesai is a survey researcher associated with the Bharat Jodo Abhiyan. Rahul Shastri is a researcher.

 

Preface:

2024 Lok Sabha elections were held in 7 phases from April 19 to June 1 using EVMs and the votes were counted on June 4. The results were published on ECI website on the same day. Assembly elections for Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha were also held simultaneously. Some by-polls for vacant assembly seats were held also.

 

It was widely alleged that ECI fixed the election schedule to benefit BJP by allowing The Supreme Leader to criss-cross the country and hold as many rallies and roadshows as humanly possible.

 

There were also doubts raised about possibilities of tampering the EVMs such that votes not cast in favour of BJP were actually registered for BJP. There were petitions in courts to revert to the erstwhile paper ballots system which the judiciary rejected.

 

The ruling NDA went into the elections with odds heavily stacked in its favour. The Opposition parties cobbled together the INDIA bloc and struggled to keep its flock together. Almost all opinion polls by television networks and print media forecast three-fourth majority for NDA. Buoyed by the favourable media narrative, BJP drummed up its “ab ki baar 400 paar” slogan. Its election manifesto was labelled “Modi’s Guarantees”, effectively turning the election into “the Supreme Leader vs. Nobody”.

 

 

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was announced to take effect from March 16 to June 4. The CEC flagged the challenges of the ‘four Ms’: muscle power, money power, misinformation, and MCC violations. He appealed to all parties to maintain decorum during the campaign and refrain from personal attacks. However, the ECI failed miserably to implement the MCC as all four Ms were with BJP. It failed to tame Modi when he made hate speeches one after the other against the Muslims.

 

The CEC also promised to vigorously monitor all election management-related news on all the major national and regional news channels and take immediate and stern action if violation of any rule is noticed. However, the Godi media owned by crony capitalists in Modi’s tent treated the edict with contempt. They built a god-like persona of Modi and ensured eyeballs to the personality cult of Modi as “one Nation and one Leader”.

 

 

Prashant Kishor, former pollster turned consultant to many parties, including the BJP, Congress and several regional outfits since 2014, predicted that Modi-led BJP will get 300 plus seats on its own. He also predicted a landslide for NDA.

 

Yogendra Yadav, social activist, psephologist, and politician predicted that while the BJP is likely to secure victory in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, it may not be a decisive success like the last two general elections. He predicted that BJP would win 240-260 seats and Congress 85-100 seats. But, he too underestimated the popular support for INDIA block. His estimate for INDIA block was 120-135 seats.

 

The most popular satta bazaar (gambling market), Phalodi, predicted BJP to cross 300 seats, and Congress to dip to 42 seats.

 

 

The exit polls were telecast on June 1 after the polls closed. Almost all pollsters predicted a landslide for Modi-led NDA, with the possible maximum of 401 seats, causing a euphoric bull run in the stock markets on June 3. The share price of Adani Enterprises, one among the so-called “Modi stocks”, had gained 21.51% in the month of May 2024 and it surged by 5.82% to close at life-time high of Rs 3,743 riding on the exit polls predictions.

 

 

When the vote count trend before noon of June 4 showed that INDIA block would cross the 220 mark, stocks nosedived. The Adani group stocks hit lower circuit of 20%. Adani Enterprises erased all gains to close at Rs 2,950. Imagine a gullible retail investor who bought at Rs 3,743 and in panic sold at Rs 2,950! He suffered a massive 21% erosion in his wealth within a day! No wonder, Rahul Gandhi has referred to it as the massive stock market manipulation scam!

 

When the official and final results were declared during early hours of June 5, NDA tally stood at 293 and INDIA block at 234, with others at 16. BJP won 240 while Congress won 99.

 

 

INDIA block reached out to both Naidu, the TDP boss and Nitish Kumar, the JDU supremo to try to cobble up numbers required to make a bid for power but soon realized that they simply could not muster the numbers. Its leadership decided to sit on opposition benches and wait for more opportune time in the future. Modi was declared as the uncontested leader of NDA parliamentary coalition. In that capacity, he was sworn in as PM for the third time at the head of NDA coalition government and not Modi 3.0 as Godi media refers to it.

 

The real story of the 2024 verdict:

 

The Godi media continues to peddle the false narrative post the voters’ verdict: “What explains this unexpected electoral setback for the BJP?” they ask and reach conclusions which suit their masters.

 

Quoting Yogendra Yadav, the real question should be why a bad, non-responsive and arrogant government did not lose the election. The discussions in the TV studios help to cover up the real issues: unemployment, price-rise, inequality of incomes and wealth, crony capitalism, etc. Once the dust settles, attention will have to shift to the real issues and ask the counterfactual question: “How did the BJP scrape through in an election that it was going to lose badly?”

 

After all Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost the 2004 election when the NDA campaign centred on “India Shining” theme. Take a look at the info graphics:

 

 

The BJP-led NDA of 23 parties could muster only 181 seats and lost power. UPA, the post-poll coalition convened by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, staked claim to form its government and succeeded with the outside support of left parties. She picked Manmohan Singh to be the PM who went onto keep UPA in power for next ten years.

 

In 2004, BJP lost 44 seats, from 182 to 138. In 2024, BJP lost 63 seats, from 303 to 240. Yet BJP could retain its hold on the government. Why?

 

Modi saved his government by the skin of his teeth:

PM Modi is an unscrupulous man unlike Vajpayee. The domestic intelligence bureau (IB) and a resourceful Ajit Doval, (NSA and former RAW chief) are at his beck and call. With superior intelligence inputs, the Modi-Shah duo knew that the ab ki baar 400 paar was indeed a jumla. By repeating it ad nauseam using the Godi media, and reinforcing the message through the large army of BJP trolls on the social media, the fake narrative was set: that Modi is invincible. If not Modi, who else?

 

Behind the scenes, the BJP Chanakya duo worked on their electoral strategies:

 

1) Keep Mayawati in UP out of INDIA block as she is fearful of central agencies. Modi has a file on everyone including Mayawati. Her BSP polled 9.39% which otherwise would have gone to INDIA block.

2) Break Shiv Sena and NCP in Maharashtra through rebellions and dethrone the MVA government. These two break-away factions polled 16.55%, which again would have gone to the INDIA block. 

3) In Bihar, they knew the electoral strength of Nitish Kumar. He was prised out of INDIA block, even though he was its main founder. His JDU polled 18.52% again a loss for INDIA block.

 

If only these votes went to INDIA block, the swing would have been at least 1.1% compounded nationally. As Yogendra Yadav and his research team provide the math:

 

 

Modi’s BJP was about 1% point away from a comprehensive defeat that would have forced it to sit in the opposition.

 

Modi and Shah averted the disaster of sitting on opposition benches by forming tactical alliances stated earlier. 

 

The strategy of controlling media through the cronies:

 

One more answer to the question: why BJP did not lose the election. The answer is that the mainstream media had covered this election unfairly. Lokniti-CSDS post-poll survey tells us that 83% of the voters had a TV at home, 66% watched news channels every day, 47% received information from Whatsapp University or other social media. All but a fraction named one or the other Godi media channel as the source of their information on elections. Just imagine what would have happened if TV news had presented a balanced picture of the performance of the Modi government? Let alone speak truth to power, if only they had not run blatant propaganda for the ruling party and the cringe-worthy interviews of the Supreme Leader? The Supreme Leader who never gave any interviews earlier, gave 80 curated TV interviews to “select” anchors of Godi channels. Imagine if they had grilled him with tough questions? What if they had simply reported that the 2024 election was not a one-way race, that it might be a close contest?

 

Remember, if just 1 out of the 66 people watching the Modi propaganda had changed their mind, the Supreme Leader would have been the Leader of Opposition today.

 

 

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