After the recent reverses BJP suffered in the assembly elections, many scions of so-called liberal media have got busy theorizing the loss as anti-incumbency. Arguments are repeatedly being made across liberal platforms that people in the three states BJP lost power, voted on local issues and against their respective state government.

It appears a full-fledged campaign has been initiated, and to ensure its success many seasoned journalists are volunteering of their own accord, coming up with their bucket list of why it’s not Modi’s defeat. Their collaborative attempt is straight focused, to chart out a perception, basis which brand Modi is isolated of all defacing attributes.

One common tool being deployed in this perception game is counter factual information. With a judicious use of irreconcilable facts and unverifiable public opinion it’s concluded that the defeat lies solely and squarely on the incumbent, on whom the voter’s ire was directed. Through reams and reams of similar fantasy material based on imaginary field conversation, Modi’s image is rather amplified as the only savior.

What is that feedback loop through which we can gauge Modi’s popularity?

As ordinary consumers of news information, how do we ascertain the truthfulness of the narrative that the vote was against the Chief Ministers, Ministers and BJP MLA’s in the just concluded assembly elections, and not against the misrule of the center?

How do we precisely establish that the Brand Modi escaped without any dent to its brand value more so when he attended no less than 29 rallies covering 53 constituencies across these states.

It can be argued that Shivraj and Raman lost only because of Modi, and for that they also have their invincible track record to boast of. In other words it can be said that if 2G and Coal gate despite being the crimes of the central government had cascading effect on the fate of states, so did demonetisation and GST. Under similar circumstances when in 2013 Sheila Dikshit lost the elections, the buck stopped at the then Manmohan Singh government. The media nodded in concurrence and emphasized it.

UPA-2 continued sharing the blame for the state losses long after it was removed from center. In fact the UPA-2’s misrule was publicized so much that its misgovernance example continues holding weight even today, and occupies central theme in NDA’s all election campaigns, 4 and half years since NDA came to power. From Prime Minister to party president, BJP leaves no opportunity to invoke the failures of the Singh government. Not to mention their obsession with Nehru which drives them further back in time and helps ascribe Nehru, in addition to his daughter, grandson and great grandson for all the ills of the state going to polls at any point of time.

Now BJP vexed with Nehru Gandhi family is not something of their own making. Here again a section of liberal media owing to their information clout, made it an issue more worthy of discussion. Dynastic relationship, became that particular evil, deserving of being purged. Strangely enough for a country where reference, contact, inheritance, recommendation & jugaad are, but a way of life.

Lakhs of farmers have marched to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata barefooted from far off places yet for the liberal media it’s not a statement against Narendra Modi. Patels, Marathas and Jats the better off agrarian castes are holding cities on ransom to get reservation, yet for the liberal media it’s not a statement against Modi.

So what exactly is authentic public opinion? And, is there any way to gauge it?

Because, the self-claimed pioneers of public cause in liberal media are surely not in a position, neither intellectually nor morally, to reflect upon the masses’ thought process. Pending their redemption citizens can take cues from the countless democratic assemblies happening around their vicinity. An active engagement with our adjacent public space would help us get a far better understanding of the true public opinion.

A cursory look around our countryside for one would tell us that there is a grave agrarian crisis right next to our doorstep. A mad rush of students at the nearest metro or railway station would tell us what big a crisis unemployment is. Over the past couple of years large scale protests have happened across the nation, on subjects ranging from agrarian distress, unemployment to reservation. All of this put together paint a far more clear public opinion which conclusively points to the center’s failure.

Aariz Imam is a political observer


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