Rebound in politics

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/8/2019 12:33:43 PM IST

 Not a week passes by without media, especially television channels making spectacular predictions about the likely outcome of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The persistent tone of the questions revolved round the following- Will Narendra Modi return to power? Will Rahul Gandhi beat expectations and win? Will a Third Front government emerge, as in 1996-98? Television channels need TRPs to improve their commercial business prospects and therefore, what better option then election? The rising popularity of poll predictions is because it has become very entertaining and has contributed to increased TRPs for boosting the advertisement revenues. It therefore explains the thinking that predicting elections in India is a mug’s game. Opinion polls and exit polls differ widely from one another, and from reality. This is because, ordinarily ,voters simply do not tell the truth to pollsters. They want to hide their true feelings or if not, many simply tell what the pollsters want. When one polling agency asked a voter whom he would vote for, he replied, “Why should I tell you? What will I get out of it?” In another instance, when asked if he would vote for a particular party, the voter simply said “Yes”. So, predicting elections has become an entertainment rather than serious analysis. Today, forecasts are seen not as serious tests of skill, but as fodder for everyday conversation. One media had published its spreadsheet on poll predictions that was essentially entertaining but to a majority, it read like a serious analysis. The predictions by the media ran thus: Chances of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), that is BJP and allies, winning outright: 10%. Chances of Modi cobbling together a coalition government post-election: 40%. Chances of a Congress-led government: 30%. Chances of a Third Front government with Congress participation or outside support (as in 1996-98): 20%. In sum, Modi has a 50-50 chance of returning to power. Rahul Gandhi’s chances are somewhat less. And Third Front aspirants should not lose hope. After sweeping the Uttar Pradesh state election in 2017, Modi was widely acclaimed as unbeatable in 2019. That was never rational. In 2014, Modi had swept the Hindi belt more completely than any party in history. He was helped by anti-incumbent sentiment as the Congress was widely seen as corrupt and incompetent. After the RSS-backed IAC smashed the Congress over corruption perception, Modi moved in to sell voters a fabulous dream, promising good governance, rooting out corruption, depositing Rs.15 lakhs in bank accounts of every Indian and a dynamic economy that would create jobs for all. However, the truth is that Modi has failed to accelerate GDP growth or create the 2 crore promised creation of jobs each year and employment for all. Recent state elections reveal voters in a sour anti-incumbent mood, and in 2019, the NDA will be the incumbent. It has lost two allies, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), PDP, from the north east, the AGP and Shiv Sena, though the latter may rejoin reluctantly before the election. Many regional parties that fought on their own in 2014 are likely to form anti-BJP fronts in 2019. However, if the undercurrent of anti-Modi sentiment causes a huge anti-incumbency, then the gainer could be the disparate regional parties and if by that default, it means anything, then it can only be best understood by the past.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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