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Rediff.com  » News » 12 Modi Myths Election Results Busted

12 Modi Myths Election Results Busted

By KRISHNA PRASAD
June 11, 2024 10:52 IST
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'Besides Ayodhya, the BJP lost in nine other constituencies with a Ramayana imprint; it tasted success only in Thrissur.'

'In Rameswaram, K Navaskani of the Indian Union Muslim League won with a 44% voteshare in a 84% Hindu constituency.'

'In the 21 seats in the Ayodhya and Varanasi regions, both crucial to the Hindutva project, the BJP won just 7.'

'It won just 3 out of 12 seats around Modi's constituency,' points out Krishna Prasad.

IMAGE: Narendra D Modi greets President Droupadi Murmu after taking the oath of office as prime minister of India for the third time at Rashtrapati Bhavan, June 9, 2024. Photograph: Rahul Singh/ANI Photo

Hindsight is 20/20, and post facto rationalisation is the new gig in town.

After telling us how 'chaar sau paar' was a done deal, we are now being told that 240 is just an anagram of chaar sau bees.

Narendra Modi biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay says 2024 is a 'bigger upset' than Vajpayee's in 2004.

And the scholar Gilles Verniers says the 'biggest setback' of Modi's career 'shatters the myth of his invincibility and that of the BJP in the Hindi belt'.

Maybe, maybe not.

But what the shock result has done is to allow WhatsApp uncles to rush into the restroom to marinate their dentures, change their diapers, and remove the battery from their hearing aids.

Suddenly, the tweetiyas in tribal 'groups' are silent.

The comedian Vir Das asked most aptly: 'Is WhatsApp down?'

Don't know, dude, and can't say for how long, but without a question, the number of supernatural powers being ascribed to Supermanush during Sawan has hit the lower circuit (like Adani stocks when it bumped into the Hindenburg blimp).

From the ocean of data in newspapers, here are a dozen drawing-room myths about Narendra Modi that the salt of this earth have pounded, powdered and packed for the easy consumption of their privileged but deluded brethren.

 

***

One

'If not Modi, who?': Voters trashed the TINA (There Is No Alternative) trope.

In 304 seats out of 544, they rejected Modi's plea to 'strengthen' him by voting for his party's candidate.

The BJP won the most seats (240), yes, but 40 other parties, including Congress, found favour.

As did seven lone-rangers. A survey by CSDS found more people prefer Rahul Gandhi (36%) to Modi (32%) in Uttar Pradesh.

IMAGE: Modi waves to the 10,000-strong crowd as he arrives to take the oath. Photograph: Rahul Singh/ANI Photo

***

Two

'Modi is world's most popular leader': Voters in Varanasi punctured the persona periodically pumped up by Morning Consult.

His 2019 victory margin of 45.22% plunged by two-thirds to 13.49%, the lowest ever for any sitting PM excluding post-Emergency Indira Gandhi and Chandra Shekhar.

Modi won by 152,153 votes; by contrast Rakibul Hussain of the Congress won in Dhubri (Assam) by 1,012,476 votes.

There are 115 other MPs with a higher victory margin than Modi in the 18th Lok Sabha.

***

Three

'Modi has matched Nehru': The headlines are full of 'Modi 3.0' like the RSS has issued a software update.

But here's the perspective. One, Vajpayee was a BJP PM thrice. So he has been there, done that.

And two, Nehru was prime minister for a full 17 years from August 1947 to May 1964.

Plus, Nehru took oath not three times, but six.

In 1946 as vice-president of the Viceroy's executive council; in 1947 as the first prime minister of the Dominion of India; in 1950 as prime minister of the Republic of India; and then as PM after India's three elections.

Hard for any biological baby to match that.

***

Four

'Modi is BJP's vote magnet': 50-50. BJP and NDA candidates lost in nearly half the seats where Modi campaigned and gave speeches, down from a success rate of 85% in 2019.

In Maharashtra alone, Modi held rallies in 19 constituencies; 15 of the BJP/NDA candidates he batted for, lost.

Modi's roadshow also failed to secure a win in Mumbai North East.

Overall, the BJP gained a mere 23 seats in 7 states compared to 2019; it lost 63 seats in 13 states.

IMAGE: Newly sworn-in Prime Minister Narendra D Modi acknowledges the cheers after taking the oath of office for a third consecutive term. Photograph: ANI Photo

***

Five

'Modi knows everything': As Modi took one giant leap from biological to illogical, he increasingly lost touch with reality.

'Uttar Pradesh has decided to give 100% seats to Modi, to NDA,' he said in February despite access to all manner of inputs.

As early as May 1, India's brand ambassador for gamchas, Professor Yogendra Yadav was categorical that the BJP would fall to below 50.

Professor Ravi Kant of Lucknow University said things were so bad the BJP could end up with 30-35. It got 33.

***

Six

'Modi's vikas fetches votes': People want development, but not just roads, bridges, flyovers.

In the 2023 assembly elections in Karnataka, the BJP lost in every constituency along the newly opened expressway between Bangalore and Mysore. Ditto 2024.

It won a mere two seats out of ten in Vidarbha along the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway.

In Lakshadweep, where the BJP threatened to unleash the Gujarat Model of development, it got exactly 201 votes out of 49,200.

IMAGE: President Murmu addresses the banquet for the leaders of neighbouring countries after the swearing in ceremony, June 9, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

***

Seven

'Modi only spews hate to rally his base': BJP won in three seats (Aligarh, Udhampur, Khargone) where he ranted against mangal sutra, mutton-eating and vote jihad respectively, but it lost in eight seats (Banswara, Ghosi, Nandurbar, Tonk, Mathurapur, Pataliputra, Barabanki, Dumka) where he indulged in Islamophobia.

Then again, the target audience of Modi's speeches are not always those sitting and standing in front of him.

***

Eight

'Ram Temple was Modi's masterstroke': The premature opening of the Temple in January, accompanied by the usual PR blitzkrieg, had little impact across the country, even less in Uttar Pradesh, and none at all in Ayodhya.

Hordes of celebrities and influencers generated buzz with their gush.

With five phases to go, even the President of India -- a tribal and a widow ignored for the January 22 event -- was shepherded in on May 1 to lend a helpful hand. Didn't work.

In the end, the people of Faizabad spoke through their wallets.

Samajwadi Party's Awadesh Prasad, a Dalit standing from a general category seat, won.

***

Nine

'Modi is Hindu hridaysamrat': Besides Ayodhya, the BJP lost in nine other constituencies with a Ramayana imprint; it tasted success only in Thrissur.

In Rameswaram, K Navaskani of the Indian Union Muslim League won with a 44% voteshare in a 84% Hindu constituency.

More importantly, in the 21 seats in the Ayodhya and Varanasi regions, both crucial to the Hindutva project, the BJP won just 7.

It won just 3 out of 12 seats around Modi's constituency.

Mandal trumped Kamandal as the Constitution of India and social justice became centrestage.

IMAGE: Modi greets Nirmala Sitharaman -- one of only two women in his 30-member Cabinet -- after she takes the oath of office, June 9, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

***

Ten

'Digital technology allows Modi's benefits reach the poor': For starters, the BJP lost 71 of the 236 rural seats it held in 2019 (the Congress score went up from 31 to 75; the Samajwadi Party up from 5 to 37).

Secondly, the BJP's voteshare fell in eight out of 11 states and Union Territories that had a rate of growth of under 2% since the 2019 elections; in four out of eight states with a growth between 2% and 4%; and in four out of nine states with a growth of over 4%.

***

Eleven

'Mainstream media matters': News channels and newspapers gave BJP unlimited space and time.

Acres and hours of government advertisements flowed to friendly media outlets before the election schedule was announced.

Modi gave over 70 expansive 'interviews' phase by phase.

Propaganda films received plugs from the PMO handle.

Fake news, innuendo flooded social media. Yet.

Prashant Kishor says YouTube viewership, TV ratings and Google Buzz are all down for Modi.

IMAGE: BJP supporters in Balurghat, South Dinajpur, West Bengal, celebrate as Modi takes the oath as prime minister, June 9, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

***

And finally:

Twelve

'The whole world loves Modi': Yes, only when it needs to do business with India. When he loses it looks at him sternly.

'Billionaire-friendly Modi humbled by Indians who make $4 a day', said Bloomberg.

'Narendra Modi fell to earth after making it all about himself', said a New York Times headline.

But the headline of June 5 was in neighbouring Pakistan, in the Dawn newspaper founded by Mohammad Ali Jinnah: 'India defeats hate. Modi left at mercy of Muslim-friendly allies'.

***

Sources: CSDS Lokniti, The Hindu; Hindustan Times; Sushant Singh on Twitter; Quint and Mid-Day; Ajit Anjum on YouTube and Karan Thapar interview for The Wire; Kunal Purohit on Twitter; The Indian Express.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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KRISHNA PRASAD
 
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