When the UP is voting for its sixth phase it is hazardous to write such an article. If you turn out to be right you are a better psephologist. If BJP loses in UP there could not be a better fool than you are. For me taking this risk does not really matter. As a doctor, I have been taking, risks for my patients all my life. I believe the reader will find the narrative below a different and a useful way to look at things and work more strategically.
Everybody, including the BJP, RSS and the Parivar were astonished at the magnitude of the victory, the extensive territory over which it happened, the margins in many places in two states that cannot be more different than each other, Maharashtra and Orissa, one the most forward and industrialized and the other poor and decrepit. If the “liberal, secular, Congress and left of centre aligned” channels, (high time we find an excellent acronym for all these creatures together) newspapers were astonished they did not at least show it. After minimally acknowledging these victories they did not go into the analysis of why such a victory. These people never do that. Thus, they remained true to their characteristics.
As an offshoot the focus is on UP, expected. The media have become calculating machines, data miners, going to the minuscule levels of each of the 402 constituencies with all the percentages of Muslims, Bahujan Samaj, Hindus, Jats, Jatavs, Lodh, Kurmis, OBCs and Non-OBCs and so on. Then there are stratifications in terms of farmers, town dwellers; the figures for at least three elections including the present are bandied around. All kinds of calculations are made. The ability and intelligence of the anchors and the statisticians and psephologists and the spokespersons are to most people who have an inherent dislike for Mathematics and Statistics is amazing. Yet, something has happened which defies Mathematics, Statistics, Probability Theories and Psephology.
Before going further it would be worthwhile to ask this question. How far longer in future are we going to continue the same habits of thinking, same frames of references, the same type of equations and continue to play around it ad nauseas? When is it that media will realise that people could have moved farther and faster ahead at some point in time? And that we will have to find those equations now to debate. Otherwise, these stereotypes will have to be considered as the old itches which give more and more pleasure as you continue to scratch. Nothing cerebral, nothing rational about it, Sir!
Aside of the caste, religious affiliation the politics of last 70 years of independent India has revolved around hate. Whether it is that of Nehru, Communists and Socialists towards anything Hindu or the hate played upon and practised between Brahmins and others, among the other classes, religions and so on. The other area is divisive politics along the same lines. The third element is that of negativism against incumbents, against parties, people and atrocities as in 1977. Can we recollect a single election anyone has won on positive issue-based voting?
That is why the BJP victories in Maharashtra and Odisha become significant. There is no particular group vote bank that is voting it to victory. People from all strata, from all classes, all religions, across all occupations, genders are or seem to be voting for BJP. This is the General Vote Bank I am talking about. It will be repetitive to say that these voters have broken their divided small entities and independently decided that they will vote for BJP. One may even venture to mildly suggest that it is a positive vote. The issue, however, is not this simple. The bigger question we need to ponder is why it happened against the cacophony of all the tendencies and habits dinned into the voter’s mind even this time. I need not go into the statistics of the winning percentages and the total voting percentage in an electoral segment. The masters of detail if they prefer to do it could sample some constituencies to find if this contention or the argument of the General Vote Bank I have put forward is valid or not. I believe I will be vindicated.
So far political parties have acted upon the belief that people can be fooled by many ways to win the elections. The common instinctive belief is that if people’s problems are solved satisfactorily we will have no relevance, no raison de aitr to survive or live. The other instinctive belief is that whatever good you may do for people they will forget about it, forget about who gave it to them and ultimately vote someone else on the spur of the moment or deliberate ingratitude. Hence, they should always remain at a lower level of the receiver or a beggar, better still if they remain under the terror of us as is seen in UP. In some way or the other, the political parties have maintained that a state of dependency of the voter should continue.
There is no doubt that matters are being dealt with in a manner radically different in the last 28 months at least at the central level. People have probably started realising that they are getting something without having to beg, feel threatened or bribe. It is being given with honour. That it is not a transient but a steady phenomenon. Life may have its unevenness still but the troughs and the peaks are closer. If they have started to feel that they are being cared for, without being asked to vote for a party then there is a real change at the grass root. 1 crore people across different strata gave up the subsidy for the LPG. Will they not have an allegiance to a party winning? The BPL Parivar are getting Ujwala Gas cylinders. There are 80 + / - 10 schemes linked to some 20 + /- 5 central government departments linked to Direct Bank Transfer. What can the neem quoted urea mean to a farmer he alone will know. There is every indicator that these schemes are working. Even at the state level where the BJP governments are working matters are not unsatisfactory. Something must be stirring at the grass root level where even a non-BJP, hilly, poor, tribal, devastated state like Orissa is creating a different note.
Some of the assumptions declared above particularly keeping people lower at the receiver’s end, if anything is to be given at all, to appear to solve the problems but keep fooling people since they may become ungrateful and not vote are getting scrapped. If demonetization has not affected these results and BJPs fortunes adversely but has in fact favoured it one need not search far and wide for the truth of people’s gratitude resulting in electoral victories for BJP.
The bigger and more pertinent question is will the so-called opinion makers learn this?