The electoral surveys being carried out in the country are not only misleading, they are being used as political weapons. The survey results are showing Narendra Modi as the NDA’s trump card and the best candidate for the Prime Ministerial post. It is also being projected that if Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Ministerial candidate, the BJP will get the most number of seats. What needs to be understood is that with Modi becoming the Prime Ministerial candidate, the biggest gains will go to the Congress party. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav, Mamata Banerjee and secular parties will also gain due to Modi and there will be losses only for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The elections are still almost a year away, but the game of surveys has already started. Several professional agencies have got busy in conducting surveys and informing people which party will get how many seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. These agencies do not work ‘for free’ but take money for conducting surveys which are shown on TV channels. Some agencies do joint surveys with TV channels, but this is for name only. The reporters and editors of TV channels do not even know that such surveys are being done by their channel. Now that the game of surveys has started in the media, the first question that arises is : who is getting it done? Who is giving money to the agencies and TV channels conducting surveys? If anybody is giving them money, what is the purpose? Who is gaining and taking advantage of this and who is losing out and is at a disadvantage? After all, what is the secret of these election surveys?
Let us first see what are the findings of these surveys for the 2014 elections. ABP news claims that according to its survey, the mood of the country is with Modi, and 48 per cent of the people want to see Modi as the Prime Minister. This survey shown on ABP News has been done by a company called Nielsen. ABP News has claimed that these findings are the result of a survey done in 21 States of the country. There was a survey too from the Hindustan Times. There is a perception that this group is close to the Congress party, yet according to the survey published in it, 38 per cent of people want to see Modi as the Prime Minister. Another important survey has been brought before the country by the India Today group. Several TV channels, news publications and other journals and publications are part of this group, of which the most important is Aaj Tak news channel. According to their survey too Narendra Modi is ahead in the race for the post of Prime Minister. And if you go onto the Internet and search for 2014 election surveys, you will find hundreds have mushroomed there as well. It is curious that every survey got space in several newspapers and magazines. Out of these, which one to believe in and which one not to believe in, that is a difficult question.
Let me tell you about some other interesting surveys. One survey was also done by Lens on News. This survey was done only in Uttar Pradesh. According to this, if Modi is declared the candidate for the post of Prime Minister, the BJP can get 47 seats in Uttar Pradesh. There are some surveys too which indicate that 70 per cent youth of the country are in favour of Modi. If one looks at the findings of all these surveys, two main things come before one. First, that the people are annoyed with the present Government and the Congress party cannot win the elections again. The second is the most important and that is : the majority in the country want to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. This means that the BJP is being given a message through these surveys that people’s deep discontent with the Congress does not mean that people want to bring in a BJP Government but that they want the next Government to be a Government under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Now, the question arises whether these surveys should be relied on? Whether any survey can anticipate a year in advance the results of any elections? There is a direct answer to these questions no. This is the reason why no survey is proved correct and if any does turn out to be correct, it is an exception or just a fluke which proves to be correct. The first question is of the reliability of these surveys. The results of these surveys are drawn up in accordance with the preferences of those who get them down and give money to the agencies conducting the surveys. It has been observed that mostly political parties get electoral surveys done to decide on their strategies and sometimes these election surveys are part of the strategy of political parties – they use them to create an atmosphere in their favour and as a medium for spreading rumours. Now, the
question is whether these election surveys are part of any strategy and if they are, from where are they being run?
The thing to understand is that any survey can survey the mood of the people only at the time of elections. Politics is a dynamic and active process. The atmosphere can change in a moment. With one statement, defeat or victory can be decided. A small mistake affects election results. Victory can change into defeat and sometimes a candidate who has lost can win. In politics, a single incident or happening changes not just the entire atmosphere, but it can change the mood of the public, it can change its decision. How much and on what issue the mood of the people will change — no survey can measure nor make a prediction about it. There is still time for 2014. There are several political games yet to be played. On which issues the elections of 2014 will be fought, that is not yet decided. It has not even been decided yet which issue will have what impact. The most interesting thing is that in the majority of these surveys, the effects of important issues such as inflation and corruption have not been reported. The way that scams are exposed every day, it seems that the political atmosphere of the country is quite unstable. Therefore, no survey has the capacity to make predictions and forecasts a year in advance.
There is a methodological error in the way these surveys are engaged in declaring Modi as the Prime Minister even before the elections. Voters in India do not choose the Prime Minister, they choose only their MP. At the time of choosing their MP, people assess the authenticity of the candidate. The party and the Prime Minister are not in the minds of ordinary voters at that time. The other thing is that the way political parties lure the people with liquor, money and other types of inducements, that reality is not included in the survey reports. In any case, who will be the Prime Minister, this is decided in Parliament after the elections when parties decide on the basis of the number of members. It should also not be forgotten that Indian politics has a wondrous aspect too. Who will become the Prime Minister in this country is not known even to the person who will become the Prime Minister. From Morarji Desai to Manmohan Singh many instances come before one. Therefore, when large media groups are insisting on appointing Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister a year in advance, there must surely be something in it.
There is no doubt that Modi wants to become the Prime Minister. He wants that the BJP should declare him as the Prime Ministerial candidate as soon as possible, but there is groupism within the party and anxiety regarding the future. The anxiety is because BJP strategists know that the party will not get a majority and by keeping Modi at the forefront it will be difficult to make alliances because neither will they get new partners and as for old colleagues, they too will leave the NDA. Therefore, the Bharatiya Janata Party is hesitating to declare the name of Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate. The Congress party on its part is aware of the reality. There is deep discontent and anger amongst the people towards the Congress, it cannot win the coming elections. The strategists of the Congress know that the only way of winning the 2014 Lok Sabha election is through Narendra Modi. If Modi is declared the candidate for the post of Prime Minister, the Congress party will once again be in a position to form a Government. There is reality in this argument, because the moment Modi comes to the forefront, there will be unprecedented polarisation of Muslim votes, whose benefit will go directly to the Congress in several States and will go in many States to the UPA alliance partners. Therefore, more than the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress party wants that Narendra Modi should be declared the candidate for the post of Prime Minister.
Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Ministerial candidate will have one more benefit for the Congress. This benefit will come after the election results in making an alliance. The thing to understand is that neither the Congress nor the Bharatiya Janata Party will get a majority. If any party does get a majority, it will be considered a miracle, but at present it seems to both the parties that under no circumstances can any of them get a majority. Therefore, an alliance or coalition will have to made to form the Government. In turn, the Government will be formed by whosoever is successful in making the biggest alliance. If Narendra Modi is the candidate for the post of Prime Minister, the BJP is likely to face difficulties in making an alliance. The Congress party will get support sitting as it were, because there will be no other way or alternative before Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Ramvilas Paswan, Naveen Patnaik, Chandrababu Naidu, Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav.
With Modi’s declaration as the Prime Ministerial candidate, another scenario may emerge, but this will depend upon the efficacy of regional political parties. The Congress believes that it will benefit from the polarisation of Muslim votes, but if regional parties maintain their stamina so to speak, they too can take advantage of this polarisation of votes. The purpose of this polarisation would be to stop all routes to Modi’s becoming Prime Minister. Muslims will give votes only to those candidates who can defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party. In such a situation there can be benefits also for Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Ramvilas Paswan, Naveen Patnaik, Chandrababu Naidu, Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav. If the total number of the members of regional parties exceeds 272, which is possible, it should be understood that if a consensus is evolved on the leadership, the door might open once again in the country for the Third Front.
There is a virtual storm in the media and on the internet extolling Narendra Modi as the candidate for the post of the Prime Minister. Through survey reports, who is fanning this fire, with what purpose it is being done, it is difficult to say, but it can certainly be said that the benefits of these surveys are to the Congress party and to Narendra Modi himself. Narendra Modi knows that the 2014 elections are the biggest opportunity of his political career and if this most important occasion slips out of his hands, the chance to become a Prime Minister is hardly likely to come again. People are annoyed with the Congress due to inflation, unemployment and corruption, which will affect the electoral results. The Congress party is about to fight the most important election for making Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister, therefore these elections will be like a test of fire for it. It is also decided that for the Congress party to win the elections, it is essential for Narendra Modi to be the Prime Ministerial candidate, otherwise winning the elections will not just be difficult, it will be impossible. When the police undertakes an investigation, then in any case it first tries to determine the motive. It is the principle of any investigation that without a motive no work can be executed. If we apply the police investigation motive theory to current politics, there can only be the conclusion that the (fake) surveys are being sponsored either by Narendra Modi or the Congress party.