After dealing with how the creative mathematicians at Hindustan Times massaged the Bosserina’s ego, we move on to another vile “survey” conducted by Star News—Nielsen. The amazing part of this “survey” is the fact that it has published nothing about the survey itself except the following “results”:
- Number of respondents: 9000 odd people drawn from 28 cities across the country
- Congress party stands to win 30% of votes if elections were held tomorrow, a loss of 7% from its previous vote share percentage
- BJP’s vote share percentage is 23
- Manmohan Singh is rated as the #1 leader with a 21% rating
- Rahul Gandhi is rated #2 with a 19% rating
- Sonia Gandhi is rated #3 with a 14% rating
- Narendra Modi (gasp!) is rated #4 with a 12% rating
Even without examining it in detail, it’s apparent that this “survey” is highly spurious simply because of the sample size. A conclusion about popularity ratings drawn from a massive 0.00001120512016023500% of people. This one is just a variant of the Hindustan Times massage-with-numbers job. But it deserves closer attention for not just the fake halo it tries to cloak the Dynasty in but for a more sinister reason.
It’s understandable that 2 years (7 years actually but we’re talking of post-2009 Lok Sabha polls) in power occasions the Congress party pamphleteers in the English media to celebrate the party’s misdeeds. But after the Radia Tapes affair de disgrace, people have stopped taking them seriously. It takes all but once to realize that you enjoy reveling in muck and so Radia or no Radia, the media’s tryst with sleaze continues unabated.
Neither is this tryst with sleaze new. It dates all the way back to the Grand Founder who spoke about India’s Tryst with Destiny in 1947. The freedom struggle days’ avatar of today’s English newspapers took care not to overtly offend the Empire. Those that did were targeted and shut down and/or went underground. In any case, post Independence, these papers gradually became Nehru’s drumbeaters because of a compelling reason. Nehru still had the aura of being one of the towering personalities that fought for India’s freedom, plus he was the Mahatma’s favourite minion, plus he could reply to the Gora sahibs in their own tongue, and so on. After Patel’s death there was no serious contender to his power both within the party and the government. He could do no wrong. By then he had made it clear that he was out to chart a new course for an India he thought was “born” on the midnight of August 15th 1947. He also made it clear that he brooked no dissent emanating from the media. But the biggest message he sent out was this: he was intolerant of anything that even remotely smelled of “ancient Indian heritage.” That, more than anything else sent the signal to the English media where real power lay. He called the mammoth wasteful dams and PSUs the pillars of modern India, and the media faithfully parroted it. He wanted us to develop a “scientific temper” (whatever that meant), and the media trumpeted it. And so on. Thus were sown the seeds of Dynasty Worship by the English media. This worship reached its pinnacle when Indira Gandhi blew the media like straws during the Emergency with Ramnath Goenka’s Indian Express being the lone exception. Had the media been faithful to the principle of being free, fair and unbiased, it’d have had the moral authority to battle the Emergency like the Indian Express did.
Post-Emergency, the Congress party swallowed the media as a whole. With the emergence of the television media, the cravenness and the courtiership are out in the open. Thanks to years of practice, journalists and TV news anchors now resemble Congress party workers. The nadir is this picture that NDTV carried on its home page after India beat Pakistan in the 2011 cricket world cup.
(Image courtesy: http://twitpic.com/4f1dui/full)
The ratings put out by the Star News-Nielsen “survey” makes sense only in this light. The media defines truth as that which is what the Congress Party wants it to be.
Any competition/contest typically announce winners up to 3 places. But then it’s not uncommon to have a fourth or “consolation” place. This “survey” puts Narendra Modi in the fourth place, which makes it reasonable to conclude that he’s been awarded the “consolation” prize. Whatever that maybe, the more important question to ask is why does Modi even figure in this “survey,” which is more like a PR exercise to please the current Dynasty members? Oh well, Manmohan Singh isn’t really Dynasty but he was appointed after due diligence not once but twice. That should count for something.
The answer is plain enough for anybody who’s been following politics for at least a decade. In just two years, UPA 2 has taken a beating on all fronts on a scale unheard of in the last 60 years by any ruling party. Deservedly so. The sheen on Sonia Gandhi’s fair name is slowly dulling. The last year or so, Rahul Gandhi has become more renowned for successive gaffes. His party has received a spectacular drubbing in every state election he’s campaigned in. His image has taken such a beating that his party itself doubts whether he’s eligible to become the next Prime Ministerial candidate. This state of affairs in spite of the media machinery relentlessly working to make fiction fact. Additionally, nobody in the Congress party reacted to Vasant Sathe’s sacrilegious suggestion that “after Sonia, Priyanka is the one who has more mass appeal as compared to Rahul but she was not coming forward in active politics as she apparently feels her brother will be "sidelined.” Apart from massive corruption, a free-for-all Cabinet, repeated poll debacles and the fresh face-blackening it’s received in Karnataka, the Dynasty clearly realizes that it’s losing its grip at an alarming rate. This fantastic article shows what the party has reduced itself to.
The party’s footprint is shrinking across the country. Powerful regional satraps are scripting new success stories in states, pushing the Congress into the political fringes. Reduced to being a bit player in so many states, the party may end up being a inconsequential player at the Centre in 2014 too…Regional leaders like Nitish Kumar, Narendra Modi, Naveen Patnaik and Shivraj Singh Chauhan have established themselves as a viable alternative to the Congress by providing effective and responsive administration in their respective states. Prospering on the Congress’ agenda, they have put the party in a situation from which it will find hard to recover. The party has hit the tipping point. It will need some magic trick to recover from the current situation.
But then this was bound to happen because—and there’s no other way to say this—the Congress party thought it could rely on the One Big Myth forever. The Myth: Sonia Gandhi is a mass leader. From this Big Myth follows the smaller myths about Rahul and Priyanka. The media perpetuates this myth because it serves them well. Which is why there arises a need, from time to time for “surveys” like this. To brew fake figures of popularity and ram them repeatedly down the nation’s throat. A lie repeated often, etc.
The truth lies on the other end of the spectrum: the Congress cannot match the appeal, popularity, goodwill and most importantly, the clean image of Narendra Modi. The “Mr. Clean” image of Manmohan Singh is yet another myth manufactured by the media minions of the Congress party. If he was really Mr. Clean, he should’ve contested an election and gotten himself elected to the Lok Sabha. Backdoor entry is still frowned upon in decent society, Sir. Oh, also, cleanliness begins there, sir. There’s a reason why Modi is so popular and is increasingly been seen as the most deserving man to become the country’s next Prime Minister: he has worked towards it. You know, like real work. For all the empty platitudes about a “casteless” society that the Congress party has mouthed for six decades, it actually laid the foundation for casteist politics. In a crude twist of destiny, it has always been headed by the Dynasty, which as far as anybody can remember, hails from an extremely privileged background. Modi on the other hand has literally worked his way up from the scratch. Yet, today when he’s made a solid mark for himself, we have Nehruvian pen-pushers like Guha who deride Modi based on his humble origins. And similarly, as far as one can recall, Modi has never fought a poll or pushed a scheme with a casteist theme: it has been economic development all the way. The Congress brand of Social Justice consists of privileged people preaching from air conditioned pulpits to the poor junta about the virtues of dignity of labour. The only time they get their feet dirty is in the election season. Modi’s record—from achieving near-100% uninterrupted power supply to doing his annual rural tours to his girl child upliftment programmes—has always been marked by the quality of leading from the front, from the grassroots. As I’ve detailed in another piece, word of development doesn’t take long to spread to other parts of the country. Just as Bihar was the longest-serving cruel joke in recent memory, Gujarat under Modi has become the example to emulate if you want to develop your state. Which is why no mainstream media outlet will ever publish pictures like this.
(Image courtesy: http://twitpic.com/51ivip)
To put it bluntly, the Congress party’s paid media peddlers simply reflect the party’s fear of Narendra Modi, a fear that Francois Gautier nicely articulated recently.
Why is Sonia going so single-mindedly against Modi? Because, he seems to be the only alternative to her son Rahul Gandhi becoming prime minister in the next general elections. We should give credit to Sonia for her cunning and ruthlessness.
Let’s face it. In the next general elections, what exactly will the Congress pitch? Secularism? It’s “achievements” in the two terms it was in office? Social justice? Development? Fighting corruption (cough! sputter!)? Rahul Gandhi? The last option is looking increasingly bleak with each passing day. Of course, knowing the party’s record, it’ll most likely use every dirty trick in the book to regain power but three years is a long time. At present, however, things look like they’re only going downhill for it and no amount of fake surveys will make that reality go away. Or hide Narendra Modi’s popularity.