Skip to main content

Modi's "divisive" campaign led to 7% Gujarat Hindu voters' shift to BJP starting November-end till polling day

Counterview Desk
Top scholars of the Delhi-based research institute, Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Shreyas Sardesai and Sanjay Kumar, in their incisive analysis of Gujarat elections have revealed that, between November-end and mid-December, there was a massive 7% shift in favour of Hindu voters’ support to the BJP, especially in the urban areas.
Based on the surveys Lokniti, CSDS, carried out among Gujarat votes, the scholars say, “We believe that it is quite obviously Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaigning, which was for the most part controversial and divisive, that played a role in turning a section of voters towards the BJP, thus saving it from a possible defeat.”
Pointing out that between addressed as many as 30 rallies across Gujarat between November 27 and December 11, a virtual carpet bombing, the scholars says, “This is the period when the Prime Minister, who is hugely liked in Gujarat (by 72% of those surveyed, post-poll), campaigned extensively in the state.”
They say, it is in this period that most of Modi’s “speeches, especially the ones made at rallies post-December 5, focussed on divisive themes. Mandir-Masjid, Mughals, Pakistan, Ahmed Patel, Salman Nizami, etc.”, calling it “classic dog-whistle politics by using coded language that might have stoked passions among some sections of the electorate.”
According to them, “In our final pre-poll done in end-November, we had found only about 45% of Hindu voters to be voting for the BJP. In the post-poll, we noticed that eventually nearly 52% of them ended up voting for the incumbent party.”
The scholars say, the institute conducted two pre-poll surveys, one in end-October and another in end-November, and it was found that the electoral race between the BJP and the Congress to had tightened “considerably.” 
“In fact”, according to them, “The November survey had found the race to be neck-and-neck in terms of vote share. That trend, however, did not hold entirely till Voting Day. It now seems that a last-minute swing by some voters towards the final stages of the campaign ended up giving the edge to the BJP.”
Thus, they say, “The poll reveals that over two in every five voters (43%) took a final call on who they would vote for in the last two weeks of campaigning — and more than half of them (53%) said they voted for the BJP.” As against this, in the 2012 polls, “the share of late deciders had been much lower, at 31%.”
Referring to how the Patidars were possibly turned around, the scholars say, “Among the major worries of the BJP all throughout the campaign had been the Patidar disaffection with the party as well as the Congress’s attempts to build a rainbow coalition of different castes by roping in young Patel, Dalit and OBC (Other Backward Classes) leaders on its side.”
To solve this, they says, Modi gave “communal overtones to the campaign”, which apparently “ensured a subsuming of some of these caste identities within the Hindu fold, thus helping the BJP hold on to its bastion.”
“We notice a shift away from the Congress among all Hindu communities, be it Patidars, Kshatriyas, Dalits, and Adivasis, between the pre-poll and the post-poll”, the scholars say, adding, while the Congress also tried to play the Hindu card, “eventually it seems that in this competition to woo the Gujarati Hindus, particularly urban ones, were more convinced by Modi’s insinuations than by Gandhi’s attempts at asserting his Hindu-ness.”
Sharply criticizing the vernacular media for helping stoke communal passion, the scholars say, a day after Modi raised a hue and cry at one of his rallies about Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark calling him a “neech kisam ka aadmi (a low type of man)”, the popular daily “Gujarat Samachar”, otherwise critical of Modi, ran a headline on its front page: “Modi neech jaatino maanas chhe: Mani Shankar Aiyar (Modi is a man from a lower caste says Mani Shankar Aiyar)”.
“While Aiyar had described Modi as ‘neech’, the newspaper chose to give the remark its own spin, or rather Modi’s spin, by adding the word ‘jaati’ to it”, they say, calling it “misreporting”.

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Trump in Ahmedabad: Did Modi display servile colonial mindset towards gora sahib?

By Rajiv Shah
Donald Trump left Ahmedabad for Agra to "enjoy" the Mughal monument Taj Mahel in the afternoon on Monday, leaving behind scores of huge billboards standing across the megacity showcasing larger than life images of the US president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some of them boldly captioned: “Two strong leaders of two strong democracies”.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."