Skip to main content

Congress' developmental plank, NYAY, 'failed to reach' vulnerable voters: Survey

By Rajiv Shah
A recent study of how social media users and non-users behaved during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has sought to suggests that the Congress’ main development plank, NYAY (Nyunatam Aay Yojana) scheme, promising a minimum income to poor households, announced allegedly to “wrest the post-Balakot momentum back from the BJP”, failed to achieve the desired goal, particularly among those for whom the proposed scheme was targeted.
No doubt, thanks to a strong penetration of social media, says the study, Congress’ effort to “create a counter narrative by bringing the focus of the elections back to economic issues” through NYAY succeeded to some extent, with the party managing to “communicate about the scheme to about three-fourths of the users having high/moderate exposure to social media”. However, it adds, “It failed to reach out to half of the nonusers of social media platforms.”
According to the study, “Congress perhaps relied more on social media but could never actually communicate to the real beneficiaries of the scheme – the ones who lack resources to be on these social media platforms.” This happened even as the knowledge about the Balakot airstrike was considerably higher among the non-users. Thus, the study says, if 49% of social media non-users knew about NYAY, as for the Balakot strike, the awareness among this section was 17% higher – 68%.
The study, titled “Social Media & Political Behaviour”, is based on an interview-based post-poll survey in 26 major states among 24,236 voters in 211 parliamentary constituencies carried out by Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
What is equally significant is, if Congress’ NYAY plank was “exposed” to 71-77% social media users, the Balakot air strike – the BJP’s main “nationalistic” poll plank – was exposed to 88-91%, a whopping gap of around 20%. The study states, “Social media platforms were quite effective in communicating about the airstrike, with 86%of daily users of Twitter and more than 90% of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and YouTube users aware about the same.
Interestingly, however, while at a top report, based on a The Hindu-Lokniti-CSDS survey, has said that there was a major shift in the Hindu vote in favour of the BJP, from 36% in 2014 to 44% in 2019, interpreted as suggesting polarization along communal (“Hindu-Muslim”) lines, the study suggests, despite this shift, big majority of Hindus, even though influenced by the Modi propaganda on Balakot, remained tolerant towards other religions.
The study seeks answer the question: Does India belong to only Hindus, i.e. does it entitle the majority with certain kind of primacy, or does it belong to all religious communities equally? The results show that only 17-19% of voters believed that ‘India belongs to only Hindus’, while and 73-75% voters said that ‘India belongs to all religions equally’.
At the same time, the study says, “It is worth noticing that the numbers of Hindu respondents who believe that ‘India belongs to only Hindus’ is much higher in the middle two categories – weekly users of Facebook and Whatsapp; and rare users of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram – compared to the daily users and the respondents who have never used these mediums. A weekly/rare user of WhatsApp and a rare user of Twitter/WhatsApp/Instagram is also less likely to believe that India belongs to all religions equally.”
Ironically, reveals the study, before Balakot, Congress’ main campaign plank centred around Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of a “potential fraud” against Narendra Modi in the Dassault Rafale Jet deal by coining the slogan ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ (the watchman is a thief) to counter a narrative created by the Prime Minister of being a ‘Chowkidar’ (watchman) of the nation.
The Congress slogan, notes the study, “was quite popular among social media users, so much so that even Modi’s counter slogan ‘Main bhi chowkidar’ (I am also a watchman), with all the BJP leaders adding the prefix ‘Chowkidar’ to their Twitter handles”, which “though popular, failed to match” the then Congress slogan.
“On comparing the two slogans, the overall awareness of Modi’s ‘Main bhi chowkidar’ was found to be slightly less (68-81%) than that of Rahul’s ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ (72-84%), the study states, adding, the difference was “constant” among all kinds of social media users and platforms. While among the non-users of social media both the slogans were not not popular, yet the Congress had an edge – 48% had heard about “Chowkidar chor hai”, as against 44% who had heard “Main bhi chowkidar”.
The study believes, social media did become one of the most important influencers during the 2019 polls. Thus, 2014 and 2019, those using Facebook went up from 9% to 32%, with WhatsApp and YouTube showing a similar trend. At the same time, there was a steady decline of “traditional” media: Newspaper readership declined from 29% to 18%, and the TV news viewership went down from 46% to 35%.
In fact, the study finds that there was evidence pointing towards “a strong link between social media usage and political participation”. Thus, the social media users were found to be “twice as likely to participate in election rallies and meetings, thrice as likely to take part in processions and door to door canvassing and four times as likely to collect or donate money and distribute pamphlets as those not using any of these platforms.”

Comments

Anurag Singh said…
Good for Congress.....its handling of defeat shows it wasn't ready for victory.... would have made a mess.... Though mess is still very much on the cards..
Uma said…
Apart from a poorly built organisational structure, Congress made many mistakes. Everytime, BJP threw a bait or gauntlet, it picked it up. That was not n necessary: sometimes you have to ignore the opposition even if you are insulted, and counter them differently or at a later date in the course of a speech or while addressing the press; that is why Congress got caught in traps and could not stress enough on its valid points.

I hope Rahul sticks to his guns and refuses to lead the party. This way, he is not only giving others (meaning not-family) a chance, but also taking a break to review and reconsider his campaign.

TRENDING

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.