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Instilling sense of insecurity among 'fearful' millions, Modi to win comfortably

By Rajiv Shah 
This was one of the most interesting reports I read on the Lok Sabha elections. Titled, "If Sangam Pilgrims Are Bellwether, They Indicate Clear Majority for Modi", published in what is considered to be an anti-Narendra Modi site, "The Wire", it reports on interaction with boatmen and pilgrims from across India, even as pointing towards why Modi would get a "clear majority."
The writers of the report are senior journalists -- Jawid Laiq and Bharati Bhargava -- who were on the reporting staff of the "Indian Express", Delhi, in the 1970s, including the Emergency years, and have also worked as assistant editors with what is often regarded a Left-wing research journal, "Economic and Political Weekly".
The pilgrims interviewed include around 20-odd young and old, women and men belonging to different social backgrounds -- from Tripura, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, UP, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
While all of them persons asserted that they had voted for BJP (or an ally), only two -- Manju Devi from Uttar Pradesh and Gopal Vishnoi from Rajasthan -- asserted they were not agreeable with Modi. While the former said she had would have voted for Mayawati's BSP but her name wasn't there on the list, the latter asserted he voted for Congress for ensuring "balance" between political parties in a democracy.
The authors sum up quoting Raju, 40, their taxi driver from Prayagraj, who, according to them, "succinctly and subtly voices the prime reason for Modi’s popularity." They quote Raju as stating that Modi "is the only strong leader who can provide a sense of security to the populace", a reason "also given openly above by Manju Singh, the online businesswoman from Kota."
In their short commentary on Modi’s apparent popularity, they say, "Too many of Modi’s opponents have convinced themselves that Modi has suffered several self-goals by his repeated incendiary attacks during his election campaign. He is thought to have gone wildly berserk, especially during his accusations against the infiltrating, fast-breeding, mangalsutra-snatching Muslim community and its Congress co-conspirators."
Modi’s toxic accusations are the key part of his deliberate, carefully crafted plan to make millions of majority voters feel intensely insecure
Stating that "this is wishful thinking among those who think that Modi is a loser", they insist, "In fact, Modi’s toxic accusations are the key part of his deliberate, carefully crafted plan to make millions of majority voters feel intensely insecure. In this climate created by him, he has made sure that he has emerged as the only saviour who can provide a deep sense of security to fearful millions."
One of the two authors says, he has been "visiting the Sangam as a political pilgrim since 1977, when after much coaxing, the boatmen had told me that Indira Gandhi would lose the election and the Janata Party would come to power."
Covering elections from the Sangam for the ninth time through conversations with the pilgrims and boatmen, the authors say, "Astonishingly, the election forecasts made by the pilgrims and boatmen over the decades have proved to be relatively more accurate than the election predictions of the professional pollsters and political pundits."
"For instance in the 2004 election, when everyone was predicting a victory for the India Shining BJP, the boatmen had suggested the Congress could form the government. In 2014, the pilgrims and boatmen had predicted a victory for the BJP, and in 2019, they had announced an enhanced victory for Modi", they add.



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