By Ashutosh Roy
It'sa surge, which perhaps the self-styled psephologists refuse to see. Perhaps, they see and do not want others to see. The exit polls have been predicting what they wish to happen-a hung Parliament or an Indian government led by Sonia Gandhi. And as Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi said, “For Sonia, if in power, Vande Mataram might sound different.”
During the first two phases, despite the doomsayers? attempts to suppress the BJP, the party surged ahead. In Union Law Minister and BJP spokesman, Arun Jaitley'swords, “It'sa Vajpayee surge, which is taking place. And when there'sa surge, all predictions go haywire.”
In Orissa, where the TV channels predicted a total rout of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, the BJP-BJD alliance held ground. In Jharkhand, the BJP surged ahead on its own. Of the 32 seats, which went to polls in Uttar Pradesh during the second phase, the exit polls gave BJP between 11 to 12 seats. Of the 32 seats, BJP at this juncture has 13 seats. Karnataka apparen-tly is going to be BJP'sgateway to south India. In Andhra, even as the exit polls ruled out the return of TDP chief, Chandrababu Naidu, political pundits claimed that it was “not going to be a cakewalk for the Congress.” A few days back, while commenting on the outcome of Karnataka Assembly polls, a channel gave 60 seats to the BJP and predicted 120 seats for the Congress. This prediction came despite a strong anti-incumbency wave against the S.M. Krishna-led Congress government.
After the second round, the in-house psephologists, who probably sensed that they were on the brink of losing their credibility completely, decided to change tack. But the channel'spolitical uplink prevented them from predicting a BJP triumph in the Karnataka Assembly. The channel and the drawing-room political pundits predicted “a close call” for both the BJP and Congress in Karnataka Assembly.
For such predictions (“close call”), one does not have to take on the guise of a psephologist or a poll-analyst. This was the same channel which continued to air communal violence in Gujarat relentlessly, when the state administration was trying to bring it under control. Jaitley had observed, “These psepholo-gists must not forget that they have a responsibility.” Then came his sting: “Public opinion is not as volatile as Sensex that it could swing from one extreme to another during such a short span of time.”
The politically-aligned channels might have aimed at dampening the NDA cadre. Exit polls are expected to educate people; not try to influence them.
They could not be more wrong. In fact, such distorted predictions have not merely galvanised the entire BJP cadre, but has also made them determined to call the bluff!
The new messiahs of Congress are the children of Sonia Gandhi. No tough questions to them, like where were Rahul and Priyanka when Gujarat was burning? Where were they when the state administration controlled the communal violence? Did they visit Gujarat, after the violence? Did they meet the victims of riots? Did they hold the hands of Muslims, who were being rehabilitated by the state government? Where were they?
Have Rahul and Priyanka met the victims of Godhra? They were Hindus, so one can understand. Yet this brother-sister duo, who were strutting around in UP and TV channels, talk of Gujarat.
Modi, for the secular bandwagon is the “villain”, the “ugly Indian”.
This, despite the fact that with an iron hand he controlled the carnage in three days and till date, never gave any indication to justify such a tragedy. Rewind to 1984.
In 1984, immediately after Indira Gandhi was assassinated, the Congressmen all over the nation went on a killing spree. The Sikhs were being slaughtered and burnt alive. Congressmen painted the nation red with the blood of Sikh men, women and children. The dance of death continued unabated, as the Neros in Delhi played on their fiddle.
Rajiv Gandhi, speaking from India Gate, virtually justified the genocide. He announced, “The earth shakes, when a great tree falls.” Come 2004: Rajiv”s wife, the present Congress chief, Sonia Gandhi gives party tickets to Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, who allegedly led the Sikh-carnage. Need one say more?
Who then was the “ugly Indian” and who then is an “impenitent Italian”? During the next two phases India has to decide.
Jaitley had observed, “These psephologists must not forget that they have a responsibility.” Then came his sting: “Public opinion is not as volatile as Sensex that it could swing from one extreme to another during such a short span of time.”