Exit poll results defy logic

If the BJP has continued to face defeats in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh one after the other, how come the voter suddenly decided to give the kind of mandate exit polls are predicting

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media

Faraz Ahmad

Final results for the general elections are due only three days from now on Thursday, May 23, but almost all the exit polls conducted by the well-known media houses which have been plugging Narendra Modi for last five years and more, since this campaign commenced with Modi wining Gujarat assembly elections in December 2012, to see him as the BJP/NDA challenger for the 2014 general elections, have already pronounced a landslide victory for Modi and his fellow travellers.

It is true that despite the sceptics dismissing the exit polls as a bogey, these proved overwhelmingly correct in the 2014 general elections. Going by that past precedent one can safely assume that perhaps this time again they could prove correct.

However there is something unusual this time compared to 2014. In the run up to the 2014 elections the UPA government was virtually under a siege, condemned as a corrupt, incompetent and inept government by the dominant section of the media and the influential chatterati, notwithstanding some of the remarkable work done by the UPA under its chairman Sonia Gandhi starting with MNREGA, providing assured jobs to the rural poor for a 100 days at least in and around his dwelling. Then there was the Right to Information (RTI) Act passed which was grossly misused by the UPA baiters only to target and defame that Government and not to forget that the UPA tenure ended with the historic Land Acquisition Act which empowered the land owning farmer to refrain from or seek the best price for his land on his terms, while the state acquired his land for any project in particular handing over the private corporate fat cats.

And yet such was the power of media that the UPA lost all credibility before it was ousted in 2014. Since then much has flown down the Ganga in the Prime Minister’s constituency Varanasi and further.

Consequently the last big victory the BJP under Modi and its president Amit Shah registered was the in February/March, 2017 when it unexpectedly swept Uttar Pradesh along with Uttarakhand despite the drastic demonetisation move of Narendra Modi causing severe hardship to the poor and the struggling classes. That round too six states, namely UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur went together to polls where while there was clear victory for the BJP in UP and Uttarakhand, the BJP and its alliance partner the Akali Dal lost Punjab to the Congress. Even in Goa and Manipur they did not get a clear mandate but managed to form the Governments through open horse trading. Yes of course we need not ignore Himachal Pradesh wherein elections held a little later the BJP successfully defeated the old Congress warhorse Virbhadra Singh and returned to power.

The year 2017 ended with the fiercely fought elections in Modi’s citadel Gujarat where he led from the front and yet despite very questionable victory in Surat region, the BJP barely succeeded in keeping the Congress at bay.

But it was last year when the BJP faced its worst rout in successive assembly elections as also in Lok Sabha by polls in several states. Though the year began on a promising note for the BJP in February with Modi’s party making a record victory in the lone CPM bastion of North East, Tripura by ousting CPM’s three decades unchallenged supremacy. Elections were also held simultaneously to Meghalaya and Nagaland where the regional players were the real players and the BJP succeeded in finding a foothold of all the places in Nagaland by aligning with Nagaland People’s Party.

That ended the BP run for the year 2018. In fact the BJP started facing reverses from January in parliamentary bye elections when it lost both Alwar and Jaipur to the Congress. A third bye election was held for Uluberia in West Bengal which Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress comfortably retained.

Then in March, 2018 elections were held to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok sabha seats vacated by sitting members Yogi Adityanath and Keshav Prasad Maurya, elected and appointed as UP chief minister and Deputy chief minister now. In UP SP, BSP came together to put up a joint candidate. The BJP lost both and more importantly Gorakhpur which the BJP had retained since its advent in 1989. Simultaneously it contested against Lalu Yadav’s RJD in Araria Bihar and failed to defeat the son of RJD veteran now dead, Mohammad Taslimuddin.

Another four parliamentary bye elections were held in May, 2018 three of which, namely Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, Bhandra-Gondiya in Maharashtra and also Palghar in Maharashtra were held in 2014 by the BJP. The Nagaland seat was anyway out of reckoning for the BJP on its own. The BJP was defeated by RLD candidate Tabassum Husain, duly supported by the SP and BSP and heralding the firming of UP Gathbandhan. Similarly it lost Bhandara to the NCP in Maharashtra while retaining Palghar. Also in May Karnataka assembly elections were held and though the BJP got more seats than the Congress the coming together of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular held the BJP at bay much to its chagrin.

Then in November/December, 2018 elections were held to five state assemblies, namely Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, as also Mizoram and Telangana. The BJP was not in the picture anyway in the last two but had sitting governments in the first three and lost all three to the Congress and both MP and Chhattisgarh ended the BJP’s a decade and half rule along with a virtual wipeout of the party in this tribal state.

Now the point is if the BJP has continued to face defeats in these crucial elections one after the other how come the voter suddenly decided to give the kind of mandate the Exit polls are predicting. But then Modi says with pride, “Modi hai to Mumkin hai (meaning anything is possible with Modi) only to add with ready help of the Election Commission and the electronic voting machines (EVM). And are the exit pollsters privy to this?

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