Peasant Kishor’s Comment, ‘ Brand Modi in Decline’ Brought Varied Arguments amongst Political Analysts

Bhubaneswar: As the fifth phase of voting takes place some people believe that this election has completely turned and others think the BJP is still holding on to its poise. As these are only speculation, none of these are completely sure. Many interesting theories are coming forward from different analysts and apologists with different opinions. Prasant Kishor has spoken in one of his interviews about the brand Modi is in a decline mode. This comment has churned many critical views from different spheres.

These two different arguments of the election turning its wave to the other one is BJP holding its ground. This election is a highly localized election and the brand Modi was seen as a national brand from 2014. However, the absence of a national issue is highly resonated. The election has become localized and that opened up spaces that many assume would not have. Therefore the election has turned what many have thought it as a done deal for the BJP and the Prime minister when the campaign began.

The amount of energy and effort the prime minister has put in speaks for itself. There is nothing unusual about this election campaign and the earlier ones. This has been his standard operating procedure and as far as the election is concerned there is no fundamental change. This is a very long-drawn election conducted in seven phases. There are pauses in between so all kinds of theories have been floated and speculations happen. But there is nonsuch significant shift in this election.

Politics is all about power, those who are out of power, particularly the left and the Lutyens Delhi don’t like Modi, which is the reason they use all kinds of abusive language. People from across the country are making extremist comments, it’s free for all to put forth their opinions via any medium or form they like. The popularity of the Modi brand is shown by the excitement of the people during his political rallies. Prasant Kishor made a genetic remark about the election, brand Modi and the opposition, which has some realism in it because he is an expert who talks to people on the ground. But the question is what the opposition is standing for. This is not as much a show for Narendra Modi as the ability of the opposition to stand up and tell the people that they are confident enough to fight it out for issues that they raise.

The shift of votes is more important in UP than the Maharashtra and Bihar. Cracks have appeared in the Hindu vote banks in UP from the first phase itself. Certain dissenting voices were starting from the first phase and the rain being the Rajputs mostly sat at home saying if not voting for the BJP then we would not vote for any other. Dalits are divided into two sections one says we are not going to vote for BJP because of quota and changes in the constitution, and the other section is the Labharati section. Generally, in a family the women will vote for Narendra Modi and the men will go against Modi. The muslins decided to support the alliance come what may. The extremely backward castes and the other backward castes have been given due representation by Akhilesh Yadav in the ticket distribution. But BJP still has the edge in UP.

The Modi brand is on decline comment has no base to it because looking at his social media numbers, they are as strong as ever before. As far as TRPs are concerned they are very much questionable. The nature of social media has changed. Earlier the social media engagement campaign was largely through interactive mediums like Twitter and Facebook which are measurable. Today the election measures are through private, person-to-person social media, WhatsApp groups and other private messaging mediums. So it is difficult to judge whether the Modi brand is going up or down. Talking about his engagement in rallies, interviews and campaigning, he has not let go of any momentum.

In terms of any data analysis, the fundamental nature of the data is uncertain. Elections are the process by which you take the uncertainty of lives and India is a country of diversity, dearth, uncertainty and precarity of lives are covered over by the election results. We make short-term certainty out of our hopes for people and agendas to talk about. The people are the real opposition here. So when looking at the gatherings, the mass crowd in the rallies of the prime minister, it doesn’t indicate that the brand Modi is declining, it is as strong as it has to be.

Having mentioned that is the view of some analysts the  BJP is spiking the ground-level BJP itself. There are organisational issues in any part of the UP. In some pockets, there is rebellion within the Sangathan of the BJP. The reason is the outsider factor, that the new people have been added to the party and the loyal old workers are sidelined.

Moreover, the brand Modi is still a huge political band, the prime minister has gained enormous popularity, and so on. For the sudden decline of brand Modi and the BJP government, there is a need for the 1977 election. This is nowhere near that, neither visibly, nor palpably. There is no mass rage, no unpopularity. The prime minister is a dominant political brand.