Saturday, February 7, 2015

Media Monsters & Delhi Election

Buried truth in TV Cacophony

The English TV channels blaring out exit polls predictions are not even trying to hide their gloat. All media houses are very satisfied with the result exit-polls predict and have finally got a moment to boast of ‘I told you so’.
The anchors suddenly appear all puffed up and are competing with each other to portray themselves as modern prophets, Political pundits and public opinion moulders. They are able to hide all the welts they had received in the last elections with this one exit poll prediction. It is as if, the combined results of the past few elections are reversed with this single one.
Some of the conclusions being dished out to unsuspecting and worried BJP supporters are
1.       This is a defeat for BJP and/or Modi ji
2.       Middle class has deserted BJP
3.       BJP’s development promise has fallen apart
4.       AAP promise of development has more takers
5.       BJP’s fortune has dwindled.
Most TV anchors reach that position by influence and political leveraging. I believe strongly in their lack of intelligence. This is a breed that makes the practitioners of the world’s oldest trade look honourable in every aspect. Let me tell what they are not talking about
The 2013 election result vs 2014 exit-poll predictions for Delhi is given here
Vote % 2013
Vote % 2015 Exit poll
*will not add to 100% due to rounding off of decimals
First of all, the difference between vote shares of BJP and AAP is a mere 2%. This has to be kept in mind. 
It is evident that BJP has added 7% additional votes to its last year’s share. The marginal increase in turnout alone cannot explain the 7% increase in total vote share.
AAP vote share has taken a dramatic increase, by about 13% and there is a corresponding decrease in Congress vote share. There is an argument that the BJP vote share was 46% in Lok Sabha election and hence in this election their vote share has come down. This is highly speculative as the vote share is determined by different sets of reasons for these two elections. Hence the fair comparison would be the 2013 Assembly election which is also not too very distant in the past.
The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is BJP has been able to shore up more support than before. It can only mean one thing. The number of people who want BJP to come to power in 2015 is more than the number of year 2013. This is in spite of or due to utterances of Sakshi Maharaj, Sadhvis etc which were shown to be abhorrent by the media.  To attribute this increase to any particular reason would be at best speculative. To describe the increase in vote share as a loss caused by Sakshi Maharaj is sheer vitiated propaganda.
The vote share of AAP has also increased between 2013 and 2015 substantially. In the 2013 election Congress had obtained 53% of the Muslim votes while in 2015, according to one poll, AAP has received 71% of Muslim votes. One thing that can be certainly said is that Muslims have moved from Congress camp to AAP camp decisively. The Muslim shift alone should cover about 5-6% of increase in AAP vote share, more than half of the total.
The other half of increase for AAP could most probably by strategic voting by anti-BJP voters.
In summary, BJP has managed to wrest 8% from other parties on the development platform, at least half of AAP vote gain has come from polarized votes. In this respect the support of MIM and the call from Imam Bukhari cannot be discounted. There have been many explicit calls from Muslims to fellow Muslims to vote for AAP. In the case of Bukhari, the call to vote for AAP would surely have influenced some to vote for AAP and the refusal from AAP stemmed the Hindu reaction. AAP seems to have gained the best of the polarization. Had Hindus polarized, AAP would have been history.
The media has played second fiddle to AAP, which could have probably moved another couple of % of voters into believing AAP is a better option.
So revisiting the questions
1.       This is a defeat for BJP and/or Modi ji
2.       Middle class has deserted BJP
3.       BJP’s development promise has fallen apart
4.       AAP promise of development has more takers
5.       BJP’s fortune has dwindled.
This is surely not a defeat for BJP or Modi ji. BJP has been able to convince more people on local issues. Whether Kiran Bedi’s induction into BJP contributed positively or negatively remains shrouded in theories, the fact remains BJP has gained voter confidence in comparison to 2013 election.
To say middle class has deserted BJP stems from the false argument that BJP has fared badly in this election compared to 2013. If middle class has deserted BJP has lower class support increased by 8 + x %, (x = the % of middle class desertion)?
To say that BJP’s development promise has fallen apart also goes against the gains BJP has made in Assembly election.
To say AAP promise of development has impressed more would be difficult to swallow as the bulk of support has come from Muslims. We do not know about the support of Christians which was earlier Congress monopoly. Nor is there any reason to believe that AAP’s promise of development has captive audience only amongst Muslims.  
The Media has all the reason to t(h)rash BJP as BJP is not giving any lift or leverage to media brokers unlike the earlier government. Media is projecting false reasons to demoralize BJP supporters but the facts remain that BJP has done better and more people have put their trust in BJP this time than the last election.
The rise of AAP is reasonably explained by religious polarization of Muslim vote, along with strategic voting of other groups who are anti-BJP all egged on by partisan and ideologically committed Media.
Having said that, under the adverse circumstances, many of them were creations of a defunct government that undermined our nation in every possible way.
One of the outcomes of this election is the invisible hand of MIM in the operations of the Delhi Government. Now that we have seen the workings of Telengana, it is not difficult to guess Delhi’s. The naïve Hindus have allowed a regime that is installed by party with communal and divisive goals. The divisive and polarizing politics of AAP will make Delhi a WB in coming days. The communal agenda of AAP backers will be brought to the fore. And that will bring the critical tilting edge to BJP. Until then, Delhi will suffer the ill effects of demographic reality that cannot be wished away.
It is not reason that won but emotions have overwhelmed reason. To discuss political outcome as if it is a scientific experiment with immutable laws only shows that the TV anchors do not have the brains to handle complex ideas. And except the obvious suspect of polarization, the Media morons were pointing fingers at every other imaginary culprits, for identifying the correct culprit at this point of time would tantamount to self-indictment.

If I were to learn lessons from Delhi elections, they would be.
1.       BJP has done better than before, and that is a confirmation that BJP policies find more acceptance
2.       BJP losing this time is mainly due to a communal game played by AAP with the help of MIM, a game of minority appeasement and communal politics
3.       Muslim have not responded to ‘development’ plank as much as to ‘Islam’ plank
4.       AAP win is mainly due to its takeover of vote banks from the earlier owner, Congress
The big question remains if BJP had underplayed polarization card? Was polarizing Hindus the fitting reply to MIM’s plan? Only time will tell.  

Other questions that defy answers are

a. What portion of 8% increase of support to BJP is due to reaction to Bukhari/MIM?
b. Had BJP made efforts to polarize would it have brought another 1.5% net increase which could have swung the result in opposite way?

If minority polarization scripted this win for AAP right under Hindu nose, Media house provided the cover for the crime to be committed. That is the story of Delhi Election for me.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

AAP - Sorelian Myth Makers

 Anarchic objectives through Sorel Myths

Within a span of 15 months Delhi sees another colossal waste of money as it goes into election once again. The 2015 one appears to be the mother of all elections given the high pitch campaigning and the cacophony emanating from the capital. 

The reason for the second election is squarely on AAP which frittered away its chance to provide Governance and establish credibility amongst voters. However they blamed BJP for not forming government with the help of their arch rival Congress. It seemed irrational to put the blame on BJP but there is a method in the madness of AAP’s diabolic working.  

During the Anna movement, incipient AAP, or the embryonic AAP declared in one voice that it will not join politics and stay apolitical but soon Team Anna reversed that decision. Post separation from Anna, VK Singh and Bedi, the left over Team Anna coalesced as AAP, with Arvind Kejriwal leading the pack. It was evident from the beginning that this was a party that painted the establishment black and explicitly painting themselves the opposite. From the beginning AAP campaigning is based on the paradigm of ‘I am right and you are wrong and the proof is, I am right’ type of circular logic escaping people like me. It cleaved the society into two convenient sections, ‘We’ the good and ‘They’ the bad. While most of us know that such ‘Black and White’ classification is incorrect representation of reality, AAP knowingly employs such divisive tactics as it serves the purpose of easy consumption of such an idea by its gullible followers. The party arrogantly overlooks the inherent flaws of such an argument yet seems to succeed on the ground. This needs explanation and this blog tries to do just that.   

It all looks very confusing in the beginning for these are the guys who are intelligent or at least clever and talk of integrity and honesty but their actions often seem to be antagonistic to their image. On TVs they appear composed and talk of tolerance and democracy and the next moment and they also throw stones at political opponents. They talk about human rights and fuel xenophobia at the same time. They don the image of Gandhian and support violent Marxist elements. The leader claims to have turned a believer at convenient political moment. AAP claims to be secular yet turns vassal to the rabid communal Bukharis. They speak of Nationalism and dividing the country. It is a never ending story of a successful psychopath who churns out new version of a convincing lie to those who want to believe in whatever crumbs they are throws at.

To understand AAP better, one needs to be conversant with George Sorel; for those who are not, here is a brief introduction to Sorel and AAP’s action conforming to his theory of myths.

George Sorel, a French philosopher who lived between 1822 and 1922 propounded the “theory of revolutionary syndicalism. His notion of the power of myth inspired Marxists and Fascists” – Wikipeida (Italics mine)

What is to be noted is the group that is inspired by Sorel. Very close to what many think AAP really is.

Sorel was a champion anti-Statist who extolled the virtue of using myths in achieving the ends. He advocated the role of ‘myth’ in ‘constituting and fomenting political activism’.

AAP has repeatedly and consistently made outrageous conspiratorial claims that are easy to believe in but impossible to prove or intellectually defend. The target audience are the simple minded and disgruntled votary groups where debate is an expensive mental exercise but slogans of hope, however unrealistic, bind them together.  And the purpose was to break the State, an anarchist ambition that AAP has always been accused of and to an extent conceded by its leader.

He (Sorel) ‘celebrated doctrine of social myth which alone gives life to social movements (approximate quotes from Mark Atliff)

There are numerous examples of AAP created myth that caught the imagination of public and media. In India, where outrage is the only criteria for coverage, myths were outrageous while being saleable making it attractive to TV houses selling their honor for TRP. The media actively participated in spreading the myth as widely as possible. AAP’s spends all its efforts to build and energize a social movement not by intelligent debate but by selling snake oil myths.

When Sisodia blared into a megaphone from within the Hospital, he created a myth of AAP being a sympathetic and people focused party. Once the emotions are aroused with a myth, it is difficult to undo it. After that particular rape, there have been many more that took place in Delhi, but there was no repeat of high decibel drama as the lie has been entrenched in the minds of people for good.

“A myth is compounded of images that are ‘warmly colored’, and affect men not as reason does, nor education of the will, nor the command of a superior, but as ferment of the soul which creates enthusiasm and incites to action, and if need be, to turbulence. Myths need have no historical reality; they direct our emotions mobilize our will, give purpose to all that we are and do and make.  

The quote seems to describe AAP politics prophetically.
One only has to do a rough calculation of money that is required to turn to reality the electoral promises being made by AAP to understand that there is no intent to keep those promises by AAP. But that does not matter. The imagery is being created to leave a deep favourable iimpression in the minds of the voters. The promises are ‘warmly coloured’, and is intended to create enthusiasm and turbulence.  The purpose of the promise is to create a myth which requires little mind flexing.

Myth, according to Sorel was “artificial combinations invented to give the appearance of reality to hopes that inspire men in their present activity”

There freebies that are promised are so unrealistic that any government that tries to implement will go broke multiple times. Greece is an example of the effect of perpetual freebies that broke the economy and the susceptibility of the disgruntled to fall victim to Socialistic myth. The power, water, library, CCTV and all other things paint an impossible to achieve state of harmony and tranquil that are promised only by Abrahamic religions in return to acceptance of their Gods as supreme. In that AAP tries to become a religion in political arena.  It does not matter that the myth is an atrocious lie; what matters is it stirs the hope in the hopeless today, for tomorrow will be presented another myth to alleviate the pains. And such a path leads to a socialistic anarchy, the objective of ideologies that believe in Sorelian myths.

Sorel’s theory continues to be attractive to the radical left by virtue of his intransigent call for an abrupt rupture with the political status quo, and his recourse to mobilizing myths as a means of galvanizing activist cadres as the potential ‘spark’ of revolution.

Here lies the crunch. AAP has always been masquerading as a democratic party yet there have been many instances when its actions appeared to have been Anarchistic or Naxal inspired. Sorelian myths historically inspired Marxists and Fascists that creates a breakdown of Law and Order, an Anarchist’s dream. AAP has cast aspersions on Police, Judiciary and Elected representatives and these aspersions and media, except the ones that saw a ‘revolutionary’, a Marxian accolade in Kejriwala. 
On the political front, the party spreads such blatant lies because they know that reason is not the weapon that gets political victory but Sorelian myth.  

Selling lies -Sorel Style

There are two things BJP should undertake to counter AAP. One, by explaining the larger picture to public, that AAP believes in creating myths, falsehood as a matter of political ideology to seize power as planned strategy. Two, by exploding the myth, not all of them but the most salient ones with catchy communication, thus, paying back AAP in the same coin. In other words, BJP should refuse to drawn into multiple myth-breaking wars but focus on those which it assesses to be won with cost-effectiveness and selectively attack the low-hanging fruits. 

Though I do not claim to have found a solution to counter the Sorelian myths being created by AAP, I am sure understanding the workings of AAP, many would be able to devise better strategies.