The Writing on the Wall

Contrary to media hype, the facts on the ground don’t foretell a third term for Narendra Modi, writes DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM

We all know that media (the plural from of medium)is (or, are, if you please) there for carrying message in different print, audio and audiovisual format. In the natural scheme of things it is the message that has primacy over the medium. But as a perceptive observer has remarked, more often than not the “media becomes the message”. That is, the medium overtakes and overwhelms the message. I strongly suspect that this is what is happening in Gujarat today.

We have a recent example from Bihar. In two assembly elections the media said Laloo’s party was losing badly, but it won grandly. In the last election they thought his party was winning, but it lost.

Granted that a large member of Muslims who had their voter ID cards were deprived of the right to vote because their names were deleted from the voter rolls. Conceded that BJP activists (many of them known goons) were found forcing prospective Congress voters to “sell” their ID cards for a few days, so that they could effectively be prevented from going rear the booths. Many did oblige out of fear. Thus the vote was not wholly fair or fearless.

Still, we have reason to believe that the writing on the wall says BJP is on its way out. We are saying this on the basis of our intensive field work for a fortnight in Gujarat. Some of the reasons for our stance are based on the radical difference between the political environment of 2002 polls and that of 2007. Here is a sample:

2002 Polls

2007 Polls All this shows that BJP cannot form government in Gujarat except through more underhand tactics like deleting possible Congress supporters’ names from voters’ lists and “buying” of election ID cards as discussed above. g