No Modi Wave
Written by Dr. Seshadri Kumar, 17 May, 2014
Copyright © Dr. Seshadri Kumar. All Rights Reserved.
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This article belongs to the emerging science of political meteorology – about people-driven waves and tsunamis, winds of change, changing political currents, shifting social tectonics, and other phenomena in the political weather of a nation.
In particular, political meteorologists seem to be deeply divided on a recent phenomenon, the “Modi wave.” Eminent political meteorologists belonging to all Indian political parties other than the BJP and its allies deny the existence of this phenomenon.
This article tries to examine the statements of prominent political meteorologists and definitively establish whether the Modi wave is a fact or an error of terminology.
Examination of The Various Claims
Below I reproduce statements from news reports in the months leading to the election by prominent political meteorologists. The statements are verbatim quotes from news reports, and the actual articles are provided as embedded links.
Shankarsinh Vaghela, Gujarat Congress leader and candidate from Sabarkantha, April 8, 2014
“There is no Modi wave. The people have realised that they have been cheated. The Congress is going to better its tally in 2014 from its performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. It going to bag more seats than the BJP.”
Result: BJP wins all 26 seats in Gujarat; Vaghela loses by 84,455 votes.
Tarun Gogoi, Congress Chief Minister of Assam, April 7, 2014
"There is no Modi magic, but Tarun Gogoi magic in Assam. Earlier, I have said we'll win ten seats, but now I am sure Congress will get more than that," he told reporters after casting his vote here. "The so-called Modi wave is the creation of private electronic media channels, but the Congress wave is there in the fields, plains and hills of Assam," Gogoi said.
Result: BJP wins 7 out of 14 seats in Assam; Congress wins only 3. Gogoi resigns as CM taking moral responsibility, and admits that “Modi factor” did influence results.
V. Balakrishnan, AAP Candidate, Bangalore Central, April 6, 2014
Balakrishnan said there was an "anti-Congress wave" which can be filled in by any party but no Modi wave.
Result: Balakrishnan finished in 3rd place, losing to PC Mohan of the BJP by 517,261 votes. The Aam Aadmi Party won just 4 seats in the country, while the BJP won 282 seats.
Prithviraj Chavan, Congress Chief Minister of Maharashtra, April 8, 2014
Asserting that there was no ‘Modi wave’, he said, “I have been touring the entire Vidarbha region but have not experienced this.
Result: BJP/Shivsena combine wins ALL 10 Vidarbha seats by big margins.
a) Akola: BJP wins by 2,03,116 votes
b) Amaravati: Shivsena wins by 1,37,932 votes
c) Bhandara-Gondia: BJP wins by 1,49,254 votes (Praful Patel loses)
d) Buldhana: Shivsena wins by 1,59,579 votes
e) Chandrapur: BJP wins by 2,36,269 votes
f) Gadchiroli-Chimur: BJP wins by 2,38,870 votes
g) Nagpur: BJP wins by 2,84,828 votes (Gadkari wins)
h) Ramtek: Shivsena wins by 1,75,791 votes
i) Yavatmal-Washik: Shivsena wins by 93,816 votes
j) Wardha: BJP wins by 2,15,783 votes (Sagar Meghe loses)
Kamal Nath, Union Minister and Candidate from Chhindwara, MP, April 7, 2014
Result: BJP wins 27 out of 29 seats in MP.
SM Krishna, Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka CM, April 2, 2014
“We have seen those (Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi) waves. They were natural waves which emanated from the hearts of people … but here the wave which has been created by vested interests is only to be talked and written about, but on the ground we do not see any wave (of Modi)”
Result: BJP wins 17 out of 28 seats in Karnataka
Sanjay Singh, AAP National Spokesman, April 2, 2014
"Our main fight in UP is with the BJP," he said. "There is no Modi wave in the country. It is a 'gussa ka wave' (against the Congress)."
Result: BJP wins 71 out of 80 seats in UP, AAP wins none.
"If you have a wave going on, why should there be a so much of search for a safe constituency and that the candidate will fight only from Varanasi...," senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told a meet-the-press programme organised by the Ernakulam Press Club here.
Result: Narendra Modi wins both seats: Vadodara by a record 5,70,128 votes and Varanasi by 3,71,784 votes.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Senior Congress Leader and Candidate from Lucknow, April 3, 2014
Claiming that Congress would win more seats in UP as compared to 2009 parliamentary polls, Joshi said there was no Modi wave in the country. She also predicted the party's win in both Allahabad city and Phulpur parliamentary constituencies and said the party candidates- Nand Gopal Gupta 'Nandi' and Mohd Kaif are young and popular among masses.
Result: Congress wins only 2 seats in UP. Nand Gopal Gupta loses Allahabad (places 4th) to BJP’s Shyama Charan Gupta by 2,11,319 votes. Mohammad Kaif loses Phulpur (places 4th) to BJP’s Keshav Prasad Maurya by 4,45,437 votes. And Rita Bahuguna Joshi herself loses Lucknow to Rajnath Singh of the BJP by 2,72,749 votes.
Hemlata Mohan, AJSU Candidate, Dhanbad, April 8, 2014
No, I don't think, there is no such wave. I am meeting people and I could not comprehend it as yet. Yes, people are eager for a change, a positive change that works, but no such waves are around.
Result: BJP wins 12 out of 14 LS seats in Jharkhand. Hemlata Mohan of the AJSU finishes 6th in Dhanbad, 522,214 votes behind Pashupati Nath Singh of the BJP.
Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, March 31, 2004
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday dismissed as "mere hoax" assertions by BJP that there was a Modi wave in the country.
"There is no Modi wave in the country, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir...," he told a public rally in Kalakote belt of Rajouri district.
Result: BJP wins 3 seats in J&K out of 6, and its ally the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) wins the other 3. The National Conference does not win a single seat.
Mayawati, Chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party, April 30, 2014
There is no Modi wave in the country, BSP chief Mayawati said here Wednesday, accusing the media of creating a hype in favour of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Mayawati said she had been travelling to many parts of the state but found "very little" support for Modi.
Result: BJP wins 71 seats out of 80 in Uttar Pradesh; the BSP wins 0.
Kapil Sibal, Congress Union Minister, March 21, 2014
Speaking to mediapersons after filing his papers, Sibal said, “I can just say that there is no Modi wave in Chandni Chowk. The people of Chandni Chowk believe in the Congress. The Opposition party is out of Chandni Chowk.”
Result: Kapil Sibal finishes 3rd in Chandni Chowk, losing by 2,61,732 votes to Dr. Harshvardhan of the BJP and behind Ashutosh of the AAP (2nd place) by 1,25,412 votes.
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, RJD MP, April 30, 2014
There is no Modi “wave” in Bihar. The Modi wave is a media creation. Possibly the BJP has spent thousands of crores to generate publicity in popular media, including foreign media... At least in Bihar, I can say, there is no wave.
Result: The BJP and its pre-poll allies Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas Paswan) and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party won 31 out of 40 seats in Bihar. The RJD of Lalu Prasad Yadav could only win 4 seats. Additionally, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh lost his seat of Vaishali to Rama Kishore Singh of the BJP by a margin of 99,267 votes.
Nitish Kumar, Leader of the Janata Dal (United) and CM of Bihar, January 31, 2014
There is no such wave. What wave? I can't see a wave, but yes, I see Modi's hoardings. But people are not putting up the hoardings, BJP is doing it. You are either paying for the hoardings or they are being put up free of cost. I can see media coverage.
Result: The BJP and its allies won 31 out of 40 seats in Bihar. Nitish’s JD (U) could only manage to win 2 seats. As a result, Nitish Kumar resigned today as CM of Bihar.
Sushil Kumar Shinde, Congress Party, Union Home Minister, April 15, 2014
"There is no Modi wave in the country. In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had launched 'India Shining' campaign. But it was all false. Now, a few electronic channels are claiming that there is a Modi wave, which is totally wrong," Shinde told reporters here.
Result: The BJP-Shivsena-Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana alliance swept Maharashtra, winning 42 out of 48 seats. The Congress Party won only 2 seats in the state, and its alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party, won only 4 seats. Sushil Shinde himself lost in his bastion of Solapur to Sharad Bansode of the BJP by 1,49,674 votes.
Siddaramaiah, Congress Chief Minister of Karnataka, March 11, 2014
Mr. Siddaramaiah, who spoke at length to The Hindu here on Monday, said, “It is improper to state that there is a Narendra Modi wave across the country, including Karnataka. I would like to say that there is no such wave, and definitely not in Karnataka. The Congress will get 18-20 seats, as people have responded and reciprocated well to the government. We have been successful in winning two Lok Sabha by-elections (Mandya and Bangalore Rural), and this trend will continue in the general elections.” He said that the reference to the Narendra Modi wave was only in the media. “My assessment is that the National Democratic Alliance will not be successful in forming a government at the Centre,” he said and added that the chances of a “fractured mandate” were high.
Result: The BJP, in spite of all the problems that caused the disintegration of their state government after the corruption allegations against BS Yeddyurappa and his subsequent resignation, and their subsequent loss in the state elections, managed to come back in Karnataka, winning 17 of 28 seats. The Congress only managed to win 9 seats.
Ajay Maken, Congress General Secretary, April 10, 2014
"People who voted for Arvind Kejriwal were traditional Congress voters who will vote for us this time. We will win all seven seats. There is no Modi wave," Maken told reporters.
Result: All 7 seats in Delhi were won by the BJP. Ajay Maken himself lost his seat in New Delhi, finishing 3rd, by polling 2,70,457 votes fewer than the winner, Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP, and 1,07,749 votes fewer than Ashish Khetan of the AAP, who finished 2nd.
Ajit Singh, Rashtriya Lok Dal Chief, February 10, 2014
“There is no wave; it is a euphemism that has caught the media's fascination. The real issue is different: Thanks to telecommunication and free flow of information, the voter today is informed.”
“Aspirations in the UP heartland are rising but the opportunities have dried up. This has led to frustration, and also anger against the incumbent powers. The SP government in Uttar Pradesh and the UPA at the Centre face this sentiment.”
“The hype that Modi has created is merely a manifestation of this antiestablishment frustration. But he must realise that rallies are only a part of electoral fights and do not always reflect the final results. Your grassroots workers, your ideology and coalitions matter.”
Result: The BJP won 71 seats in Uttar Pradesh; along with its ally, the Apna Dal, their alliance won 73 out of 80 seats. Ajit Singh’s RLD did not win ANY seats in the Lok Sabha. Ajit Singh himself lost in Baghpat by placing 3rd, behind Dr. Satyapal Singh of the BJP and Ghulam Mohammed of the Samajwadi Party, by polling 2,23,959 votes fewer than Dr. Satyapal Singh and 14,093 votes fewer than Ghulam Mohammed.
Arvind Kejriwal, Convenor, Aam Aadmi Party, March 13, 2014
"Some people are saying that there is Modi wave in the country. I travelled to many parts of the country and went to many states, but could not see any such wave. If there is any public wave in the country, it's not for Modi. It's the wave of anger against the administration," Kejriwal told media here.
Result: BJP wins 282 seats and an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, and 336 seats with its allies in the NDA. AAP wins 4 seats total, all of them in Punjab, and none in Delhi, where they had won 28 seats in the state elections and held the reins of government.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Former Union Congress Minister, October 31, 2013
"There is no Modi wave -- it is media created wave -- it is no public wave," the Health minister told reporters here during his two day visit to border belts of Jammu.
Result: In Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress did not win a single seat. In addition, he lost his seat in Udhampur to Dr. Jitendra Singh of the BJP by 60,976 votes.
Sriprakash Jaiswal, Union Coal Minister, March 18, 2014
Jaiswal told ET in an interview that the Modi wave is nothing more than "artificially-created hype". He attributed the phenomenon to advertising campaigns paid for by top industrialists supporting the BJP PM bid.
Result: Jaiswal fell along with most of his colleagues in the great UP massacre, losing to the BJP veteran Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi in Kanpur by 2,22,946 votes.
Sachin Pilot, Congress MP, Union Minister of Corporate Affairs, March 20, 2014
Hesaid that there was no Modi wave in the hinterland. He said, "look atelections results of Karnataka, HP, Uttarakhand...all these places he went tocampaign too. Certainly there's a hype being created in the media about a wavethat's not there but to my mind Congress is very well placed."
Result: In Karnataka, the BJP won 17 of 28 seats against all expectations; in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP swept all 4 seats; and in Uttarakhand, the BJP again swept, winning all 5 seats. As for Pilot, he lost in Ajmer to Sanwar Lal Jat by 1,71,983 votes.
Looking at all these claims and results, we come to one conclusion. The eminent political meteorologists were all right. This was not a Modi wave, but not in the way they meant it.
A simple wave could not explain what has happened in this election:
1. The BJP won 282 seats, more than it ever has won before.
2. It was the first single-party majority election result since 1984.
3. The BJP completely wiped out other parties in several states – Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Delhi; and this is not counting states with single seats like Chandigarh or Diu and Daman.
4. In many states that the NDA did not totally sweep, it often dominated completely – as in the case of Maharashtra (42/48), Chhatisgarh (10/11), Haryana (7/10), Jharkhand (12/14), and Madhya Pradesh (27/29).
5. The only major states where the NDA did not have an impact were Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, and Odisha.
6. Because of the strong performance of the NDA, many important parties were left with no seats in the Lok Sabha. Prominent among these are the Bahujan Samaj Party, the National Conference, the DMK, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, MNS, and Asom Gana Parishad.
7. The difference in vote share between the BJP and its closest competitor, the Congress Party, was a whopping 12%.
8. The Congress party dropped to its lowest-ever total of 44 seats.
Given all this, what happened was not a Modi wave. It was a Modi tsunami, which destroyed all opposing parties in its wake.