A flash back. During the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the then BJP-led government spent about Rs. 250 crores of tax-payers’ money on its “India Shining” programme, a large part of which amount went to private media companies in the form of advertisements etc. The mainstream media – both TV channels and newspapers – then predicted in the opinion polls, that the Vajpayee-led NDA would get about 340 seats. But the BJP-led alliance could get only about 180 seats thus making the prediction by the mainstream media, a complete untruth. On the other hand, the Left parties were predicted to get only 40 seats but they got 61 seats, in 2004.
“Sponsored” Opinion Polls
This time, just before the elections were to be announced for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Dr. Manmohan Singh government liberally disbursed hundreds of crores of rupees of tax-payers’ money towards full-page advertisements etc., to the mainstream media. Similar to 2004, the mainstream media is now predicting that the ruling Manmohan Singh-led UPA would get between 198 to 257 seats. The Left Parties are being predicted to get between 35 and 42 seats and lose about 25 seats. The Star News-Nielsen is so infatuated with Manmohan Singh government that its survey gave 24 seats to DMK in Tamil Nadu; and 30 seats to SP against 21 seats for BSP in Uttar Pradesh.
During the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, the media bosses were great lovers of the then prime minister Narasimha Rao and predicted that over 60% of the people wanted Narasimha Rao to be the prime minister again. The Congress Party lost the elections. In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the media bosses expressed their love for the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and propagated that 64% people wanted Vajpayee to be the prime minister again. The BJP-led NDA lost very badly in the elections. Now, the NDTV is propagating that 52% people want Dr. Manmohan Singh to be the prime minister again!
While playing on these numbers, the media companies are very cleverly not debating about the performance of the Manmohan Singh government during the last five years but instead trying to divert the debate on to the performance of some State governments especially that of Left-led governments in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. The attempt on the part of media through these opinion-exit polls, is clearly to influence the voters in favour of Congress-led UPA and against the CPM and the Left. In the process, the issues that are important for the debate on the Lok Sabha elections, are being blacked out by the media.
The Tainted Nuclear Deal
The “honest” Dr. Manmohan Singh government and some allies set a record of sorts in the parliamentary democracy, where he and his supporters ‘motivated” the Lok, Sabha MPs to vote for the Indo-US nuclear deal. Several MPs from all the so-called opposition NDA parties including BJP, Shiv Sena and Akali Dal voted for the Congress-led government or abstained from voting to help the nuclear deal worth lakhs of crores of rupees, passed in the Lok Sabha.
Communal Riots vs. Bomb Blasts
Over the years, the Congress governments both at the Centre and in States, have not made any attempts to contain the communal riots being perpetrated by the religious drunkards of our country. On the other hand, the bomb blasts have increased proportionately. Will the people vote for this utterly inefficient governance of Congress Party, for leading our country into “communal riots vs. bomb blasts” syndrome?
Besides, several questions about the 26/11 terrorist attacks and national security are not answered. How could so many barriers like the Navy, Coast Guard, intelligence agencies, police network etc., could be broken by the terrorists, remains a mystery. How could three top police officers could be killed at one spot, has not been explained to the people. ?
When the Left parties were pointing out from time to time about the anti-people economic policies of his government, prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, stated that the Left parties were resorting to “scare-mongering.” Are the pervading economic bankruptcy, job losses, unemployment, loot of peoples’ earnings and savings through the stock market, privatization of economic resources, suicides by farmers, urban and rural slums, poverty, malnutrition, high prices etc., are matters of “scare-mongering”? Do the people vote for this irresponsible and insensitive government of Dr. Manmohan Singh?
The media bosses are propagating that the Third Front has not declared its PM candidate, forgetting that Dr. Singh himself is a “nominated” prime minister and emerged from some bush after the 2004 elections.
Dr. Manmohan Singh remained a great lover of president Bush. But all Bush lovers were dumped into the dustbin by the people in Spain, Britain, Japan, Australia and several other countries; and Bush himself in America. Can the “sponsored opinion-exit polls” bail out Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Congress Party? Will dishing out untruth through media to influence voters become ‘satyameva jayate’? But as history a has amply proved the press has often to eat crow in small samples and at times has even resorted to cookology. In any case even the press council of India has much to say about these projections Ultimately the will of the people prevails.