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He may or may not win. Why are we feting Modi already?

December 18, 2012 22:10 IST

Urvish Kothari wonders why the political experts who had earlier expressed doubts about whether Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will return to power have suddenly started assuming that his victory is a foregone conclusion

Consistency is the virtue of fools, said the wise. But political analysts are anything but fools as we all know by now.

Even before the first vote was cast in the Gujarat election, there was near unanimity among experts that this election lacks an emotive issue, that Modi is on the shakiest pitch ever this time, that the Keshubhai Patel factor will spoil crucial votes of the Bharatiya Janata Party, that there will be heavy voting along caste lines, that Keshubhai was the second-highest crowd puller and so on.
After two phases of record-breaking voter turnout, a new unanimity has dawned in the expert fraternity. Two days before the results, they have almost declared Modi victorious by a heavy margin.

Their argument is that the vote of Gujarat is for Progress (with a capital P). Now they think Modi has benefited immensely from factors like Gujarat's pride and the projection of himself as a victim of a vicious campaign that ultimately wants to malign Gujarat.

These explanations are obvious, tried and tasted and were thought to be nearly obsolete this time. Hardly any analysis is needed to produce these findings.
The only point here is -- is it not a bit premature to marshal reasons of Modi's projected thumping victory as the results are yet to be declared? Why are experts summarily ignoring past records of the (un)reliability of exit polls? Why the rush to hail Modi?
Is it their gut feeling, careful calculation or just sycophancy?

Urvish Kothari