On Day 1 when I heard about demonetization, I pointed out that Modi did not need to take this risk as far as 2019 is concerned. He was coasting to victory. Why suddenly put everything on the line? But Modi refuses to play for just 2019. He wants BJP to win all future elections, not just 2019. As he used to say, BJP aspires to own India’s 21st century. And after seeing the courage with which Modi makes decisions, the smartest thing to do is to take every single world from Modi seriously. Remember people, he used to talk about Mission 272….it is only on May 16, 2014 that we found out that Mission 272 really means Mission 272.
He spoke about Congress mukt Bharat. Look at the map of India and see how far that project has progressed. Every time we think he is only saying something for effect, we find out he wasn’t joking at all.
He told us that there would be tough decisions on black money. He wasn’t joking at all.
Well, he told us he wanted BJP to dominate this century. And he is playing exactly for that. He refuses to play for less.
If Modi wins this round, BJP will basically become unstoppable. So, keep in mind that harping on obvious public irritation over long lines at banks and ATMs is basically the only card the Opposition can play. Everything is at stake right now…if the lines at the ATMs dry up over the next 10 days, the entire nation is in BJP’s pocket for a generation. If there is a PR disaster, Modi is finished. This would explain the intense warlike situation in TV studios instigating the public against the immediate woes at the bank teller.
It’s time to take stock of the situation. The way I look at this is in terms of the topline and the bottomline. The topline is the total revenue…i.e., the sum total of all sales. You subtract your expenses and you get the bottomline … i.e., money left at the end of the day. That’s the profit margin.
So let us take a look at the “topline” of votes here. This is the entire group of people who approved of the decision at 8 pm on Nov 8.
Now I am no psephologist and I don’t have data, but my guesstimate is that almost everyone was in favor of the decision initially…opposition was in extreme panic. My guess for the topline therefore would be around 95%. The only people left out are 5% consisting of maniacal Modi haters. These are the people who will reflexively suffocate themselves to death if Modi says tomorrow that breathing is good. Forget them. The topline is 95%…these are the people who approve of the decision in principle.
We now have to look at the “expenses”. These are the people who like the decision but will be put off by the failure of the banking system to meet the extreme level of demand.
These are the people for whom the next 2-3 weeks would bring such extreme hardship that they will never forgive Modi. I find it hard to believe that the number of people who will become implacably angry by these 3 weeks can possibly cross 50% of the population (I am quite sure the real number is much less…probably around 10-15%). But lets go with as much as 50%! For the BJP, the good news is that their topline is massive, giving them a LOT of cushion. What does this leave? This leaves behind 45% of people who are appreciating the move AND are convinced that Modi has struck a significant blow against black money.
The bad news for the media is that 45% is HUGE! If 45% of the population is now enthralled by the leader who destroyed black money, Modi’s victory is beyond certain. Especially considering that the Opposition is united against demonetization. It means that the anti-demonetization voter has many choices. The pro-demonetization voter has only one.
So, I am predicting for the BJP a bottomline of at least 45%.
This doesn’t mean that 45% of people will vote for BJP. Of course not. For example, the topline of 95% contains M voters, who will never go for Modi. This only means that close to half of the population in this country is convinced that Modi is the man who can destroy black money. This is tremendous, because the choices on the other side are divided among many candidates. If this gambit is successful, Modi’s battle today will become part of folklore of the free world. Remember how Maggie Thatcher decimated the unions and how Reagan destroyed the air traffic controllers.
Lastly, I would like to point out something the media is missing. Even the Jaggi, writing in Firstpost today, said that Modi is making the mistake of preaching scriptures to the hungry. Point taken. But Mr. Jaggi, you are forgetting something else Modi is harping on. He is not just preaching scriptures. He is harping on jealousy. He is pitting the poor against the rich. As someone who believes in free markets, I absolutely abhor this portrayal of the “rich” as inherently evil…but Modi is a politician. He has to do what he has to do. Hunger might be a huge motivation, but jealousy can be just as strong an emotion. Perhaps even stronger. Listen to Modi’s ecstatic crowds roaring in Goa, Belgaum and Ghazipur. People don’t like to be hungry. But tell them that going hungry will turn the rich into beggars and you will get a different reaction. That is how leftists have been winning elections : poor people in India were asked to go hungry for 70 years just to make sure no one else got rich. Jealousy works. The class war works. Don’t underestimate it.