Lok Sabha Election 2024: Battle of Narratives

By the sixth phase of polling, it became evident that the NDA would certainly form the government.
Lok Sabha Election 2024: Battle of Narratives
Lok Sabha Election 2024: Battle of Narratives

As the General Election 2024 reaches its home stretch, with barely a week until the last phase of polling, the battle of narratives has intensified dramatically. An ordinary road accident has unexpectedly become the center of a media frenzy.

In the contest between the ‘PK club’ and ‘YY associations’, the Pune Porsche road accident has left even the most conservative media watchers bewildered, scratching their heads, and asking the question of all questions: what the hell is going on?

By the sixth phase of polling, it became evident that the NDA would certainly form the government. Despite the fact that both the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal popularity have waned, the battle of narratives was in full swing.

Prashant Kishore, the master strategist of Indian politics who has handled almost all the major parties in India except Congress, has been running a personal agenda to belittle Congress and Rahul Gandhi. For months, he has been setting a narrative that Congress and Rahul Gandhi are not taken seriously by the voters, playing into the hands of the BJP.

After a series of media interviews that caught the attention of political observers, Prashant Kishore set the narrative of a likely BJP victory, suggesting that the number of seats would remain more or less the same. The mainstream media, predictably, upheld this narrative, forming the ‘PK Club’ and paving the way for a smooth sailing for the NDA.

An alternative narrative was set by YouTube-based channels, which collectively have a significant viewership but evidently anti BJP. These channels supported the narrative set by renowned election analyst Yogendra Yadav.

Yogendra Yadav contended that the election, instead of being a one-sided race, had become highly competitive, pushing the BJP on the defensive. Known for his role in the opposition camp and his participation in Rahul Gandhi’s Naya Yatra, Yadav’s analysis suggested a shift in the electoral dynamics but accepting NDA victory.

As public opinion began to split along narrative lines, the Pune Porsche incident was propelled to the forefront by Godi media, which covered it incessantly for four days, treating it as the country’s most significant event.

Meanwhile, a bizarre twist occurred with the Pune Porsche road accident, where a wealthy individual driving a luxury car killed two people. The accident itself was tragic but not unusual. What was bizarre was the media’s intense focus on it for five consecutive days, with multiple shows and stories on every channel, including Arnab Goswami’s.

This excessive coverage raised questions. Why was a relatively common news story given so much hype? Major issues like the Manipur crisis and the Farmer’s agitation did not receive similar attention. It was evident that, at someone’s behest, the media space was being filled with the Pune incident.

It appeared that the ruling party orchestrated this media circus, perhaps to divert attention from Arvind Kejriwal and impact metro voters in Mumbai and Delhi, which were voting that week.

Thus the battle of narratives continued, although it became evident that the NDA had won this battle. The results on June 4 are expected to confirm that the NDA would easily cross the majority mark to form the government, with a high likelihood that the BJP would also secure a significant number of seats.

This election has been peculiar, with no single central narrative but a series of artificial ones. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led this effort from the beginning, using unparliamentary words and statements unprecedented for an Indian Prime Minister.

But, as Prashant Kishore pointed out, numbers matter in a democracy. Akshay Kumar’s infamous interview with Modi was seen by 15 million people. In the end, numbers are what count, and the BJP and NDA are winning this numbers game.

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