Predicting the winner in the state elections of Thamizh Nadu is easier than formulating the pattern of media behaviour and psephologists. But, believe you me, there is an undeniable pattern to their behaviour.
They are a breed which surfaces every lustrum. Till then they keep providing ‘consultancy’, an amorphous rather a protean nomenclature which is fastened to any freelancing activity which takes advantage of knowledge and contacts for unimaginable gains. The gain is not for nothing, they monitor the trend of the voting masses. They ignore the non voting electorate and pitch on those who vote. Secondly they mingle to find out the aspirations of the voting types.
Aspirations being of two types, they do not inform that they segregate the economic aspirations from their social aspirations. Once this is segregated, they inform through various media that the whole electorate is after this or that SOCIAL ASPIRATION. This creates a bandwagon effect and coagulates further to the core the consultant created. Next he provides ‘consultation’ to a party to which he has been affiliated through ideology or remuneration. There he explains to the party think tank that there is a coagulating group which has aspirations for certain ECONOMIC ASPIRATIONS and unleashes it. That forms the manifesto of the party – a lure to hook the gullible voter.
Then there are those POSTULATES, which the clever ones formulate and propagate to the point of a cliche. E.g. ANTI-INCUMBENCY. – this is a standard piece of jargon which substitutes well when their predictions go wrong.
BANDWAGON EFFECT – this is one more jargon to the point of cliche, that it is a less sophisticated one and had been in use a lot longer than the previous one and probably heading towards retirement by the next lustrum!
MATHEMATICAL & STATISTICAL BS– when words fail, numbers are invoked to obfuscate facts. Facts are better countered by numbers than letters. If that fails, STATISTICS, which is alphanumeric is invoked, where they are sure that none would understand it and left wondering, as they believe that as they have not understood it, none can!
Psephologists are saprophytes, which live ON but not OFF!
These need the MEDIA.
Just as an army marches on its stomach, this one which used to live off the governmental newsprint and advertisement, lives ON ADVERTISEMENTS- the paid ones, not the governmental ones which are either statutory or bill based. The bill is a threat which a legislator could use against an interest group. The threat is that, the power of the day would make an Act, which might take the cream off, at one stroke.
The advertisers are companies mostly, who have a product or service, which are busy building a brand or staving off other companies from superseding their brand image. Therefore they fund movies which have greater viewership and cost more per telecast. They pay triple or quintuple the normal Advt charges and keep themselves afloat during the churning of the people who end up running the Govt. So Psephologists start by making pre-election polls and purvey the desired results by going to those areas which would return their expectations. Since Psephologists are creating a voting group they start PROMOTING their affiliate party. They don’t care about their credibility, as even if one gets it dead right on the numbers, people believe that they got it by fluke; and if they got it wrong, they could slime out with their jargon or statistics. The flak that might follow would not be comparable with the benefits they could gain through being “friendly” with parties and the media. Each one is a playing referee, rather a referee who has punted in favour of one of the teams in which he is the main, rather spot referee!
TREND OF PSEPHOLOGISTS AND THE MEDIA:
The clever know that elections are Marathons in terms of Time. To be in the right side of the proverb WELL BEGUN IS HALF DONE, would be a Trojan blunder of mistaking an army for a wooden horse. The game begins in the last ten days, before the polling day.
But the media and the riding Psephologists start the game early as they are the payees and don’t lose anything, whereas the political parties, who are the payers, by starting early might become burn outs, like Dr. Ramadoss and co. But the media and Psephologists have already taken out the fat of PMK.
Politicians decide only when a decision cannot be postponed any longer. So they wait to catch evolving trends, which they themselves could have triggered through deft deployment of the media and Psephologists.
After the burn outs come the NAIVE ENTHUSIASTS SANS IDEOLOGY. A person like VAIKO is capable, a good man and meaning well, but his belligerence is misplaced. He lacks the organisational skills to build a platform, consequently he needs a Vijayakanth and the Communists to provide him the base, which gets crowded and he gets lost.
The long players are the ADMK oops! AIADMK, which is in the form of Dravidian vehicle manned sorry womanned by a Brahmin and a Brahminical sympathiser, and the DMK. AIADMK has a form with a different substance, she did not make it that way, when Thamihzans voted for the putative goodness of MGR, the electorate approved of such a content-form contradiction . The next is the DMK, which is a platform which is being usurped by Stalin shooting over the shoulders of Dr. MK. Stalin has the pedigree but not the mettle of his father. People of Thamizhnadu don’t even remember that he was a state minister – the better part is that even the ruling party doesn’t talk of the decisions or opportunities squandered by Stalin as a minister!
But people know one thing that Dr. MK is being egged on by his family than out of any ambition to become CM once more. Maybe Dr. MK would want to see the back of Amma more than he wanting to become the CM.
Therefore the subliminal question nibbling at the thamizh brain is whether to Give one final chance to the saviour of the backward castes of TN or to extend the rule of a woman, who through her own making, has made herself a one woman army lumbering up and down the state. She believes that she is THE WINNER and wants to take all the credit for it, so it is not that there aren’t any second ring speakers but that she is loath to sharing credit with someone else. So no second rung leaders are empowered to campaign with gusto.
In this election melee, the advertisers and Psephologists who had been purveying their aspirations disguised as news and science, would be groping in the darkness that they have created and in the last week before elections, would give a seesaw majority to AIADMK and leave it for fate to decide and start working on theories and hypotheses to defend how they missed the AIADMK landslide.
That is called as the BALANCING THAMIZHAN OR IN THE WORDS OF MY NORTH INDIAN FRIENDS JELEBI!