Modi’s Manipulative Politics – Controlling Master Radar of Truth, Lies, Deception & Cloud Computing – A Critical Analysis by Dr. Manish Madan

TL;DR “Modi is a master manipulator in shifting the narrative. The sooner people understand his political strategy, the sooner you can call his bluff and get back to the real agenda India deserves to discuss.”

For the connoisseur of a deeper thought process, carry on reading.

First, examining recent events, I argue that Modi’s lies and deception are part of a larger ploy that people should recognize and not fall for it, and second, contextualizing in historical roots, I dissect with a specific example to establish his tactics of narrative shifting. Falling for it is a dangerous trend as it keeps us away from addressing the real issues at the grassroots level. Depending on your interest in two themes, you can jump between Part A and Part B but I hope you will read both for a better grasp.

*Part A – Political Analysis, Present Scenario*
In the run up to May 23, 2019, Modi has been in constant news for reasons such as:

— back-scratching interview with #KhiladiBhaiya

— bringing former (late) assassinated PM Rajiv Gandhi into his election rallies
— alleging (falsely) that he was pronounced corrupt in #Bofors corruption scandal; he used #INSViraat for family holidays.

This generated massive news coverage – the left concluding that Modi has surpassed all expectations of civility, human dignity of public, political discourse, and the right arguing that he is only retorting to the political jibes being thrown at him such as #ChowkidarChorHai. You may be on either side of the spectrum, but the narrative shift connivingly displaced people from focusing on the 2019 election’s real issues.

To some comfort of focus on real issues, this past week saw #TimeMagazine cover story, “Divider-in-Chief” caught on a lot of wind. It highlighted the incumbent candidate’s accomplishments, his weaknesses, government’s failed policies (#demonetization), deeper impact on the society (#communalism) etc.

But then, that cover story got taken over immediately by an orchestrated interview by Modi to his media stooges, once again shifting the narrative, this time to the new talk of the town where people got busy in dissecting his expertise in “cloud computing, radar technology, use of first digital camera, emails etc.”

All these narrative shifts may appear coincidental and even funny at the first sight, but I implore the readers to not view these in isolation – they are connected. Allow me to explain.

They are a part of the ploy of Modi’s deeper political strategy of pivoting and deviation, from the real issues that country faces … might as well I will concede, he is being super successful at it because people are falling for it.

The shifting narrative is part of his calculative moves. Modi’s leadership style relies on not making an unintentional mistake (that an average individual is prone to make and move on) but rather it is an intentional strategy on behalf of a fakeer, a simpleton who can be naïve (poor man’s image with meagre resources growing up) and in that moment, he can make all the amusing statements and run with them. It is a crafty play to a successful ploy leading innocently to a ‘narrative shift,’ that takes away people from asking real questions.

Just take a stock of how many countless memes, funny posts, social commentaries have been generated pertaining to his outlandish interviews (how he eats mangoes, half arm length shirt, wallet in the pocket, radar escape expertise etc.) in your own social media circles.

Employing a comparative lens, this strategy isn’t any different from #Trump style politics during his 2016 elections for becoming the 45th US President.

Say something so absurd, so eccentric and bizarre that people are kept amused, media is over dosed in dissecting it and so no one asks real questions. This is a classic tactic and if you can think critically, do not fall for it.

Immediately, get back to real issues. Present scenarios only give us limited scope to understand so it’s critical to go back a couple of decades.

*Part B – Contextualizing the Narrative Shift from the Past*

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and those who do not stop it from repeating are doomed to witness it.

To grasp Modi’s calculative narrative shift to steer from real issues, let us flashback into Year 2002.

In 2002, post #Godhra riots, that was responsible for official record of 1000 deaths, unofficially 3000 and over 250,000 displaced, the National Human Rights Commission under (late) Justice J.S.Verma “indicted the Gujarat Government for its failure to contain communal violence in the State.” (As a sidebar, the Supreme Court (SC) appointed SIT gave Modi a clean chit in 2012 and for what it is worth, the Gujarat High Court upheld that clean chit in 2017)

However, following the NHRC’s indictment post godhra, Modi calculatedly launched a campaign ‘Gaurav Yatra’ – a procession to re-establishing the pride of the Gujarati people on 8th September 2002, only within 6 months of the riots, because allegedly Gujarat got a bad name not due to riots but due to opposition propaganda, according to party spokesperson, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Even within Hindu traditions, families with the loss of loved ones refrain from festivities, celebrations for up to their first death anniversary as a mark of respect but not in this case. Modi wanted to first control and then shift the narrative as he pleased, even if it was on the coffins of several dead victims of the riot, because for him, he is the #Chowkidar who whistles every night #AllisWell!

Another sidebar – does this narrative shifting strategy remind the readers on PM Modi’s Pakistan rhetoric as a first response post #Pulwama? Instead of first examining what went wrong internally and bringing accountability to intelligence failure, security, he successfully shifted the entire narrative. Anyhow that is a separate post for another day.

Modi effect is such that a strong leader definition is also changing – now it reads like “those who know how to blame others,” or those who don’t take ownership of their decisions, or “those who can fight to beat the former (dead) opponent leader”

What we have learned so far is that PM Modi can never be in the wrong. He is never going to hold responsibility for any failures. His expertise is in shifting narratives strategically and artfully. It is always somebody else – “Ask the Opposition.” That’s what I hope people get it.

Similarly labeling people #ModiHaters or #IntellectualTerrorist, #antinational etc. just because they question government, it’s leaders and it’s policies is another tactic, part of narrative shifting strategy.

In conclusion, I hope people recognize this willful narrative shifting politics deployment strategy, and instead of getting into its amusement, constituent members need to immediately re-focus, and hold their leaders accountable on the real issues such as.

– Education
– Poverty
– Population
– Pollution, Environment
– Communal harmony, cow vigilantism, mob lynching, hate crime,
– Declining Economy, Demonetization,
– Growing Unemployment (lowest in last 45 years)
– Terrorism, counter-terrorism strategies/national intelligence and security
– Corruption, Farmer welfare
– Health/hygiene
– Women’s safety
– Infrastructure
– Development
– Smart Cities, Skill India, Clean India, Make in India

If you liked what you read, if it made you think more critically, leave the post a comment with your favorite part or your own reflection. Also, don’t forget to share it before stepping out of the page. Let us educate more people.

Dr. Manish Madan
Professor, Criminal Justice

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