ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Predictability as a Risky Political Proposition

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Let me start with a disclaimer that I am not talking about the predictability associated with electoral analysis that the election experts, commentators and observers undertake from time to time. Neither am I talking about predictions that find their expression in the trends of election results tracked down through the method of the exit poll. These are attempts about prediction that are visualised through observing the political mood of the voters with whom the observers interact during the pre-election times. This conception of predictability may be useful in one particular sphere of politics, but it may not be so in another sphere. We need to look at the word “predictability” from a different angle, so crucial for understanding party politics in particular, the main concern of which is to capture power. An argument can be made to say that the conception of predictability as perceived by a political party or parties is different from that understood by experts and analysts. The issue at hand is the expectation of political parties that voters must vote in a particular fashion, in a particular direction that will brighten the electoral prospects of such parties.

The prediction about voters’ choice is contingent upon the former’s construction as the prospective voter who would vote according to the designs of a particular party. However, their construction is qualitatively different from the electoral mobilisation of voters. Certain parties make efforts to mobilise voters around the practical questions that the latter continue to face. In such mobilisation, voters exercise their political autonomy in sharing the efforts made by certain political parties. The construction of voters, on the other hand, involves efforts by a particular party whose singular focus is strategising how to make the voter’s choices predictably favourable. As has been noticed in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha general elections, the politics of constructing predictably favourable voters is achieved primarily through raising emotional issues, making false promises, planting fake news, and even speaking blatant lies.

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Updated On : 6th Jan, 2020

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