After the unprecedented decision of scrapping currency notes came the unprecedented online survey to gauge the public mood on demonetisation.
In other words after Mann Ki Baat, it’s Jan Jan Ki Baat.
The decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1, 000 currency notes was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat. Or a "Tughlaqi farman".
I do what my mann tells me, I don’t give a damn for the opinion of others - guided his demonetisation decision.
Now Jan Jan Ki Baat. I will get feedback on my Mann Ki Baat from my own jan (people) and pass it off as public opinion.
Jan Jan will of course become Dhan Dhan for being given the opportunity to vote in an internet poll on a personal NaMo app. The poll’s questionnaire has options for only leading questions such as:
"Do you think black money exists in India?" Of course, 98 per cent Jan Jan respond "yes".
I want your first-hand view on the decision taken regarding currency notes. Take part in the survey on the NM App. https://t.co/TYuxNNJfIf pic.twitter.com/mWv2frGn3R— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 22, 2016
No options for dissenting voices or the dislike button as it were.
Thereafter, the findings are presented on people’s so-called overwhelming’s support to the anti-black money scheme on the same narendramodi.in website.
Then an obliged Modi thanks obliged respondents through tweets. "I thank people for the historic participation in the survey. It's satisfying to read the insightful views and comments."
What’s historic in it? Participating in the poll, or the survey itself? Or the percentage of the people - India has 19 per cent internet users- who can participate?
Who is the owner of the two unique, trend-setting decisions - the demonetisation and the internet poll? One individual: Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi is the sole proprietor of the survey and he holds its patent. He is the domain owner, he is the NaMo app owner and he is the surveyor.
|Modi is the sole proprietor of the survey and he holds its patent. (Photo: Modi app)|
He and only he can reveal the findings of the online poll. Like any surveyor, he can manipulate the result and he can misinterpret the data. And you will not get a whiff of it.
In a nutshell, he can mislead. The Prime Minister of India can mislead the people through an app though it bears no authority and no accountability to the office of the Prime Minister.
It’s a survey being conducted by an individual who happens to be the Prime Minister of India.
|Who is the owner of the two unique, trend-setting decisions - demonetisation and the internet poll? Prime Minister Narendra Modi.|
The demonetisation too bears the authority of the PM and the government of India. But it’s more of an individual enterprise than a matter of collective Cabinet decision, which is sine qua non of parliamentary democracy.
Even the Cabinet was briefed at the last moment and ministers were taken by surprise. They were forced to sit in the room until Modi was done with addressing the nation.
So welcome our modern day Narcissus! And welcome to India Inc. Private Enterprise of Narendra Damodar Modi.
Treating the country as a private enterprise, Modi tells the country on November 8 that in four hours, over 86 per cent value of the country’s total currency held in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1, 000 would become illegal tender.
In love with his own image, on November 22 he tells netizens, not all citizens, that an online survey would be conducted through NaMo app, his own app.
The first result of the survey was released 15 hours after half a million people had polled.
And it claimed that over 93 per cent of 5,00,000 people who polled on the app had supported demonetisation. This information too was given on narendramodi.in website.
|The Prime Minister makes an online poll with an unscientific and unrepresentative sample to sound credible and trustworthy.|
Modiji was happy with the result. Only 2 per cent viewed the demonisation negatively, he said.
He gloated: “In just over 24 hours of the survey, more than 5 lakh people (till 3.30pm on Wednesday) have participated and expressed their opinion. This is a staggering number by any stretch. No opinion survey conducted in India, on such policy or political issues, even comes close to sampling so many responses.”
Again note his expressions. Staggering number. No opinion survey can come close!
The Prime Minister makes an online poll with an unscientific and unrepresentative sample to sound credible and trustworthy.
Can you blame the countless anonymous online polls if the Prime Minister sanctions an unscientific online opinion survey that is conducted on his own app with an unscientific questionnaire? It’s a survey that violates all norms of standard opinion polls.
But that’s expected in a country that’s treated by the Prime Minister as his personal enterprise.
It’s only in a personal enterprise that the Prime Minister addresses a public meeting in Agra, where he laughs and cries, less than 300 km from the site of one of the worst train accidents in years near Kanpur.
In a personal enterprise, the Prime Minister chooses to be present in Parliament or remain absent even as the House remains immobilised for days. And even as hundreds of millions of people are deprived from accessing their own meagre earned cash.
Parliament is gradually being bypassed and undermined under a plan. Parliament is the only forum other than the press that can call political executives to question and accountability on day-to-day basis.
The press has already been pushed aside from performing that role with Modi choosing not to interact with it.
As for Parliament, on every issue of national importance and urgency, the Prime Minister prefers to address the people directly, bypassing the institution.
In doing so, he has been trying to create a false dichotomy between the people and Parliament.
It’s for that reason that by-election results that favour the ruling BJP as well as opposition parties in their respective areas of influence are interpreted as endorsement of demonetisation. But the opposition party members questioning the government over the same are trashed.
Next time Modiji might call for an internet poll to pass a legislation bypassing Parliament.