Saturday, December 01, 2007

Political Mileage From Communal Violence - II

Continuing from the previous post, as I was curious to know what Yogendra Yadav found from his voters’ opinion surveys regarding the communal violence in Gujarat, I visited his CSDS website, and went to the results of the opinion surveys for 2004 elections for Gujarat.
These are the results of surveys for Gujarat:
Q.62: One hears a lot about riots. Tell me which of them is closest to your opinion?
Ans: 74.1 percent of the respondents said it was totally wrong. 4.5 per cent said it was bound to happen and was necessary; 8.7 per cent said it was a bit too much; 12.7 per cent did not have an answer.

Q.64: Opinion about Godhra riots:
a. Whatever happened after Godhra should be forgotten by all Hindus and Muslims. Do you agree?
Ans: 84.8 per cent of the respondents agreed, while 7.1 per cent disagreed. 8.1 per cent didn’t have an answer.
b. It is necessary that those responsible for the riots should be punished. Do you agree?
Ans: 83.3 per cent agreed; 6.8 per cent disagreed while 9.9 per cent did not have an answer.
c. Whatever happened after Godhra was necessary to teach anti-national elements a lesson. Do you agree?
Ans: 67.1 per cent agreed, 14.7 per cent disagreed, and 18.2 per cent had no answer.

Well, it may be diffcult to reach any firm conclusions about the attitude of the electorate from these responses, as the questions seem to have been very specifically structured. But indications? Yes, the electorate did not support the carnage at all, contrary to what was widely believed. If at all Narendra Modi got a mandate in 2002 and 2004, it could not have been due to the post-Godhra carnage, but could be attributed to other factors. Clearly, there appears to be a wide chasm between what the political class, which is mostly behind such massacres, thinks of deriving political and electoral mileage from such a carnage, and the reality of how the electorate views it. The answer to the last question may be disquieting, but the question is clearly suggesting a lesson to the anti-national elements, not minorities.
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