After all, perceptions play big role in our elections

Women courts

Rama Krishna Sangem

Why our political parties hard sell their images to voters? Why fake or deep fake surveys are served out before a few days of polling date? Why the ruling and the main opposition parties project their winnability (a new word coined during poll time)? Because, perceptions play a big role in our great Indian elections. In fact, our Indian democracy runs on the fuel of public perceptions – whether or not they are real.

This has been the case with the ongoing elections in five states. But, I will focus on Telangna, from where Excel India is based. Ruling BRS led by CM KCR is well entrenched in creating a narrative of stability, slew of welfare schemes and development in it s nine year rule, since Telangana was formed in 2014 June. KCR and his party’s second in command KTR are telling people to vote for BRS seeing its nine years of development and progress in all sectors.

The problem of KCR is that till a few months ago, he targeted his attack on BJP, saying they tried to destabilize his government like in Maharashtra. He even vowed to remove BJP from power at the Centre by expanding TRS to BRS. But, after Karnataka assembly elections, KCR has to change his focus on Congress which emerged as the main challenger to him.

Now, KCR and KTR are attacking Congress in every of their meetings.  They are telling people of a possible change of CMs if Congress comes to power. Or possible internal fights, if they win the polls. KCR also directly asking people whether they want his land digitization programme, Dharani to continue or not.  He tells people there will be power cuts or stopping of schemes like Rythu Bandhdu, Dalit Badhu, if Congress comes to power.

How the public will form their perception on KCR’s speeches is to be seen.

Main opposition Congress built its case around its 6 guarantees, to different sections and family rule of CM KCR. As an opposition party, naturally, Congress has advantages of hitting at the ruling party, for every of its failures or lapses. Right from TSPSC  question papers leak to suicide of a job aspirant Pravalika or structural problems of Kaleswaram Project at Medigadda, Congress is trying to build public perception against KCR’s government.

Another major contender in the race – BJP which is in power at the Centre – too is busy selling its image, as pro-social justice, by promising a BC CM and a sub quota for Madigas etc. BJP’s typical north Indian slogan of Double Engine Sarkar is not used in Telangana as it failed in Karnataka assembly elections this May.  Now BJP is chiefly depending on the image of PM Modi. But, will that work? It is to be seen.


Are perceptions real?

Now there is a doubt, are these public perceptions based on facts or truth? Not necessarily. But sometimes some perceptions are sold to voters and elections are influenced. For example, Rajiv Gandhi lost 1989 elections as public perceived him a culprit in Bofors scam. But, till today, no evidence is established against him in the scam. Same is the case with 2G scam that hit Congress led UPA in 2014.

BJP which came to power on 2G scam couldn’t prove the allegations till now. So is the case with BRS leader and MLC Kavitha’s involvement in Delhi liquor scam. We have seen how she was chased by the ED for over a year and till Karnataka elections. Of course, she is on a Supreme Court shield till November 30, but none of the central agencies could provide any evidence against her in the scam.

Still a perception is built in the minds of public, linking Kavitha to liquor scam. Ironically, another perception built by Congress – that BJP is going soft on BRS, by not arresting Kavitha too, has its impact on the public. When I talked to people, they point to this, though they have no idea that ED couldn’t provide any evidence against Kavitha till now. That’s the specialty of public perceptions.    

Electioneering will go on for two more weeks. Political parties – especially  BRS, Congress and BJP – will go on trying to create public perceptions, either in their favour or against their rivals. Sometimes, even a small incident can turn the public opinion in a different direction. Right now the battle of perception building or narrative selling is going on. As some analyst said, after all, elections are all about public perception.


Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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Chief Editor

Rama Krishna Sangem

Excel India national news magazine is a media startup founded and piloted by Rama Krishna Sangem, a Hyderabad based senior journalist with over three decade experience in the field of media, mostly in print journalism. His rich experience in reporting for both Telugu and English newspapers and heading a TV news channel and some online outfits will be of immense use to this venture. Excel India English news magazine seeks to fill the gap of analytical understanding to our readers who today are confronted with myriad media platforms. Our online version not only offers regular updates and commentary on happenings around us, but also gives larger stories not limited by space constraints of a print magazine. Excel India is ably run by a team of senior journalists committed to values and quality standards in the profession. We urge you all to support and guide us in this endeavour. Reach us at