New Delhi: The terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on 14 February proved to be a major turning point in India’s Lok Sabha elections campaign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attest to this.
In the 47 public addresses that PM Modi made between 3 January and 3 April, several interesting trends were noticed after the Pulwama attack, a ‘word analysis’ of the speeches by ThePrint showed.
The changes observed in his speeches ever since Pulwama — prominently, the increased frequency of buzzwords like ‘Pakistan’ and ‘security’ — appear to be a direct result of the attack.
Based on ThePrint’s analysis of Modi’s public addresses, here are some of the most remarkable shifts seen since the terror attack. All the speeches were accessed on the prime minister’s official website, narendramodi.in.
‘Pakistan’ and ‘security’
Between 3 January and 14 February, PM Narendra Modi delivered 23 public speeches as he toured Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra and Assam, among other states.
In all of them, the most frequently used word was ‘government’ with 370 utterances, followed by ‘India’ at 184 and ‘yojna’ at 168.
Modi visited several places across the country in this period, inaugurating new schemes and projects. He also laid down foundation-stones of several projects. He uttered the word ‘foundation stone’ a total of 12 times.
However, in the 24 speeches he delivered after the Pulwama attack, the use of the word ‘government’ fell to less than 230. The use of the word ‘yojna’ crashed to 47.
Meanwhile, Modi used the word ‘India’ in his speeches 220 times — up from 184. This came especially in the context of India “successfully conducting” the air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot on 26 February, and the anti-satellite missile test (A-SAT) exactly a month later.
Courtesy these two incidents, ‘Pakistan’, ‘terrorism’, ‘security’ and ‘Balakot’ gained prominence in the prime minister’s speeches.
While ‘terrorism’ featured in his addresses 70 times, ‘Pakistan’ followed with 47, ‘security forces’ with 35, and ‘Indian Air Force’ and ‘Balakot’ with 5 mentions each.
Before Pulwama, Modi had uttered Pakistan only twice.
Modi also spoke at length about how the Indian “security forces” gave a prompt and befitting reply to Pakistan and showed the “world” the capability of “New India”.
The noticeable factor here, however, was the low usage of these words in the PM’s speeches down south.
The opposition’s election campaign pivoted against the alleged corruption under the Modi government, especially in the Rafale deal. Congress president Rahul Gandhi continuously targeted Modi over these allegations, coining the phrase ‘chowkidar chor hai’.
In response and reference to these allegations, Modi used the word ‘chowkidar’ just less than 50 times in the speeches before the Pulwama attack.
But with the ruling BJP finding a renewed vigour and sense of purpose after 14 February, it responded to the corruption allegations by incorporating the term ‘desh ka chowkidar’ in its own election campaign.
Modi used this term several times post the attack. He uttered the word ‘chowkidar’ over 200 times.
In the same period, the prime minister used the name of BJP’s principal national rival ‘Congress’ around 150 times. Prior to the attack, the word was used only 46 times.
Modi targeted Gandhi’s party over corruption under the UPA government and slow growth of Indian military since Independence.
While his government has claimed to have worked for Indian farmers under its welfare schemes, especially the minimum income guarantee for them announced in the budget, Modi used the word ‘farmers’ 126 times after the attack — down from over 170 times in the pre-Pulwama period.
Similarly, speaking about technology and its impact, one of his pet subjects, the prime minister used the word ‘connectivity’ a total of 30 times before the attack. In the period thereafter, he mentioned the word less than 5 times.
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