Deepak Lal’s article, “On populism” (November 30) was scholarly. It seems populism has different meaning, purpose and form in the minds of scholars and the public.
Donald Trump’s election as US president on the mandate of exclusivity for white men was unexpected in a country known for its liberalism. Similarly, UK voters severing ties with the European Union was much to the chargin of experts. In India, Narendra Modi’s victory in 2104 was the result of him reading the people’s minds correctly. While the Opposition harped on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s communalism, Modi emphasised growth for all.
The lesson to be learnt from electoral politics is to read the mind of the public correctly and adapt one’s strategy. An important pattern emerging from these unexpected wins is that the gap between the perception of public good by intellectuals (including the media) and that of the public is widening. Whether this is evidence of public ignorance or static thinking by experts is worth pondering over.
Y G Chouksey Pune
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