Do demographics support Priyanka’s comparison with Indira Gandhi?
There seems to be a misplaced view among Congress party workers, supporters and detractors alike that PriyankaVadra is like a second coming of Indira Gandhi or someone who closely resembles her grand mother in looks and style that it will boost Congress electoral fortunes by reminding people of her grand mother who virtually reigned over India. This myth is being perpetuated by Congress party with the help of their paid media friends and has assumed an urban legend status, which needs to be quashed. I decided to take a closer look.
1) Indira Gandhi died on 31st October 1984 a good 27 years ago. Which means that 27-year-old’s today didn’t even see her live on Doordarshan. I wonder how will they be able to connect PriyankaVadra to Indira Gandhi. This is the reason why they wont be able to…
2) Current demographic spread are as shown below. Only relevant age groups have been included.
3) As per the latest census 50% of total Indian population is below 25 years of age, which means they have not seen Indira Gandhi dead or alive. They fall well within the 27-year bracket who were born after she died as outlined in point 1.
4) Over 65% of the population hovers around 35 years, which means when Indira Gandhi breathed her last, 65% (approximately 780 million) of Indians today were just 8 years old if we take the population base as 1.20 billion. What memory would an 8 year old retain to connect PriyankaVadra to Indira Gandhi today?
5) If 65% of India’a population hovers around 35 years and going by a Harvard paper on Indian demographics published in 2011 by David Bloom, it states that ‘the share of India’s 50+ population today is relatively small, accounting for only 16% of India’s population’ (pg 20 sec 3.1). Thus we can calculate with a fair degree of accuracy from the above table that approximately 90% of the population in the age group 15 to 59 are below 49 years or younger.
6) People born prior to 1970 or there about’s, in their early 40’s would be the people who would have some recall of Indira Gandhi and even then it will be vague.
7) The only population group that may find this comparison heartening will be the older generation, the ones above 50 years forming a minuscule population group and even they too are disillusioned and divided over their loyalties to Congress.
Thus if point 3, 4, 5 and 6 are seen in conjunction with the table in point 2 a significant percentage of the current voting population have no clue about who Indira Gandhi was apart from what they have read in magazines and news papers or history books in some cases. So trying to compare the two people is a futile exercise
PriyankaVadra may look and walk like Indira Gandhi but the bottom line is she is not Indira Gandhi no matter how much one stretches his imagination.
Shankara is a friend of CRI and can be found on Twitter as @Sshankara
Image from here.