The outcome of the General Elections is more or less sealed ,with only the last round of polling remaining . It has been a longstanding Indian convention that all political parties welcome election results ,thank the voters for expressing their choices and accept and interpret the mandate . But omens don’t portend well for May 23rd , and thereafter. The post-result scenario in 2019 is shaping up to be somewhat different and chaotic this time.
For the past five years,the Illiberal- Unleft Establishment (media,academia and civil society) has been working towards building a narrative that aims to delegitimize Indian democracy. This elaborate construct, a magnificent edifice of half-truths, lies and evil , is a part of grand subversive project which aims to expose the hollowness of Indian claims of being world’s largest functioning democracy. Finding the opportunity offered by this nefarious platform irresistible , some political parties and activists have also hopped onto the bandwagon,and have become its loudest cheerleaders.
Attempts to trivialise the 2014 mandate began with ‘only 31 percent’ jibe. That Modi was not voted in as the PM by the rest 69 pc was often invoked to insinuate that he was not the choice of more than two-thirds of the electorate . It was conveniently brushed aside that NDA constituents had received further 7 pc of the popular vote . The Establishment and the Opposition leaders ,who never tire of reiterating that India is an indirect Parliamentary democracy in which voters only choose their MPs ,who in turn choose their PM ,conveniently ignore the fact that we follow ‘first-past-the-post’ system . It is just not hatred,rather a carefully hatched conspiracy that leads to such comments like ‘not the whole country’ but ‘barely 31 pc’ of the people have voted for him.
A relentless campaign against the EVMs has been going on since the Uttar Pradesh Assembly verdict in early 2017. Questions have been raised about their hackability ,safety, performance under different weather conditions, production-supply mismatch and thefts. A lot of misinformed chatter,and cantankerous demands have surrounded the VVPATs . Sometimes a mock presentation is made in Delhi State Assembly ,or press conference is held in London to keep the noise alive . A snippet on stolen machines here, a byte on ‘management’ of EVMs there is always in news . But when the Election Commission of India organised a Hackathon, none of the opposition parties turned up to challenge the EVMs. Despite the Supreme Court not appreciating their viewpoint and even rejecting their demand for counting of 50 pc VVPAT machines,the subversives have managed to sow some seeds of doubt in the minds of the gullible and the illiterate ,and gained footage in the international press.
For the past week or so, a lot of fake news and misinformation is being circulated which alleges EVM Swapping by unauthorised transport of machines,as well as breaching of strong rooms. When Tampering charges didnt stick, Swapping has become the new weapon of charge.
Major controversises related to deletion of names from Electoral Rolls have been making news in different parts for the past year or so . It was alleged that 55 lakh names were struck out in Telengana and Andhra alone . ECI clarified that the list was revised on the basis of reconciliation between the Electoral Photo ID and Adhaar ,and that most of the omissions were genuine . Delhi government then jumped into this controversy and claimed that massive name deletion exercise was carried out in the National Capital . ECI clarified the matter before a Delhi local court,which was satisfied with the explanation. But many Delhi voters started receiving suspicious phone calls informing them of their name deletions .Such rumours created a lot of panic, and served to undermine the electoral process.
The ECI has been vilified and lampooned in the past two years over a variety of reasons . Opposition has labelled it as a stooge of the Centre and questioned its every move right from delay in announcement of election dates to its impartiality in upholding the model code of conduct . There seemed to be a design to discredit the ECI ,EVMs and Electoral rolls ,and by extension vitiate the whole electoral process leading up to the General Elections 2019.
Not just the ECI ,but CRPF ,Income Tax Department ,ED,CBI,and autonomous institutions like the RBI have been castigated as sidekicks of the Centre. Aspersions have been cast on even the higher judiciary which has mortally offended the Supreme Court’s image. In a derisive manner and tone , the Establishment and the Opposition often indicate that these institutions,vital for the functioning of a fair and just democracy have been destroyed ,and that any fair verdict cannot be expected in such a scenario . No one is uncompromised today, as per them. Which basically means that the whole system is illegitimate . This seems to be a precursor to some kind of NOT-MY-PM type of extended campaign post May 23rd. It might fail to achieve anything constructive ,but it would absolve the failed opposition leadership of their incomepence at the hustings. It would also dent,if not totally damage,India’s impeccable democratic credentials.
It has also been alleged that the whole focus of the ruling party’s campaign revolved around militant Hindutva and jingoism in a bid to whip up sentiments . Any such vote of confidence must then be construed as a frenzied mandate ,and not in the proper spirit of democracy. As if terrorism ,national security and sustenance of Indian way of life are non –issues ! Conspiracy theories have been floated questioning the security lapses in Pulwama and over the timing and the success of Balakot strikes. The idea is to somehow cynically paint the whole exercise in undemocratic hues , and declare it against the spirit of the poll process.
In the past five years,the Centre has increased scrutiny of indiscriminate foreign funding that was being received by various NGOs and other institutions . Media privileges have been struck down .The last half decade has seen the Establishment raise the cry of intolerance against counterviews , indulgd in Award-Waapsi , talk about atrocities on Dalits , minorities and women ,muzzling of independent voices and shrinking of civil liberties. The pro-government , anti -Establishment ( liberal-left shades on media ,social media and civil society ) forces have contested this alarmist narrative with vehemence. Fake Factories have been working overtime churning out articles and vlogs for both sides.
The saboteurs are organised , well-funded ,articulate and fighting for their very survival . One can expect a lot of hullabaloo over EVMs, the role of the President in case of Hung Parliament , ECI’s handling of the counting process and acceptance of the mandate whatever be the results . The din and bustle of the elections might get over on May 19th, but the bitterness shall not end anytime soon. Brace up for a long weekned,and beware of those who want to mock and harm India.
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