So Modi is back at the helm of the country for a second term. The Hindi heartland has overwhelmingly voted for him again. Or has it?
Indian electoral system is the most complex one in the world. Based on religion and caste oriented vote bank politics, nowhere in the world is electoral assessment so complicated as in India. Modi has added new dimensions to it by adding more categories of voters. There are the 1) core Modi voters 2) core anti-Modi voters, and 3) fence sitters. The Modi propaganda team smartly split the fence sitters and took away a chunk of voters for whom they created the slogan “if not Modi who else?” back in the fag end of 2017 itself, after demonetization and botched GST implementation had brought the country’s economy to its knees. These votes and the pro-Modi votes accumulated solidly for Modi. The anti-Modi votes got fragmented among the Congress and regional parties.
Modi is being wrongly given all the credit of being a great leader for the victory. The fact is that there is not a strong leader who can unite the opposition and stand up to Modi. Modi’s fallibility was exposed when BJP started the “if not Modi who else” slogan, but no one took up the cudgel and countered with “Me”. Congress which is the other pan India party and the main opposition party was muted. Its leader Rahul Gandhi was attacking Modi on the Rafale deal but did not display the required leadership nuances when situations demanded the most. Rather, what was appalling was the fact that he tried to rebuild the strength of the Congress party through the elections where it was the weakest, like in UP, rather than uniting regional opposition parties against BJP. His NYAY scheme was a year and a half late in coming and its message did not get enough time to reach the people who most needed to know about it.
Everything points to the fact that Rahul Gandhi and the Congress itself was not serious to oppose BJP effectively and wrest governance of the country from them. Rather, the result has been the weakening of regional parties wherein the BSP and SP coalition has been decimated in the UP, Mamata Banerjee has lost ground to BJP in West Bengal, CPI has been demolished in Kerala and AAP has been routed in Delhi. The objective clearly seems to be to maintain a bipartisan political system like in the US where people would be forced to alternate between the Congress and BJP in every election.
But what has been damning is the revelation of the missing EVMs. Of the roughly 1.7 million EVMs needed for conducting elections across the country, an RTI query has revealed that a whopping 19 lakh EVMs are “missing” or unaccounted for. The CEC has washed his hands off the situation by deflecting the blame on to the respective state ECs. But this is more than enough reason to question the entire legitimacy of the electoral process and the EC. What could have been done with those EVMs is debatable and can be investigated. This is not just an allegation reported by the media, but has been found out from an RTI query – so the government itself has admitted to this grave situation.
The country is blissfully unaware that it is facing a constitutional crisis of serious proportions. This one reason is enough in the court of law to declare the election results as null and void. To add to this, many discrepancies between EVM and VVPAT numbers are getting reported from different parts of the country. The fact that the CEC proceeded with conducting the elections inspite of this glaring and unacceptable mistake is enough to be treated as a crime against the Constitution and the people of the country. Unsurprisingly, no one has approached the Supreme Court yet with these facts, is the best indication of a completely fragmented opposition that has no interest in safeguarding the democratic institution of the country.
A terror accused has been elected as the country’s lawmaker while someone who has worked tirelessly to transform the educational system of the country and who deserved to be a lawmaker more than any other candidate in the entire election has lost to a nobody who just joined politics six months back. Did the people really make these ludicrous choices? There is no other time for the people to come out and ask questions. Otherwise where this country heads from here is anybody’s guess.