TODAY -

NDA has the advantage in both

Free Thinker *



I am neither a soothsayer nor a political pundit but I am simply a small-time gossiper cum rumor-monger. My assessment may be flayed by many but it will be appreciated widely by the intelligentsia who can smell the stink of politics. Dirty political manoeuvres work at every level. Even first-time voters will understand the win-ability factors of a candidate.

Eventually, the voters cast their votes according to the request/wish/payment/threat from local leaders or gundas. Individual ‘will’ exists among the right-thinking or erudite citizens, but their suffrage size is too small to create an impact.

Ideology or issue-based politics is on a higher plane. We still indulge in parochial and pragmatic politics along with self-centered opportunism. Particularly in rural and remote areas the headman or leader or the local bully decides whom to vote for. Voters simply follow their instruction, no matter which party or who the candidate is?

Collecting information from both mobile and static observers, I have a fair idea about what is going on at the ground level. In a multi- corner contest the ruling-alliance has the advantage – because their M factor is numerous e.g., more MPs, MLAs, Ministers, Managers (booth), Messengers, Media-persons, Meira-paibis, Motor-cars etc.

Do you think that a Minister will allow a contestant to get more votes than his own Party Candidate? If he allows that his political career is over in the Party he belongs. First, he may be removed from the minister-ship and later in the next election he may not get the Party Ticket. If he is smart enough – he may jump to another Party for survival but that is risky.

The State has 60 MLAs – out of which 53 are in NDA . Theoretically the numerical strength of the ruling MLAs has overwhelmed the opposition. Opposition MLAs may be around 7 or 8 .

If the existing MLAs work on party lines and follow alliance dharma the outcome is obviously predictable. This is a simple calculation. The hue and cry outside sounds superficial. Profundity lies in the very political survival of the MLAs and Ministers including the Chief. It is a do or die situation for them.

Despite having laws , rules, instructions , requests , diktats, Gadhiji still roams from locality to locality and from village to village mainly at night . His movement continues till dawn.

Gandhiji’s role can’t be done away with so easily, because we are still a poor people. Gandhiji’s assistance is required every now and then. The number of Gandhijis involved in the Assembly election are more ; but his involvement in the Parliament election is less – because he has to reach out to a large number of voters.

Again, muscle power is in vogue mainly in the hills or remote areas – only the voters of a particular Candidate or Party are allowed to go to the polling station. The security in and around the polling station and the polling officers on duty conveniently ignore this uncomfortable fact. Seemingly unfaithful voters are swayed away en route much before the polling areas.

Anyway a vacancy is likely to arise for Education Minister. Who is going to fill this vacancy? The present team has already two experienced MLAs (former ministers) in this field. And normally Education goes to the Sangathan. Whoever brings the maximum votes – may be rewarded.

The Supreme Court has made it very clear that there is no question of going back to ballots. For me the core issue is still the machine – in a functional democracy the number of votes cast is of prime importance. If the number is doubtful then our faith in democracy is lost. EVM was started in Kerala in 1982 in a constituency, now it is used everywhere.

Technologically very advanced Japan does not use EVM and Germany has reverted back to ballots. Tallying each vote with VVPAT will be torturous and time consuming. But, somewhere down the line we need to build trust in our electoral system. I don’t know what the Apex court will say on this – judgement is reserved?

Hovering well above 300, they are forming the government – the required magic figure in the Lower House of Parliament is just 272 MPs. NDA has the advantage both at the Centre as well as in the State. I may be proved utterly wrong when the final results are out.

But, so far, my theoretical assessment backed by media snoopers hardly goes wrong. The silver lining in our dark cloud is that nearly 70 % of voters cast their votes still believing in democracy, redeeming peace, rehabilitation of IDPs, getting ST status, securing separate administration (more autonomy) and protecting the idea of Manipur. When the winter comes can spring be far behind?

Before June 4, may I declare the results - the de facto winner is the one who wins the hearts of the people but the de jure winner is the one who ensures Manipur’s integrity. However the ultimate winner is Tom Tom , who had enjoyed unfettered freedom of expression , the highest insignia of democracy (seemingly protected by the Chief & also backed by an Anticipatory Bail for the time being).


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on April 21 2024.



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