METHODICAL RIGGING- A FAIT ACCOMPLI
A few years earlier rigging meant snatching ballot boxes, threatening voters and pressing stamp on the symbol of their party on ballot papers or where there was a chance of the other party getting more votes lift the ballot box and throw it in a canal or river forcing re-election. Times changed. From manual voting we turned to electronic voting. At lease on paper, the Election Commission is identifying the problematic and most problematic areas, sensitive and most sensitive areas. Thus, we expect the security forces in large numbers to prevent rigging. So, an average citizen is thrown into a false presumption that rigging elections is near impossible. But it happens. Just as we moved from paper ballot to electronic buttons. rigging moved from snatching the ballot boxes to rigging the "process" as a whole.
Let us examine how this happens.
LENGTHY ELECTION PROCESS:
In our country almost all constitutional bodies are autonomous on paper. The chiefs of these bodies are,however, appointed as per the whims of the ruling dispensation. Without going into nuances of the subject further, let us see what a Congress leader tells Media. "We are lucky that the Election Commission opted for an unprecedented nine stages for the elections, as this length of time has helped to dilute the potency of the Modi wave, especially in Bihar and in parts of Uttar Pradesh" where there will be late polling. "Had the polls been held within a two-week interval, the BJP would have gained an extra 20 seats, so we should thank the EC for their decision," He further adds "by the beginning of February, it was clear that we (the Congress) would do very badly, so from then onwards the target has been to reduce the BJP's tally and (thereby) keep Modi out, (sic.) This was reported in a leading news paper.
The unusually lengthy process of election was, apparently, helpful to the ruling dispensation in diluting the anti incumbency wave and pro-Modi winds.. The inference is obvious.
SELECTIVE TARGETING OF PARTIES AND OPPOSITION LEADERS:
The alacrity with which BJP PM candidate and the most likely PM, post 16th May, Narendra Modi was booked for poll code violation and FIR was filed post haste, without even conducting a preliminary inquiry or getting video footage speaks more than it looks. Compare this to the huge cash and liquor haul in AP where, to everyone's knowledge, a particular party was involved in the act, no concrete action was initiated against the party. More so, when an Innova car, purportedly owned by a Congress leader with Rs.2.5 crore was burned it took a week to file FIR on the said leader. This clearly shows that by selectively targeting leaders of a particular party its cadres are sought to be demoralized whereas the parties, likely to ally with the ruling dispensation are viewed with a squint eye. Inference, is again, clear.
LARGE SCALE DELETIONS FROM VOTERS' LISTS:
In an election where the ruling party tried its best to polarize votes on many counts, poor vs middle classes etc., the large scale deletion of votes of middle classes naturally gives rise to doubts. The very fact that the highest authority wanted to wash his hands off by a mere apology shows the callousness of his officials at lower levels and complaints of a few "interested individuals" of selective deletion to benefit a party might not be incorrect. What do we infer?
THE EVER VACILLATING MACHINES, EVMS:
A discussion whether EVMs can be tampered goes on. As I have little knowledge, I have no comment to offer. But one way the EVMs are misused is as follows. In many districts in TG on 30th April, EVMs malfunctioned for an hour or so and large numbers of voters returned without casting vote. These districts are known for their strong anti-establishment vote like Warangal where TRS is expected to sweep. I do not have feedback whether this has happened in other states too.
Modi is known to avoid targeting institutions when there is no substance against them. Whether CBI, CAG, Governor or CEC his criticism is based on hard facts. So, when he spoke of rigging in the sixth phase and possibility of more rigging in the last two phases, we can not just brush aside the allegation. So, physical rigging too is a fait accompli.
With changing times tactics change. Methodical rigging is what we are finding today. Democracy loses its meaning if it for a few people, by a few people and of a few people. Hope things change under a selfless leader.