Whenever I watch Mahabharat, I get extremely disturbed after watching the Draupadi Chir-Haran episode; the episode where Dushasan drags her by her hair and brings her in the center and then insults and humiliates her right in front of every one. It is not that the feminist in me starts roaring, it is something else. It is the fact that she was humiliated in a congregation full of the greatest warriors, intellectuals, social reformers, divine souls, immortals, and what not. It is the fact that all those people in the congregation knew it was wrong, but they all had their own individual vows, promises, rules, alliances and laws that kept them seated in their places, making them a mere spectator to the evils of Duryodhan and Dushasan. If even one of the most powerful beings in that congregation had stood his grounds overlooking his personal interests aside, the charade would have ended right then and there.
But alas! no-one had that will.
The current state of Indian Democracy is not different from that Kuru – sabha. Instead of Draupadi, it is the Democracy that is being humiliated in front of every one. No-one has the will to overlook his/her own individual interest to stop this charade that is going on in the name of elections. The recently concluded Bihar elections are a glaring example of this. Once again, I am not upset because somebody tried to manipulate the election, I am upset because no one is standing up to stop it. Courts don’t want to get in the line of political cross fire, they want to keep their image clean. Media wants its TRP, it is good for them if the elections are decided in a super over like an IPL; more people are going to stay glued to their television screens. Everyone has something to lose if they speak up.
How did it happen that a state with more than 72 million registered voters, out of which more than 40 million actually voted, ended up in a contest which was decided by just a dozen votes? Plus minus a few votes on either side and the result would have been entirely different. It was not an election, it was a gamble, exactly like mama-shakuni’s game of Chausar. Roll the dice; Pau Barah, for me, I win the game. I know our lives have turned boring to a great extent but it does not mean that we start using elections to break that monotony.
In an order to find a suitable answer to this question as to how this happened, I started with the final results from the election commission’s website. Below is the total vote share divided among different parties.
Here, RJD is in green with 23.1%, BJP in saffron with 19.5%, JDU in dark blue with 15.4%, INC in purple with 9.5%, LJP in sky blue with 5.66% so on and so forth. What I don’t understand from this pie chart is the gray part with 18.8% vote share. It is the third largest number i.e. 7,942,346 (79 lakh) voters.
Who did these voters vote for? and why?
At first I thought, they might be the parties like NCP, Shiv Sena, BSP or AIMIMI, but that’s not true. Even these small registered parties are listed outside “others” for example AIMIM got 1.24%, ShivSena .05%, NCP .23% so on and so forth.
Turns out that there were 3,976 candidates contesting in the election, some of them ran independent and rest were part of a record 213 different parties. Barring seventeen parties, all others constitute “the others”. In addition to this, out of these almost four thousand candidates, 86.7% lost their deposits. Meaning, they did not even manage one sixth of the votes on their respective constituencies, let alone winning a seat. Quite surprisingly there were only 875 candidates in 2010 assembly elections in Bihar, which means the number of candidates increased by 4.5x times when the number of seats remain exactly the same i.e. 243. Why?
If these 79 lakh voters who voted for god knows who, had voted for either the grand alliance or the NDA or even in the listed seventeen parties, the election would not have turned into a gamble. These 86.7% candidates who one absolutely nothing, brought the margin so low that it became a game of chance, if a particular neighborhood skipped voting this time, their party would have literally lost the election; just one colony!
This is the only election in the last six or seven decades where the winning margin on 20% of the seats was less than 2.5% of the votes. Out of these 20% seats, on 8% of the seats the margin was less than 1% of the votes. Indian National Congress, who won a total of 19 seats, had 42% of its wins i.e. 8 seats, won with a victory margin of less than 2.5% votes. The party might have not even made to the double digits if it were not for “the others”.
You can literally pick any of the constituencies of Bihar and will find a pattern that looks exactly like the one shown below. It is the constituency Dehri, where BJP lost by 400 votes. There are only two parties who are actually in the race, rest every one else was just competing with NOTA and playing their parts in cutting votes. Apart from the first two candidates, all the other sixteen candidates lost their deposits.
Another example where JDU won by just 12 votes (pau-barah). Apart from the first three candidates, the rest sixteen candidates were competing with NOTA and lost their deposits.
It looks like to me that the certain parties and candidates were not contesting to win, but they were contesting to defeat BJP and the NDA.
It is simple, when I know I can’t win, I will invite twenty other people who are not a part of my vote bank, pay their deposits and ask them to contest election and try their luck at being an MLA. Each of them will at least get two-three hundred votes or more, may be I have a better chance then. You can see this pattern here. Just choose the constituency of your liking and verify what I am saying is true or not. Don’t forget to choose Gaya Town, the constituency that had 27 different candidates and 25 of them lost their deposits. We talk about people with lakhs, crores and even lakh crores, how difficult is it to pay an election deposit of mere ten thousand rupees for fifteen – twenty people?
The icing on the cake would be if by some means the voters of my opponent parties don’t even show up on the election day and my voters aggressively rush for voting. How can this be achieved?
Mainstream media helped in achieving this to a great extent. The figure below is a screenshot of the opinion polls and the exit polls conducted by various agencies.
What you see in the above picture is a classic case of voter manipulation. The results of the various opinion polls were published right before the elections. Every NDA supporter who watches news, was already content and calm as his party was winning a clear majority and there was no need to panic, the work was already done. On the other hand every Grand Alliance supporter knew his party was losing and he had to vote, no matter what. These opinion polls suppressed voters of one alliance and motivated the voters of others.
At this point you might argue that the voter turnout of 57% was in accordance with the previous assembly elections. The funny part is that even in the last election of 2015 when JDU and RJD contested as alliance partners, a majority of surveys showed BJP (NDA) winning a clear majority. Secondly and more importantly, there have been worldwide researches on how the voter turnout is affected by various events like opinion polls etc. There are studies and whitepapers like this one here, this isn’t my theory.
Just to add on, Exit Polls are conducted simply to manipulate the stock markets. Just imagine if during a Loksabha election, all the survey agencies start showing a hung government, or a clear defeat for NDA, what happens to the stock prices for the companies like Adani and Ambani? And what happens when the actual results come out entirely different? You get the point right? Innocent middle class investor losses money for no rhyme or reason.
Opinion polls and Exit polls are not conducted for creating content for tv channels and surge their ratings; they are the instruments of manipulation.
The problem is everyone knows about these things, but chooses to keep quiet. Media knows this, EC knows this, courts know this, parties know this but they have their own individual interests as top priority and are simply letting some politicians to just humiliate and abuse democracy in broad day light.
Even though, NDA won the election, but I was anticipating more seats for BJP (only BJP not JDU). Leaving aside the seats where Left Wing Extremists and Naxilites were at play, I was expecting BJP to win 95% of the seats where it contested, including the seats where Yadavs and Muslims were dominant i.e. were more than 30%. To some extent, it still is true. For example in phase 3, NDA won 12 out of 15 Yadav dominant seats and it won 18 (12 for BJP alone) out of 32 Muslim Dominant seats.
It is not that I am saying this now after the elections, it has been months now, that I have been writing about it. “It does not matter when and where the elections happen including the general election, BJP will win hands down (except for Kerala) with complete majority if not absolute majority.” Of course all thanks to Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Mr. Modi might have given the slogan of Congress Mukt Bharat but it is Mr. Gandhi who is burning his mid night oil to make it a reality. In the first week of September I wrote an article, Corona tracker, lock-down and the massive self goal, you should definitely read it now, you will know why BJP won in Bihar even after all this tricks played by the opposition parties. In the month of May I wrote The upcoming Bihar elections and the new Migrant vote bank, you should definitely read it now, you will know why migrants were thrown out.
The harsh reality is that when we talk about elections, we talk about GDP, PPP, GDP per capita, Space, Technology, Research and Development blah blah and blah blah but as soon as the voting is done, all of a sudden a majority of voters vote on 1 kg chana (gram), 2 kgs daal(pulses), 5 kgs chawal(rice) so on and so forth, end of discussion. Did you think I was going to say votes are still casted on the bases of castes? Poverty is a bigger barrier than caste and religion. Caste and religion come into the picture only when the government fails to feed the poor.
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