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Countdown for D-Day

Countdown for D-Day
Highlights

Madhusudhan: Countdown for D-Day, these gadgets have the best kept secrets in the world which is waiting as anxiously as India for the arrival of D-Day, May 16. That is the day when all the electronic voting machines are unsealed to know the political future of thousands of candidates, and that of the country.

At the moment, little electronic machines hold India’s future. Not one, thousands of them spread across the country and guarded round-the-clock by armed men, these gadgets have the best kept secrets in the world which is waiting as anxiously as India for the arrival of D-Day, May 16. That is the day when all the electronic voting machines are unsealed to know the political future of thousands of candidates, and that of the country.

Madhusudhan: Countdown for D-Day

Their hopes and expectations are myriad; they have day-dreams and pipe-dreams that may suddenly turn into nightmares once the EVMs are opened and the number of votes each candidate had polled is displayed. The numbers are truly magical and they can cast a spell on winners and drown losers in a sea of sorrow and grief. However, some will cling to hope that some by-election may come to their rescue in reviving their dying fortunes in a dramatic way.

But it is a gamble that may or may not pay off since the Indian political game is played with the same kind of canniness as gamblers play their cards. They need an extra sense, perception and ability to gauge the opponents’ moves in an atmosphere loaded with money, suspicion and an unflinching belief in ‘luck.’

The luck lies hidden in the playing cards but those who pick them up at the right time and hold and drop them effortlessly can progress in the game. Politics can be likened to such skills and the contestants’ show of the gambler’s sense of play had never been more evident than in the 2014 elections.

They have changed parties at the drop of a hat, some at the last minute as if they have been waiting for a miracle to happen; some have switched sides and started abusing their parent parties on flimsy grounds. Though the turncoats’ motives are sugar-coated, it is difficult to swallow the bitter pill called truth when we know how it is wrapped and made attractive to the gullible public. Sometimes it would be further sweetened with wads of cash, booze and other freebies.

With the last phase of parliamentary poll to be held on May 12, it is curtains for once-in-five years drama with thousands of dramatis personae indulging in slugfests that might have tested their lung power and expletive vocabulary. In the process, they have revived the much reviled caste system and invented new classes to reap the benefits of democracy in an Orwellian-style of “some are more equal than others”.

All these plus a lot more whose true intentions belie promises are eagerly waiting for the Day of the Judgment. Once results are out, they, as well as we, know whether the voters, young, old, literate and illiterate, had used their vote power exercising their discretion or swayed by hundreds of crores worth covert ‘offerings.’

Indeed, the post-poll scenario is like waiting for the climax to unfold in a suspense thriller. Will it be a face-off or a cliffhanger none knows; but horse-trading is already in evidence. The mud thrown at rivals is being washed off and those who had bared their fangs and dared others to verbal duels are cleaning their faces and washing their mouths off poll rhetoric, are ready to put up smiling faces to extend their hands for new alliances.

After all, for seasoned politicians, it’s all part of the power game in which there are no permanent friends or foes; they are the two sides of the same coin. Just flip flop to change the side. For moralists, it is difficult to digest: How a bitter enemy at the hustling will become an ally after the poll?

It’s easy. Like politics makes strange bedfellows, power prospects bring even the worst enemies to a common platform. Call it marriage of convenience; it creates a situation where both sides will always be quarrelling either for primacy or spoils of power, relegating affairs of the state to the backburner. We have seen it and probably we will again witness such riding on more than two horses with the principal rider trying to rein them in.

But if we go by the tall claims being made by leaders of principal parties, every supremo is cocksure that his party will romp home with an unheard majority. They exude such confidence – of course, they have to, otherwise they don’t stand a chance in politics – in claiming victory as if they are looking at a crystal ball. In this case, the crystal ball is EVM whose chip contains the wishes of lakhs of voters. There is nothing wrong in being an optimist but political optimism should take into account what people want. Whoever comes to power, will he?

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