POLLS, EXIT POLLS AND THEREAFTER
Performance of ECI: Despite isolated Maoist killings, widespread violence and booth capture by AITC goons in more than 3000 polling stations of West Bengal, the 16th Loksabha polls were peaceful and orderly: ECI team need to be congratulated for this success. Fascist violence in West Bengal that affected the voting rights of some three million citizens, and efforts by the Left to register protests with ECI were seldom reported by the monopoly media; while they gave wide publicity for BJP protests on the ECI restrictions on a particular Mody rally in Varanasi. On this account, the media had even put the hapless ECI on a public trial: These unhealthy trends in Indian elections are dangerous and deplorable.
Road Shows feed election campaigns: With the sixteenth Loksabha poll, political demands and public rallies have disappeared from election campaigns. Road shows stage-managed by visual media have taken over. Visual images of an unbeatable Modi wave were created and presented to the voters along with the weak images of Rahul Gandhi of Congress and Kejrowal of AAP. There were absolutely no debates and discussions on policies and programs: The election process was reduced to choosing a PM from among the three roadshow heroes: The one with 58 inch chest was projected as the natural choice!
The farce called exit polls: Exit polls in the country have lost their credibility long back. Results of the six exit polls as summarized and published by Hindu is reproduced below. Exit poll projections like the surveys published during the poll campaign seem to be biased in favor of BJP and NDA on one hand, and against Congress and UPA as well as the Left and regional parties on the other. Standard deviations of the projected seat shares across the six polls are abnormally large, especially for the UPA. Modi effect seems to have considerably distorted the exit poll projections. Most likely result will be: 249 for NDA, 124 for UPA and 179 for Others including the regional parties, Left and APP.
Prospects for a Modi led Government: If Modi wins Varanasi or otherwise demonstrates the existence of real Modi wave, a BJP led Government under his Prime Minstership is a definite possibility. In such a case prospects for building a Mega NDA, as now projected in the media, seems to be bright. And, in case the Modi wave proves to be mere myth, this grandiose scheme will collapse and BJP will be under compulsion to purchase some two or three dozen MPs, wholesale or retail, to have a Modi led Government.
Dream platform for a Mega NDA: Newspapers now speculate on the platform for a Mega NDA, which includes (1) increased focus on Kashmir and center-state relations, (2) revamping National Development Council and the Inter State Council and (3) new type of Public Private Partnership etc (see Hindu of 14th May). This is meant for attracting a few more regional parties into the NDA fold. However such measures mean expanding the role of public sector and national planning in a big way, which will be resisted by Indian corporates, stock markets and global finance who have created the Modi wave.
New Central Government under BJP leadership: A BJP regime with or without Modi as Prime Minister will, in all possibility, continue the anti-people policies of Manmohan Singh with the help of a PMO of his own choice. Moving in the direction of more autonomy for the states, democratic decentralization of administration and creating a federal governing system that is in tune with the development are impossible under a BJP led regime. Possibly a far more authoritarian and corrupt Central Government will be the net result of the 16th Loksabha elections.