9 Takeaways From The Recently Concluded State Election Results 2017

Now that the naked daggers have been replaced back into their sheaths and left the victors gawping around as the dust settles around them, a new reality with several nuances has emerged that everyone must come to terms with – whether they like it or not, irrespective of whether they belong to the states that went to poll or not. Much as I would like to bawl into a pillow, the time is however ripe to pick the grain from the chaff and glance at the events of the day, significant as well as insignificant, in order to remain with some food for thought.

1. BJP rocks at narrative creation

Modi roadshow UP
Modi holding a roadshow in UP. Source – Financial Express.

A humongous state. Elections held in several phases. And a resounding verdict. Bet Shatrughan Sinha’s mouth is way inside his ass, trying to drown out the sound of his own voice saying ‘What sort of desperation is this?’ at the spectacle of Modi shepherding his entire cabinet towards the scene of the last battle of in Uttar Pradesh.

Time and again, Modi has been able to present his narrative the way he wants to, to the people he wants to every time it mattered to him. During demonetisation, we saw the reasons change from curtailing terrorism, providing a fillip to digital economy to giving a tight slap to black money owners, with each of them being lapped up and defended by his supporters notwithstanding the huge crowds in banks and ATM lines. Now, with this UP win, we can already see supporters taking it to mean a thumbs up for notebandi (inspite of Jaitley repeatedly failing to provide numbers as to the real impact of it in the Parliament) and pretty soon this narrative will erase any of the bad memories associated with the move. To the poor, he was one who caused consternation to rich, black money hoarding assholes whereas to the relatively better ones, he is the guy who is at the very best ‘futuristic’ and at the worst a person who is ‘at least doing something’. To help him in creation and perpetuation of such legends are legions of online warriors and sympathetic media-persons and there can be little doubt as to who has mastered the narrative game at this point.

2. Congress needs to get rid of Baba

Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav UP
Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav in UP. Source – Huffington Post

Ever had that feeling of chronic constipation that has riled you for hours? Now imagine it in a much larger scale. Months, years even. That is what the presence of Rahul Baba rankles in the minds of people who identify with the left side of the spectrum (the right, of course, loves him, for he has, what one Tweeple remarked, the exact opposite of the Midas touch) and as the days go by we can only see him as someone, who due to his legacy and name, is able to turn eyes his way, but disappoints almost the very next moment. It is exactly for these reasons that the Congress needs to take a huge dump – either in terms of a heavy weight or during the next few years in small installments – so as to clean its own system.

3. Exit poll experts are like weather forecasters

Exit polls War for thrones India Today
Exit polls be like… Source – India Today

Three things, Their presence is perennial, and like regular clockwork their incessant chirps (or baffled babbling as the case may be) can be heard during election season. And like weather forecasts, their predictions are seldom right. And again, like weather reports, they are there to fill to up the space – be it print or air. This is what they said a day before.

Exit Poll Predictions 2017 State Elections
Exit poll predictions 2017. Source – Indian Express.

And here are the actual numbers.

Actual State Election Results 2017
Actual State Election Results 2017. Source : NDTV

You decide.

4. The Rajya Sabha tug of war

Rajya Sabha session
Rajya Sabha session. Source – Indian Express

The last remaining bastion that could have maintained a semblance of the ‘checks and balances’system that everyone is proud of in our democracy has been eroded to a pretty good extent. Here is a tweet that echoes my fears.

With the Presidential elections just around the corner in July, we can expect to see a pliable, BJP elect at the throne in Rashtrapati Bhavan soon. And since it controls the narrative game so well, we can only just sit and gape.

5. Everybody needs a whiff of fresh air (well, almost)

Badal father and son
After smelling toxins for a long time. The Badals. Source – The Wire

With the exception of Manipur (where BJP still managed a more than decent vote share), present governments from every other state were voted out of their perch. While anti-incumbency might not be biggest reason for them all to fail, it did lay the groundwork for opposition to make clear cases against them, eventually leading to major upsets.

6. “Hum AAPke hai!”. “Kaun?”

Kejriwal in Punjab
Kejriwal in Punjab. Source – Indian Express

Kejriwal, while conceding defeat and vowing to keep the battle raging, must have several trains of thoughts running through his mind, all threatening to crash and pile up on each other, much like those spate of train accidents we saw some months back. Primary among them must be the decision not to take the media’s words at face value, notwithstanding the time when it actually led to something in the Delhi elections. His position is particularly vulnerable, but only time can tell whether history will repeat itself vis-a-vis the earlier standoffs with the new LG under a more assertive Centre, now with the additional responsibility of maintaining a credible opposition in Punjab.

7. Activist does not a leader make

Irom Sharmila. state elections Manipur
Irom Sharmila. Source – Livemint

Perhaps the most heart rending of them all. The ‘Iron Lady of Manipur’, who went on a hunger strike for 16 years to protest the AFSPA net on the state, polled less than 100 votes from the incumbent CM’s constituency. That it takes a team, money and muscle to win entire elections is something that is oft stated, but to see someone who dedicated their life to the betterment of their people being made to see this day just breaks something inside you. Although Irom Sharmila has stated that she no longer wishes to contest any polls in the future, let’s hope that the future holds better stead for everyone.

8. Lalu still has it, but do the alliances?

Lalu Prasad Yadav. He might be entertaining but I still despise his ear hair. Source – Sri Lanka Guardian

This exchange caught my eye.

Even as Congress, the biggest anti-communal front (or so they would have us believe) is on the back foot, we ought to see several shifts in erstwhile partnerships or alliances that came about on the age old basis of the communal/anti-communal labels, seeing as how little they have been doing in stemming the spread of saffron. The immediate ones will of course be in the states with the hung assemblies – Manipur and Goa – but as the parliamentary elections loom large a year later the web woven by artful political masters will only add to the intrigue. Whether the above tweet exchange is the first foray into this territory or not, only time will reveal.

9. EVMs are ‘probably’ rigged, but so what?

Mayawati UP elections 2017 EVM
Mayawati dissing EVMs. Source – Indian Express

Sometime earlier in the day, Mayawati contended that the EVMs had been tampered with, particularly in Muslim constituencies where BJP had no business winning. I certainly found this interesting enough to start reading up on this issue, discovering that not only had LK Advani also been a ‘sore loser’ as several BJP supporters are describing Mayawati, but that there ARE several people (yeah I know Subramaniam Swamy is one of them but then he was right about Jayalalitha) as well as studies that indicate the EVMs are susceptible to tampering or mischief.

In fact, several European have outlawed its use, or brought in a paper trail system to be used in conjunction. Even the US uses paper ballots. But the thing is, now that the sore loser narrative takes over, it does more harm than good to Mayawati to continue harping on it, as everyone who might have lost elections in the past come to realize. And real change, perhaps to a system where there is greater transparency and accountability without the EC howling about its own name being tainted, can only be top down where the temptation is greater to misuse power, is where we enter the Catch 22 zone.

These have been my takeaways, though I am pretty sure these would be widely different for various people depending upon their political alignment. For instance, the people who run The Frustrated Indian. Do let me know what they are for you. Signing off with something The Frustrated Indian shared a few hours ago.

TFI post.PNG

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