Even as the leaders of the opposition try to discredit the Election Commission for its handling of the EVMs and ‘taking a soft position on the Prime Minister’, they will have to keep an eye on other developments taking place in their backyards. Be it Karnataka or Madhya Pradesh, the Congress is already showing signs of distress in keeping its flock together. The party is part of governments at both places that are dependent on outside support, and dissension is now taking its toll. And this is only when the Exit Polls are painting a dismal picture about its poll performance. Should the results turn out in anyway similar, the self-preservation instinct and greed will kick in, prompting those dissatisfied with the present leadership to seek a better bargain elsewhere.
In fact, the turbulence has reached such a point that a senior leader of the Congress in Karnataka, Roshan Baig, has hit out against the state’s leadership, and even commented on Rahul Gandhi. More importantly – in what should send the alarm bells ringing, he has said that, in the event of the NDA winning the elections, the Muslims should be willing to work with the BJP and not be ‘loyal’ to any one party. He has accused the Congress of ‘using’ the Muslims, while not providing them any representation in the top echelons. Without a doubt, such ‘liberated’ thinking among those the Congress takes for granted as its voters would further upset the apple cart of traditional Indian politics.
It would be greatly unwise of the Congress to deliberately disregard the obvious people’s mandate while it attempts to discredit the election process and take away from the NDA’s possible victory. It began with the ‘hackability’ of the EVMs and now the narrative is about them being changed. The implication not just is that the people cannot have voted against them, but also that the hundreds of thousands of polling officials are corrupt and in cohorts with the BJP. The opposition, however, has nothing when it comes to providing credible evidence of this before the EC or the Supreme Court. But, that does not keep it from hiking its demands on a daily basis. The leaders seem to be in the first stage of grief – denial, which will inevitably followed by anger and intemperate speech. In a cartoon made by Ajay Manjrekar, the EVM is seen asking the opposition leaders not to blame it for their incompetence. It is good advice and if there is an adverse result on counting day, it would be better for them to work on setting what’s wrong in their own parties.