The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause. Baltasar Gracián Finally, after nearly two months of unbearable agony, tension, suspense and, let’s face it, sheer tedium, the wait is over. On May 23, the verdict was finally in. Just as the much maligned (by the Opposition parties) Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the Election Commission revealed the final numbers, the equally maligned exit poll predictions were vindicated. Give or take. Which made for a nice change. We can now start giving more credence to our TV channels who spend a small fortune conducting these surveys, profitably filling in the time between the end of actual polling and announcement of results. I say profitably because a great deal of advertising revenue rides on these largely futile exercises, which attract eyeballs aplenty. A couple of days more and you could have had the actual numbers in real time, but no harm done. The channels enjoyed two bites of the cherry, and we were all glued.
After all, people have to watch something every evening now that IPL is over. The channels then get a second wind when the actual results come in, keeping their fingers crossed, hoping their prognoses won’t leave them red faced. Their trepidation is well founded. Psephologists around the world have faced acute embarrassment as a result of ‘getting it wrong.’ Just over a week ago, PM Scott Morrison of Australia was returned to power against predictions of gloom and doom by every exit poll survey! And for God’s sake, viewers, why do you wake up at the crack of dawn to follow the trends? Nothing happens till at least 9 am, when a few ‘leads’ start trickling in. Still, if you’re a masochist and would like to be tongue lashed by Arnab first thing in the morning, that’s your problem. Next time, get your 8 hours beauty sleep, fresh for the fray.
Circumstances in India vis-à-vis Australia are, however, different. By the time this piece sees the light of day in print, most of our readers would have analysed the results to death. The ruling BJP party have shown that meticulous strategic planning, teamwork, great organizational skills and an awesome, dedicated work force make for a potent combination. Not to forget the shelter giving insurance cover of the NDA umbrella, which draws in many other parties into BJP’s warm fold. I am speaking here primarily of the unique skills it takes to win an election handsomely. With Amit Shah and Modi at the helm of affairs, it’s like Tendulkar and Lara playing for the same team! As to how the elected party actually runs the country is another matter altogether and not germane to the issue.
In stark contrast to the BJP, the so-called Opposition Mahagathbandhan, appeared a ragtag bunch of sour losers with a massive chip on their shoulders. Forever complaining, with no idea who their nominal leader should be, whose sole aim in life was to get rid of the BJP at any cost. It doesn’t work that way. And it didn’t. Think about it. The BJP/NDA = Modi. The Mahagawdhelpus = Rahul, Priyanka, Naidu, Mamata, Mayawati, Akhilesh, Pawar and Stalin. Result? NDA 350+ seats. The Mahagudbudbandhan 90+. Finis.
Now that the show is over, in a manner of speaking, and political pundits from all walks of life are exhibiting their punditry, unsurprisingly in ‘I told you so’ tones, watching the television news channels and reading ponderous opinion columns in newspapers (present company excepted!), can be a bit of a drag. Instead I thought it would be a smart idea to talk to a cross section of people drawn from different streams (politicians excluded) and pose them the same question. ‘Now that the General Elections are behind us, how do you feel life will change for you?’ A caveat. As the question was answered over Email, I cannot ensure authenticity of source, but it sounds pretty credible to me.
Prominent Stock Market Bull - ‘The NDA, helmed by the BJP, have always provided a fillip to the bourses. This time it will be no different. The Sensex and the Nifty are going bonkers. By the time this new five year term of the NDA ends, I confidently predict the Sensex will have breached 100,000 points.’
BCCI Chief - ‘The NDA’s stunning electoral victory will provide a huge boost to India’s World Cup chances in England. I was on long distance with Ravi Shastri. The boys in blue are chuffed with the results and they will dedicate the trophy to BJP’s new recruit, Gautam Gambhir. One more thing. After the World Cup a very prominent player will announce his retirement and join the BJP. Oh dear, I think I’ve said too much already. Mum’s the word. Bye Ravi.’
Famous Fashionista - ‘Saffron and khadi wear handmade, will be the way to go over the next decade. At least, certainly for the next five years. Western wear, Indian traditional kurtas, saris, dhotis, safari suits and much more will be flying off our shelves. The country will be engulfed in a blaze of saffron glory. I am planning fashion shows with the theme, ‘Go Saffron, Go India’ across all major cities of the world. Hoping the PM will agree to walk the ramp - at least in Delhi. Fingers crossed!’
Inebriated man in a Bangalore pub - ‘Shee bro, BJP Sheejaypee, what goesh my father, yaar? Sho long they don’t dishtroy pub culture. Alwaysh trying to shtop ush enjoying few drinksh with shome non-veg shnakes. Pleesh don’t do that, Sirjee. Otherwishe, I am fine. Hic! Cheeersh Modiji. You da man!’
Postscript: An Independent candidate from Jalandhar sobbed uncontrollably at a counting centre, ‘I have nine votes in my family, but secured only five votes. This is a shocking betrayal.’ He vowed never to contest again. Good call. The family that stays together slays together.
(The author is a brand consultant with an interest in music, cricket, humour and satire)...