April 30: When democracy took a break in Didi’s Bengal

On the morning of April 30, reports of unprecedented scale of rigging came thick and fast from South Bengal. Several booths showed 90% polling by 11am; the best one to beat: a booth in Howrah district’s Amta area saw 100% polling by 9am, just 2 hours after booth opened!

A concerned citizen of India would expect such reports would send alarm bells ringing at Nirvachan Sadan (Election Commission) in New Delhi. And that its West Bengal in-charge would monitor the situation on a minute-to-minute basis; rework the deployment of available security personnel; and issue public appeals to the terrorized voters to vote freely + fairly with confidence in the integrity of the process. Exactly the opposite happened. The Bengal EC in-charge mysteriously disappeared that fateful morning without anyone being able to reach him even on phone! He appeared later in the afternoon when the voter rolls were swept clean. The 9 constituencies in South Bengal had registered a massive 82% turnout.

For the ruling party in Kolkata, it was just another easy morning. From a projected 5-4 split in prior opinion polls (for the seats that went to polls on April 30), Mamata Didi now looks set to a sweep it clean 9-0. Every single constituency was systematically rigged to its knees. The opposition voter was terrorized and shunted out of voting booth. The strongest candidates of BJP: Bappi Lahiri, PC Sorcar, and Chandan Mitra would probably bite dust on May 16 for no fault of their own.

This takes the cake: Our learned Election Commissioners in New Delhi spent 3 full hours (yes, you read it right, 3 full hours) in an emergency meeting that very morning to discuss Modi taking selfie with lotus in Western India. Meanwhile, our democracy wept in Eastern India.

Does EC have its priorities upside down? I never thought the country could be let down by the highly respected EC in the manner it was on April 30.

Time to wonder. Would May 16 results reflect the true aspirations of people in Bengal? Or just the true aspirations of the voting machines and the ruling party?

References:

  1. High turnout: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/lok-sabha-elections-2014/news/High-turnout-rigging-charges-mark-Bengal-poll/articleshow/34442790.cms
  2. Youth4Democracy: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202839084592692&set=gm.693469927380744
  3. Soft rigging: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140501/jsp/frontpage/story_18297804.jsp
  4. The Quixotic EC: http://www.mediacrooks.com/2014/05/the-quixotic-ec.html

#LetDownByEC