One Step Forward Two Steps Back


It is part of common sense today that we must at any cost preserve and protect trees to ensure our survival.BJP leaders too sometimes repeat this proposition like a spell.Yet whenever it comes to the crunch they feel little compunction in decimating trees to serve their crudest  interests.Some time back a large number of growing middle-size trees were razed to the ground to enlarge space for easy access to  an election meeting addressed by Prime Minister Modi.Today under a blazing sun scores of trees had been hacked down to make room for a road show in Guwahati where Home Minister Amit Shah is to speak.This ruthlessness is something that people find disagreeable about BJP. And that unease and distaste has now spread to sections of the middle class.Surely if it served their purpose they would think nothing of razing the Constitution in a fell swoop.Getting wind of this trend in popular perception BJP leaders are getting apprehensive and come out with all guns blazing.All guns means ALL guns.

The media and the social media are rife with remarks confidently predicting a steep fall in the number of seats to be won by BJP Some even calculate the number in advance as around two hundred!. Things are not going as smoothly as those leading the flock had planned.

Time has arrived to speak one’s mind on BJP’s  performance and promises.More and more people ARE coming round to denounce the uncontrollable price spiral and the abysmal record in creating employment through ‘jobless growth’. The crusade against Muslims and Christians so resounding about eight or ten months back has shrunk into a corner as leaders are busy wooing voters from those communities.One wonders where Bajrang Dal has disappeared. Some signs of teetering confidence and desperate efforts to stem the tide have been seen in the scenario laboriously erected by BJP.Massive rallies and roadshows with thundering speeches by top leaders.Tall claims of achievements and inflated promises.

The decision of the ECI to club together the PM’s clear and flagrant breach of Model Code of Conduct and Rahul Gandhi’s mistake which is akin to a slip of the tongue or an excess of rhetoric has drawn a predictable outcry.

 Many voices are openly expressing deep suspicion of EVMs.Even from the ranks of well-heeled business circles and ageing elite sections.For given the record of past ten years up to DoorDarshan logo changing from blue to saffron the fears about a planned change in the very character of the state can no longer be ruled out as  false alarm.It is a pity the Supreme Court has turned a deaf year to innumerable cries of concern and mistrust which by no means can be dismissed as cranky responses.Right from voter casting vote through  final tally of votes cast  matching those of parties in contest to the functioning of VVPAT,  the EVMs are apparently multi-unit machines with different units responding to different software instructions,and each functioning  independently, to resist hacking.

Analysts have shown clearly that this assumption can no longer hold.These have been demonstrably hackable.Besides the plea of manufacturers guaranteeing failsafe functioning and checking any deviation in performance of such units betrays an indisputable conflict of interest.

The SC has to be approached again pointing out errors in the judgment that not only depends on inadequate technical knowledge(judges are not experts in technology) but on the dubious plea of those under a cloud.Given the precarious  condition of the BJP and the presumption of loyalty of ECI to a selection committee already dogged by concerns about conflict of interest in its composition,the growing uproar about EVMs should persuade the SC to take a more informed and critical view of the EVMs.True,the elections may not be stopped now and it perhaps need not mean a total scrutiny of VVPATs.But a significant percentage of constituencies based on consensus has got to be checked to satisfy the opposition as well as the general public.

Hiren Gohain is a political commentator

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