A do-or-die affair in Bihar poll?

Bikram Vohra
Bikram Vohra

Bikram Vohra

By : Bikram Vohra

The magnificent obsession with the Bihar elections just been built up into a crescendo by the media to create a watershed effect. A nation of 29 states and 7 Union Territories being force fed this singular political protein as if India’s future depended on it has reached the point of absurdity. It is an election in one state and important as that is in itself it is not a do or die affair.

Nothing is going to dramatically change regardless of who wins. Modi is still going to be the prime minister, Bihar is still going to be a state that is largely ignored whether Nitish Kumar retains his power or the BJP-led alliance overturns his stake. Just because you make a Rubik’s cube of all the permutations and combinations and foist them on the public does not mean that this snarl is indicative of a major upheaval. Get your colors in a line and stop being so frenetic. One poll gives BJP-led NDA 119 seats and the RJD (two Janatas and the Congress) 116. Another reverses the numbers. A third is leaping in a totally different direction.

So then, why is the media creating such a fuss? Because it lemmings itself. If one media entity starts running with this ball and ups the ante then everyone else follows suit. It’s just a stampede of the fourth estate vanities. There are about 20 odd surveys floating about and all of them underscore media self-importance more than any great soothsaying.

Sure, no one is stupid and if the BJP wins it is mud in the eye for Nitish and shows that the Modi magic endures. Even if it increases its tally from 91, it’s a plus sign for it.

There is an incumbent and there is a challenger. There seems to be some unspoken ‘hope’ that if Modi loses it is hardcore evidence that his charm is waning. There is far more exciting story value in that then there is in Modi winning.

Let’s be honest. The ripple effect will not even touch the Center. Two weeks from today the waters will calm down and life in Bihar will carry on much the same as before.

The oddest element is the nearly month-long span for this 5-phase election. So many days to create so many scenarios and such superb raw material to ignite passion and rage and confrontation, all of these capable of creating chaos across this state before the later phases not to mention the slew of varied accusations that will soon begin to whizz around.

Someone out there must recognize the liquid logic of this decision and share it with those of us who are totally confounded. What is the genius behind these five phases?

Doesn’t this extended period add to the tension and won’t the pundits and mandarins and survey takers have a ball projecting the exit polls and directly affecting the voting pattern of the next phase.

Is this fair? You cannot canvas but you can influence minds and vote patterns by conjuring up figures from thin air. You can even lie blatantly because airing home-baked survey results doesn’t make anyone accountable.

It’s like a 26 day horse race commentary and the chatter will drive us insane.

The fact is it’s all guess work and nothing, as I said, will change because the more things change the more they stay the same.


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