Elections have always been at least a little dirty.
No political campaign can be complete without unseemly actors stirring trouble, duping voters and raising the spectre of violence. Political mischief is as old as politics itself, and our country has countless examples.
Every single political party in our country has used the tactics of fake news, bribing media and exploiting caste tensions to con the common man and win the elections.
Another great Indian Political Circus is going to unveil very soon which will make the fortunes of these con men and mar the fortunes of us, the common men for another five years.
Then, the dirty game will be played yet again…..and again!
Surprisingly, it does not start dirty but it gets murkier with the flow. At least, that’s what we are made to believe. These con men will build up their manifesto playing their policy cards, which allows them to make their desired campaign promises.
Believe me; it can be really alluring; as fascinating as providing employment, eradicating poverty, increasing foreign investment, strengthening national borders and so on.
Aren’t they enticing enough to influence the common man; they are. But unfortunately, its life is only still they begin their dirty fighting.
All or any of those influences staked out in the manifesto phase is just nullified in this phase, which is the brutal campaigning phase. It is at this juncture, that the fickleness and the deceitful strategy of their ideologies really get exposed.
Money power and muscle power is what these con men will be using to play their new set of cards which are meant to either boost their own influence or detract from their opponents.
These cards are unfortunately double-faced. What the common man sees is the side which shows them trying to boost their influence which looks sincerely legal, like door-to-door campaigning or holding a rally. But it’s the back of the card that holds the true illegal picture, which unfortunately the common man does not get to see. Colluding with the mafia or using black money for campaigning are just diluted examples of it.
These con men are also adept in using campaign cards that can damage their opponents’ influence, most commonly by levelling baseless corruption allegations. The basic intent is to get the common man to make negative decisions.
Apart from all the master cards that they play, they also have our religious and caste beliefs with them, which is their Joker card. Actually, they use the common man as the joker.
Appealing to the common man using the caste or religion card is the easiest way to garner instant support. This card allows these con men to mobilise an entire religious sect, the backward castes, the forward castes and so on; even a cross-religion and cross-caste alliance, if that seems to be the need of the hour.
The common man shouldn’t be surprised to suddenly see a wild card being used too, which can be anything from an economic recession to the death of a prominent leader. These wild cards help the con men to get the elections take an interesting turn. One such card could even be a communal riot; if used by one con man, would give the opportunity to all the other opposing con men to use a befitting caste or religion based card immediately to counter it.
The quickest mode of spreading misinformation these days is the digital campaign. These are the cards these con men use to spread fake news to boost their influence.
Fortunately, they have a trump card, the WhatsApp. This is the most common trope in India about the misinformed and unsuspecting common man who becomes prolific sharers of misinformation and propaganda.
The common man is made to believe that there is an Ombudsman to their rescue, the Election Commission. Unfortunately, it is just a mirage.
It’s the con men who have the power to invoke this demi-god, but they have to mutually agree to invoke it before employing it against their opponents’ move.
If one con man even has the slightest intention of doing it, he will be immediately reminded by the others of an earlier favour they did to him and now it is his turn to back them up.
The common man is blindfolded throughout this dirty game of politics. He is made to believe that he is making the move whereas in reality he is actually the pawn.
By the time the common man opens his eyes; the game is already over and won.
The hour of the con man has begun.