The funniest ad in the idiot screen: ‘Aap election ke time par vote nehi dete hai to aap sho rahe hain.’ The young man with sprouting beard is not exactly pleading for awakening the people for exercising franchise. He is selling TATA Tea. TATA is a respected name in business world and he has the right and money to flood the screen with ads. But selling tea and hawking for vote do not really go well together. It’s like mixing the finest French wine with Russian Vodka. However, the young advertiser was able to sell to me the slogan: Jagore.com. I was already awake about the real colours of the skin and soul of Indian elections but the ad induced me to share other aspects of Jagore.com with you all; especially the Youngistan voters. Having seen Indian elections since 1952 as a school kid, managing a couple of these exercises during service career in the IB, manipulating a few on orders of the ruling cabal and witnessing the bones, marrows, and soul of the Indian electoral process I had lapsed into a chasm of contradictions. I am really horrified about witnessing the 15th Great Election Tamasha. Some commentators say: It is a vibrant and buoyant democracy. As a staunch believer in democracy I often regretted that I had to tinker with the people’s mandates on behalf of certain ruling cabals and on the other hand I was astonished at the innovative genius of our political breed and gullibility of Indian voters. Indian democracy is sustained by its electoral process. That is the lowest strata from where the process starts and ends up in the consummation of the Parliament, the podium of Indian democracy, which determines the fate of the nation.
Thanks to Doordarshan. Indians are able to witness real time performance our parliamentarians; some politicians, some goons, mafia dons, criminals and some moneybags. To witness the sordid affairs in the parliament remind me of my primary school, where the old teacher, hard of hearing and partly blind tolerated everything that happened in the room; provided his slumber was not disturbed. Our pranks included every possible nuisance, though innocent. Our Speaker is like my primary teacher, blinded and silenced by the rule books. He can, like Somnath Chatterjee cry and comment sadly that the House had become a market place. IN any case, to avoid military dictatorship and total matsayanaya (anarchy) we have to vote and elect some politicians and some anti-socials. The System and the Establishment have to run on rails with frequent derailment.
However, election time, since 1967-68 has become a festival time. Under the kaleidoscopic process my discerning eyes and mind could identify and silently record the aberrations, circumventions and blatant interferences that have become integral parts of the election process.
Come April and India would turn to a continent of Sorceress, jokers, marauding animals, murderers, violent eruptions and of course, money spinning business enterprises. The election magic would unfold with all the accompanying tamashas and. It would scintillate millions of minds and strengthen the saying that Cricket is the religion of India and election is the greatest employment generator. Election is a ritual that has to be performed like any other rituals are performed for allowing the system to continue on or off the rails. For a humble street-side Indian like me too much of excitement produces more pancreatic juices in half empty or totally empty stomach and my inability to reach the goodies distributed by the political parties on the eve of election with deliverance of tons of promises generates more frustration. My inability to pick up the election goodies in not for physical inability; it is partly metaphysical and partly my unfortunate location in a so-called gentlemen inhabited area and my scorching exposé to the hell-fire of electoral process in certain capacity during my service life.
Had I lived in a slum or jhuggi cluster I would have been richer by few hundred bucks, couple of Indian manufactured foreign liquors (IMFL), some saris and at least a pair of blankets besides handsome cash. The idiot that I am, I live in a no man’s area; neither a posh colony nor a slum. Often my name is stuck off from the electoral rolls along with thousands of suspected creatures, who in the perception of the ruling Palm Party, are suspected fifth columns and are likely to vote for the Lotus Party.
No joke. It happened to me and other 4000 voters who went to cast vote in the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections. Our names were struck off with pen ink by the election officer of the area. On RTI query it was learnt that the officer concerned was a school superintendent and was directed by a leader of the Palm Party to strike our names out of voter list as we were suspected Lotus Party supporters. I swear I have nothing to do with either the Palm or the Lotus. Yet I was targeted simply because I have been a strident critic of systemic aberrations and misuse of the election process by our politicians. I have been, in my private life, highly critical of the corrupt electoral process and role played by four Ms: Money, Muscle, Madira and Maidens. I need not bore you with my 12 year old experiences. Let me share with you some very advanced techniques of Indian election that I happened to witness only 5 years ago.
It so happened that I was required to visit a number of parliamentary constituencies in 2004 in Purvanchal (near about Balia), Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra mandated by a consortium of cephologists. I happened to befriend a Palm Party master mind in charge of Bihar constituencies (prabhari). Personally he was opposed to poll adjustment with RJD, but was compelled by the highest in the party to cooperate. I decided to adopt my friend as the model organiser of the election circus. Materials I reproduce below were borrowed from the command process of my friend who briefed the party candidates on what all they were required to do from step one (securing party ticket) to step two (preparations), execution process and management issues.
Nearly 200 aspirants were seated in a hall waiting to have a darshan of the leader seated in an isolated room with a single aide, couple of large suitcases stacked in a corner and surprisingly me, an outsider, who happened to earn confidence of the mighty prabhari (in charge) for the state of Bihar. One by one the 200 odd aspirant lambs appeared for darshan simply to plead for a party ticket. The prabhari had a fixed drill. The aide ritually collected a briefcase and emptied the currency notes in the suitcases and the lamb seated himself with folded hands and apologetic smile and sunken hungry looks.
It is difficult to narrate all the 200 odd lamb’s encounter with the prabhari. However, I structured a model from what I heard and seen to sensitise my cranium and to realize that the ritual of election had added on many adjuncts, which were not intended to parts of the holy democratic process prescribed in the Constitution and the Representation of Peoples’ Act etc and other laws of the land. I presumed that some of my visitors were well conversant with the rituals. They followed the drill like disciplined soldiers of the Palm Party. (Do not misread me: Lotus and other parties also follow the same ritual with some modifications crafted by their expert technicians.
However, those who are victims of the TATA tea ad and feel allured to turn up to the polling centre, may like to glance through the following paragraphs as ramblings of an old foggy who turned a holy cynic tiger after eating hundreds of humans and animals. I promise I am not a clawless and toothless foggy tiger. I learnt while doing certain jobs and I share what I learnt from the Bihar prabhari. So, be prepared to be shocked.
Prabhari Ubacha (the in charge said):
1.What you have given here is the darshan money. It qualifies you to be short listed and your name to be forwarded by the Pradesh party to the High Command (HC). The High Command (whosoever it might be) would be the final arbitrator. The HC is helped by A, B. C. & D (no name please).
2.Once your name is forwarded, go over to Delhi with a few supporters meet A, B, C, & D with adequate lubricants. Carry trunk full of money. Do not forget to meet X Patel. He is the conscience keeper of the HC. Satisfy him with the demanded amount. The final satisfaction lay with the HC. If you have any conduit to reach the HC, spend lavishly and reach there. The entire process may cost you rupees 10 million.
3.Once you figure in the honour list you have to take several steps to jump into the real election war. Do not treat it as election. It is a war against your opponents and this war has to be fought with all the weapons you have. I am here to suggest some of weapons and ingredients that go in winning an election war. Remember one cardinal point. You have to generate hundreds of temporary employment to run the machine. Keep apart 10 million for the heads you have to hire.
4.Suppose you have 4 state assembly constituencies in your constituency. Divide each assembly segment into 6 operational zones and appoint a core team of managers with a reliable person as the chief manager. They should in turn appoint similar controlling and operational bodies in a cluster of 5 panchayats. Each lower formation should be composed keeping in view the caste composition. Say in panchayat cluster R you have mostly Chamar voters with assorted Bhangis, Nais, Sutars, Mallhas etc, include adequate representative from each caste. These are your front fortifications.
5.Take care that your opponents from Lotus, Cycle and Laltin (lantern) parties have considerable access amongst low caste voters take necessary steps to neutralize them. If necessary use some of the Senas (private armies) and Naxals to reduce their influences. Do not shy away from violence. Remember, violence is the mother of this universe. We all are here because our beginning started with a violent Big Bang. Spend lavishly to win over the caste votes. Keep apart 10.5 millions.
6.Form a core managing body at the centre of your activity. Staff that with loyal relatives and friends and only loyal party followers. Do not neglect the existing stalwarts. Maintain low profile before them and keep them happy with whatever resources they require feeling happy-wine, entertainment (perhaps maidens), money and of course lots of promises. Do not annoy the Thakur, Brahmin, Bhumihar and important of all the kayasth stalwarts. In final count they and the urban middle caste influence the opinion making process. The kayasths are low profile snakes. If you neglect they would sure bite. However, to neutralize some of the recalcitrant upper caste stalwarts do not hesitate to use force. You can use Senas and the lower castes to initiate caste war and exploit the situation the way you prefer.
7.If the lower caste voters go against you use the upper castes to burn their villages and kill a couple of the untouchables.
8.If the Muslims show recalcitrance engineer communal riots. Get villages burnt and kill a few scores. They would run to the Palm automatically. After all, the Palm has been promising them the secular shield all these years. They would prefer the Palm over sure death.
9.Yes. If certain segmental areas are dominated by the Muslims woo them adequately. Promise them reservation in education, services, recruitment in Army and Police and Haj subsidy at higher rates, establishment of Urdu University, and any other local demand they may have. Shed tons of tear in the name of secularism. These Muslim lambs have been our vote bank for 50 odd years. Be sure that minimum 13 to 15% of your voters are Muslims and all these votes are denied to Cycle and Laltin. The Lotus people have no hold on them. Remind them that the Palm has always protected them and the Palm is the symbol of secularism that has ensured minority safety by inserting Article 25 to 30 in the Constitution of India, despite opposition from several quarters. The promises made by the Palm party in 1916 and scrupulously followed in 1935 were included in the Constitution mainly to ensure that they would unhesitatingly support the Palm.
10.It is possible that some minority leaders may lean to Cycle, Laltin and hammer & sickle. Try to neutralize them by using violence; if necessary by hiring goons from outside your constituency. There are plenty of such hands in Delhi, UP and other states. You may even engage some mafia and smuggling dons to take care of them. There should be no shortage of guns and bullets.
11.I would tell you first about the structural formations that you would require fighting the election. Listen to me on the logistics that you would require to win this Mahabharata war.
12.Contact the professional shadow voter suppliers from neighbouring constituencies. Hire about 10000 shadow voters in advance and get their voter ID card prepared and ensure that their names find place in voter list. The shadow voter contractors would require about Rs. 10 lakhs inclusive of honorarium for the proxy voters. Add another 5 lakhs for their secret accommodation at different places with full supply of whisky and other drinks, TV sets, cooks and all other facilities. Obviously provide for their transport arrangements. Be ready to spent 10.8 million rupees.
13.Hire about 50 pehlwans from different akharas. They would be your basic muscle power to be used in thwarting booth capture by your opposition candidates, to silence your adversaries and to storm certain polling booths that you are required to capture. Bear the cost.
14.Immediately order 10,000 bottles of IMFL (Indian manufactured foreign liquor and Theka Sharab Desi. Store these at secret locations. Tap breweries in Nepal, Bengal and Sikkim. Do not tap local suppliers. These have to be distributed in sensitive areas about 3 to 1 day before election to induce cluster voters.
15.Order 500 cell phones and 700 SIM cards to be procured from reliable vendors and if necessary from neighbouring states. These would be required by your area in charges, booth managers, block managers etc. Keep a secret record.
16.Order 300 handheld VHF sets to be used by booth in charges, your control room and group leaders of the shadow voters. All efforts should be made that communication between your field workers and your control room is smooth.
17.Procure 10000 saris, 10000 dhotis, plenty of bindis, churiyas, cosmetics, and blankets for presenting to target voters among the low caste segments. Keep enough cash @ 500 for individual voters and @ 2000 for sardars, mukhis, and pradhans. These have to be distributed only on the eve of the polling day.
18.Hire singers to compose catchy tunes mimicking popular bollywood and Bhojpurui hit songs to be recorded in cassettes, disc and circulated free amongst voters. These would also be used your propaganda vehicles at weekly hats, market places and other places where people turn up in great numbers.
19.Hire video film makers and get quality video films made linking you with the common toiling people. There should some shots showing you harvesting, planting and even cleaning garbage. You should look like one of the villagers clad in ordinary or scanty clothes. Also such video should connect you directly with the glorious leaders of the HC and the long traditions of the Palm Party. Circulate these video/DVD discs free of cost.
20.Contact PR men in Mumbai and hire at least two top male and two female cine artists to perform in your constituency, deliver lecture in your favour and appeal for the victory of the Palm. Tie up with the HC, as they have panels of such film artists who generally campaign for the party.
21.Hire in advance at least two helicopters to be used by you and the HC people for electioneering. Suggest contact the HC. They have panels of helicopter and small aircraft suppliers. Go by the wisdom of the HC. They have permanent give and take arrangements with the suppliers.
22.Now for local use hire at least 200 Latahaits (musclemen equipped with long bamboo batons) to frighten and maim recalcitrant voters and also to silence your opponents in your own party and in the opposition parties.
23.Purchase in advance at least 50 jeeps and hire as many required to ensure mobility of your campaigners. Tap the Kolkata markets.
24.Hire street corner drama groups from local and Delhi/Kolkata art and dance institutes for performing in busy places. Some efficient script writers should be hired to write catchy skits in favour of you and the Palm Party.
25.Book nearly a dozen hotel rooms for your guests like film artists, and important media persons.
26.Engage someone reliable as your media manager. He would mobilize print and electronic media persons for projecting you as the sure winner candidate and to vilify your opponents. Keep some scandalous stories ready about your opponents to be publicized at crucial moments of campaigning. Remember that the more you besmirch your opponents the better glow you add to your persona.
27.Engage at least 5 sleek operators who would be tagged with the observers from the Election Commission. No effort should be made to affront them. Rather they should be pampered as much as possible. Your managers should try to find out the background of each observer and modify their approach to suit the personality of the concerned observer.
28.Remain on the right side of the DG Police, Range DIG and district SPs. Befriend as many thana darogas as possible. If possible get officers of your choice posted in police stations where your position is shaky. Remember police can influence more than two third of the voters. We still live in feudal society and police is Mai baap. Feed them as they demand. Do not try to save money. The more you spend better returns you would get once you are elected to the parliament. If you spent 10 crores you can earn 500 crores in 5 years. How? I would tell you the ways and means later.
29.Yes. Look out for important Muslim maulanas, musclemen and gunners who would campaign for you amongst the Muslim voters, maim them if necessary and use the guns where necessary. Use of the gun should be secular in nature—applicable to all religious groups as and when the situation demands to maim, kill, frighten and capture booths. Hire some from Nepal. Their face would be unknown.
30.Most important point is procurement of ink removers. To caste shadow votes repeatedly your voters would require removing the election ink mark. These ampules are sold cheap at Burra Bazaar in Kolkata. Procure at least 3000 ampules and distribute to every booth in charge.
31.Liaise with the DG Police so that only state police and Home Guards are posted near the booth and Central polices are deployed in peripheral areas. Raise the bogey of Naxal interference and get the Central police shifted to remote areas to chase the Naxals. Try to influence some Naxals to create some trouble in your constituency so that the EC understand your argument better.
32.Obviously you will have block committees, booth committees, and booth volunteers on payment and transport arrangements. They should be paid handsomely as daily retaining charges and food and entertainment (liquid).
33. Just to remind you please rehearse the voting-delay tactics by raising frequent objections, booth capturing technology, Shadow voting science and plundering a few booth and destroying the EVMs where the going is not good for you. Deny this pleasure to your opponents where they want to outwit you.
34.Obtain some propaganda material from HC but get your own materials prepared from other states so that the EC cannot guess your expenditure limits.
35.Yes. Appoint a good and crafty CA who would fudge your election expense account and most of the expenditures would not be reflected the in the balance shit. Maintain two books. One for the EC and one for yourself. Remember you have to realize more than ten times the money you spend from the people of this country after you get elected. That is democracy: it is right of the people to be ruled by a privileged few who win at the cost of the people and bleed the people after winning. Democracy has a price to be paid. Everything has a price. Is not it?
36.So much for the pre-poll instructions. I would, as Bihar Prabhari, come again to teach you the exact polling procedure, rigging procedures and precautions to be taken on counting days.
37.Separate lessons would be given on the technology of frightening, maiming, killing and subduing your opponents. Application of the tools of killing is a different science. These are only a few tips on the technology of election. Wait for my next visit. I have more for you and other candidates. After the two day-long long educational sessions I emerged as a wiser person. Just made a meek query: Brother how much a candidate has to spend? He lighted a cigarette, offered me one and smiled mysteriously. Finally he broke silence: Democracy is a costly affair friend. In this particular constituency the Palm Party candidate has to spend 10 crores. Some constituencies may be costlier depending on the situation.
I pondered on way back to Delhi as to the total money that would be spent in this particular constituency. Palm Party 10 crores, Lotus Party 8 crores, Cycle Party 5 crores, Laltin party 7 crores, and the Elephant Party minimum 4 crores and independents minimum 1 crore. That means 33-35 crores would be spend in one constituency. Therefore in average for the 525 constituencies a total amount of nearly 18, 000 crores would be spent by the candidates only. What about the government expenses? I shuddered to imagine. What a great circus! Democracy indeed is a very costly cracy.
However, I do not discourage you from voting. I specially appeal to the Youngistan voters and affluent segments of the society who normally do not turn out for voting. Go to Jagore.com and enlist yourself and come forward to change the rotten system. You have no idea about how the system functions. You need not avoid voting simply because the system is wrong. Please vote with vengeance to elect the correct person from your constituency who you believe would the best out of the entire rut. Please do not vote for the mafia, gangster, criminals, collaborators of the foreign Jihadis, known corrupt and looters and dacoits. Your democracy should be your choice: the correct choice. If you can elect at least 100 good MPs that would contribute a lot to maintain sanity inside the holy precinct we call Parliament. They would be able to work as watchdogs; the dogs have a reputation to run after loaves of meat even if they are domesticated and have been taught the ways of civilized way of eating. Even if a few out of the 100 indulge in money for question practices do not get discouraged. Your discretion and constant pressure only can rectify the rotten System. Please vote to defeat the rut and try to bring our democracy back on the rails.
I have only recorded certain ground realities about which you may not be aware. Truth is often ugly. This should embolden your resolve to vote with vengeance-TATA tea or no TATA tea to turn the ugly to beautiful.
(Note:Readers who are keen to know details of the Technology of Election in Indian Democracy may like to read my books: We the People of India: A Story of Gangland Democracy –English and Gangland Democracy-Chunavi Goondaraj-Hindi. This is no solicitation. Just an added value to the essay)