General Elections 2014 – Day 72

In a few hours from now, the country will definitely know the composition of the 16th Lok Sabha and most probably the name of its next Prime Minister. Is the fate of this great nation going to take a bold right turn as predicted or the old school socialist paradigm will triumph over all odds is going to be known soon. Is 2014 going to be a watershed election with a collective referendum for majoritarianism or a decisive rejection of dynastic rule is something future historians will ponder about. As of today though, all the parties were in huddle chalking out last minute strategy before facing the mandate of the people.

BJP President Rajnath Singh was involved in a marathon meeting with RSS functionary Suresh Soni in New Delhi today. Discussions were primarily about the probable changes in organisation of the party post elections. According to BJP’s constitution, there is a rule of one post per person. Thus if Rajnath Singh indeed joins the government like reports suggests, there will be a vacancy for party President. Amit Shah, Modi’s Man Friday later joined the meeting.Reports suggest that the pesky issue of what role to be assigned to senior functionaries like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi was also discussed.

Later in the day, Rajnath Singh reportedly offered Advani the post of Speaker in the next LokSabha.Advani has not outrightly rejected the proposal and has sought some time to ponder over it. Sushma Swaraj who earlier expressed her displeasure with some decisions taken by Team Modi appears to be falling in line and has expressed desire to get one of the big -4 Ministry i.e. any one out of Home, Defence, Finance and External Affairs.

Ever witty Omar Abdullah today chirped in Twitter about the churning taking place in BJP even before the announcement of result. He said that he has heard of bruised ego during government formation but here bickering has started before counting itself!!

Anticipating victory, massive orders of laddus and firecrackers have been given by BJP leaders. In the party headquarters itself, conservative estimates suggest over 1 lakh laddus will be stacked up for distribution as soon as the “good news” starts to trickle in. Top chefs are working overtime so that the victory can leave a sweet taste at mouth.

While there is an air of nervous excitement and anticipation in one side, the feeling is of gloom and doom in the opponent camp. Congress if Exit Polls are true is all slated to slump to a historical low. Expectedly the mood is sombre in the Congress camp. The party in the last few days have been in an overdrive to protect Rahul Gandhi from being blamed for this anticipated fiasco. This protectionism got a new dimension today. Much to the bewilderment of onlookers’ party have removed all hoardings in its headquarters which prominently projected Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. Those have been replaced by hoardings bearing only the party symbol.

Party spokespersons today attended a meeting where they were briefed about possible combat strategy to explain the loss. Today Congress M.P Sandeep Dikshit conceded that he will lose the elections. Sandeep son of Sheila Dikshit is a two time M.P from East Delhi. He candidly blamed party’s campaign strategy and huge amount of anti-incumbency for the probable loss. Sandeep however stopped short of saying that his party will also lose the elections overall.

Another Congress leader Rashid Alvi though has virtually given up hope. He has admitted that Congress will find it difficult to form the next government. But he has given a new twist to the Third Front equation propping up the name of Mamata Banerjee. According to Alvi, Mamata’s secular credentials are incredible and she is extremely honest and competent to lead the nation!!

But where does it leave the prince of Congress, Rahul Gandhi? Few people even know where he is currently. The party had to defend attack from opposition parties who questioned Rahul’s conspicuous absence in the farewell dinner of Manmohan Singh hosted by Sonia Gandhi. NDA ally ShivSena said that Rahul is a foreigner, who comes to India for vacation!! BJP leaders labelled Rahul’s absence as an insult to the Prime Minister. Even AAP criticised Rahul Gandhi for not turning up for the dinner.

Congress leaders though tried to play down the issue saying that their Vice President left India after thanking the Prime Minister and taking his permissions. Rajiv Shukla alleged that BJP and ShivSena have made it a habit to attack the Gandhi family. Ajay Maken said that their leader has taken some time off after a “gruelling campaign”. He said that Rahul Gandhi will be back by Thursday night. On the question of whether he will take responsibility for an impending defeat, the leaders were ambivalent.

Rahul Gandhi has answered the notice which was issued to him by the Election Commission. Congress Vice President landed himself in trouble for saying in a rally that if Modi wins, 22,000 people will die. Rahul in his reply to the EC said that he was merely alluding to the perception of people and it can’t be construed as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa has sacked senior leader K. Malaiswamy from the party for saying that the party is interested in keeping close ties with BJP. Many believe Jayalalithaa who is famous for keeping people guessing till the very end was crossed with Malaiswamy for giving away her game plan.

DMK though has categorically stated that they are not contemplating joining NDA. According to party spokesperson T K S Elangovan, they are in favour of a “secular” government in the centre. He explained the political rationale by saying that DMK enjoys support of large sections of minorities and it will not be prudent for them to support Modi, who is still denounced for Gujarat riots of 2002.

TRS which is likely to form the first government of Telengana is in two minds regarding extending support to NDA. BJP is currently in alliance with TDP in soon to be bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. This makes it difficult for TRS to have any business with the saffron outfit. But there is a feeling among some sections of the party that a new state will be greatly benefited from a friendly government in the centre. K T Rama Rao, son of Chandrasekhar Rao said that a final decision will be taken tomorrow post results.

Today there was repolling in 5 booths in Nagaland. Surprisingly not a single person bothered to turn up for voting!! They were reportedly resenting the decision of EC ordering a repoll.

Tomorrow though EC officials will literally have their hand full in counting nearly 55 crore votes. Counting will take place at 989 centres across India. It will start at 8 A.M and postal ballots will be counted first. More than 17 lakh EVM’s have the answer to the future of 8,251 candidates, including 668 women and five transgenders. A definite trend is likely to emerge by 11-11.30 A.M and soon we will know if indeed people of India have given a decisive mandate. Some will rejoice while others will break down in despair. But finally the voice of the people in the largest democracy of the world will have the last word.

We will be back to give you detailed account of the “Judgement Day”.