Needed a Ghost-buster to unravel the mysteries that marked recently concluded Gujarat assembly election

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The BJP has registered a thumping victory in recently concluded assembly poll in Gujarat bagging 156 seats. Both the Prime Minister and Home Minister who along with several BJP chief ministers and big guns had virtually camped in that state for a long period to do whatever they could to secure victory for their party. As everyone had seen the common people of Gujarat were extremely aggrieved with the BJP governments, both at the Centre and in the state, because of the surfeit of anti-people policies which have been steamrolling them in every sphere of life. But when the election results were out, it appeared that the voters had forgotten all their hardships and ire and generously backed the party which they have been holding squarely responsible for all their miseries.
In fact, such mismatch between people’s expressed disillusionment with the ruling party and the recordings in the EVMs has been observed for quite some time. The BJP Prime Minister and his colleagues in the government and party had predicted the results immediately after voting was completed raising doubts as to whether the outcome was determined before the voters exercised their franchise.
The Gujarat results have also provided enough reasons for raising eyebrows. Before the election, a strong anti-incumbency mindset was glaringly visible. Everyone, right from the vote-specialists to the journalists as well as the BJP top brass had a hint of that. Just before the election, there were waves of movements of the state government employees. ASHA-Anganwadi workers, Health workers and others were on the path of the movement. To pacify them before the election, the state government had declared to have accepted their demands. But after managing to show a landslide victory, all the pre-poll assurances have been withdrawn.
People of Gujarat were also visibly annoyed with utter mismanagement of Covid 19 in the state and deliberate suppression of facts to play down the intensity of the pandemic. While as per government data, the number of deaths is 10,094. But the government itself has given compensation to more than 1 lakh 10 thousand people in the state. Surely the numbers do not tally. Unofficial sources put the number of dead at near about 4 lakhs. On the condition of anonymity, some government quarters also endorsed the unofficial figure. But election results show as if people were highly satisfied with the total mismanagement of the pandemic. A few days before the poll, the Morbi bridge collapse tragedy took away 140 precious lives. 50 of them were children. This was no freak accident or a natural calamity. It was sheer negligence and inexplicable irresponsibility on the part of the country that caused the disaster.
It came to be known that the government awarded the contract of maintenance and operation of the bridge to one Oreva group, a watch and e-bike manufacturing firm having no experience of handling such work for reasons better known to it. Oreva hired contractors who were not qualified enough to handle such work, left the main cable of the bridge unchanged during renovation and did not provide proper safety certificates were not obtained before allowing visitors to ride on it. The Oreva authorities skirted any punitive action against it by branding the tragedy as ‘‘will of God’’. Even in a country where infrastructure is often dilapidated, the bridge disaster is one of the worst in decades and has triggered widespread condemnation and demands for accountability. The local people were seething in anger. Before the day of voting, BJP workers did not dare to go for campaigning in Morbi. The common people of Morbi stopped auto rickshaw used for BJP’s poll campaign. Yet, the BJP candidate bagged the Morbi seat by securing over one lakh vote.
Next point is about the pattern of voting. In the first phase, initially, it was declared that the voting percentage is 60.11%. But later it was revised to be 63.14%. Similarly, in second phase, percentage of voting as per first declaration was just 58.8%. But on revision the Election Commission declared final figure to be 65.3%. No plausible explanation was received about this significant jump after ‘recalculation’.
According to media reports and statistics from Election Commission, the voters thronged at the booths in large number after 5.00 pm. What worked behind this sudden change in the mood of the voter at the penultimate moment?
In Ghatlodia constituency, from where the BJP Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel won by a record breaking vote, the total voters are 3,52,340. Out of that, 2,57,411 people voted. This amounts to 73.05% of voting. But Election commission declared the voting percentage to be 59.62%! How could this happen? No one knows…. Similar discrepancies were noticed in other constituencies as well. Moreover, as per media report, up to 5 pm, it took about 60-65 seconds for each voter to vote. But after 5.00 pm, the time got reduced to 40-45 seconds per voter!
Another surprising incident happened in Matar, a predominantly rural constituency, which was also won by the BJP. But most of the villagers there had gathered in the form of public meeting after the election result. They said that they had voted for the Congress. How could the BJP emerge victorious? Media report says that the people are in the mood to challenge the election result. In Ellisbridge Constituency no. 44 in Ahmedabad, it was noticed that during counting, EVM machine’s display board was showing that polling ended at 4.55/56. But counting was extended beyond 5.00 pm in most of the constituencies.
Then who were the voters who voted after 5 pm and how is that EVM incorporated them within 4.55 pm? Some Media Report mentioned that VVPAT had reached Strong Room in the morning of the day after the polling day. Were those VVPAT machines roaming independently without EVMs? No answer.
Regrettably, the Election Commission virtually worked as a ‘yes man’ of the ruling dispensation. Both PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah went to cast their votes in the form of roadshows. The BJP leaders, including the PM, did not refer to any people’s issue during their campaigns but openly played the communal card. Yet, the Election Commission remained mute spectator to such gross violation of electoral codes.
Finally, chart showing voting details of some constituencies in Vadodara would be revealing—
These are some of the mysteries that marked the concluded assembly election in Gujarat. Clearly, only a ghost-buster can unravel the extramundane mysteries.

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