Saturday, June 22, 2024

Speaking statistics

By now everyone has read the constituency-wise break-up of votes polled for all three candidates to the 18th Lok Sabha election, held on April 19, 2024, the counting of which took place on June 4, issued by the Election Commission, Nagaland. Our political parties must be still dissecting and analyzing the statistics, which is a good thing because these numbers are speaking volumes and indicative of future elections. These statistics also indicate that nothing remains static in the minds and hearts of the people. Most significantly, these statistic, although of only forty out of the sixty constituencies in the State, underscore that when people take ownership of their right to exercise their franchise based on their conscience, they will do the needful. And, it really doesn’t matter which party or candidate they vote for ~ what matters is that they are not influenced, induced and seduced by money, muscle power, unrealizable promises, clan, tribe, etc., and taken in by distorted narratives of history, politics, culture, traditions, etc. So, just imagine if our voters had taken ownership of our electoral decisions in the past elections since statehood, not only our State’s political history would have been different but our over-all developmental and other status too would have been different because then no political party would have had the temerity to take voters for granted ~ worse still a long ride. So the recent election for just one seat in the Lok Sabha has been revealing, as also opened up an entirely limitless alternative vista for us to mull over. The thing is, why shouldn’t the people opt for change when decades of unchanged and questionable political and other narratives consume the centre-stage, decades of promises remain unfulfilled and decades of deception pass off as development? And, by the way, our people, young and old, want ~ more importantly need ~ much more than songs and dances, festivals and fashion, etc., most of all freedom from being held ransom at gun point from extortion and the fear for life itself. Our people want and need the freedoms and rights enshrined in the Constitution and the protection thereof. Having voted one representative to the Lok Sabha, who will seat in the Opposition Benches, will not bring about seismic transformations into our lives but our people have found our voice, which no political party and leader can ignore for long. Also, having voted for an almost washed off political party with little chance of forming the Government at Delhi, voters are also saying that the people and State of Nagaland are not about a couple of heavy-weight political parties and personalities here. So, yes, Nagaland’s verdict in the recent Lok Sabha elections underscores voters’ assertion that Nagaland is all about the people and the State ~ not about the over-pampered, over-privileged, egoistic and insensitive political, economic, social, cultural and bureaucratic elite. Keeping in mind that parliamentary elections are not as emotive as Assembly elections, no one will hazard a guess as to what will happen in about four years’ time but somehow our people seem to have woken up from a kind of miasmic stupor and discovered our voice and power. But will this sustain till our next elections, including the ULB elections? Furthermore, it takes a very special kind of personality to honestly soul-search the self for one’s defeats, failures and shortcomings ~ most average people will normally find fault outside themselves and scapegoats to blame. This is exactly what is happening even in Nagaland now and is evident in the language used and the tone and tenor thereof by political parties in their media communiqués. Political parties and personalities are generally excellent propagandists but the people also have excellent instincts. Political parties and leaders must now strategize to grapple with the people’s unfailing instincts to harvest favourable statistics. Perhaps, the first step could be connecting and communicating with the people directly ~ not through the agencies of tribal hohos, NGOs and civil societies because these bodies too tend to reflect themselves on the people and not the other way round.