DailyPost 1905

Poll strategist is a new terminology that is hitting the market. The person concerned who seems to have gained this epithet, can swing the electoral destinies of political parties by his strategy. Someone who can play around with the polls to his client’s advantage. Democracy is being slowly brought down to strategy. Does it now come in the way of free and fair elections, democratic will, free will and the like? Given the capability to influence, how does such a person do such a so-called professional fit into the democratic-politico system. Can it over the years become a profession on its own, or will it die a natural death. The country is full of non-state professionals to manage the state run elections. Might be the State itself is the biggest bystander in Indian democracy.

Anyone who can tilt the elections in your favor is the demi-god of democracy. The political leaders and their chelas have been super poll strategists all their life, playing different tunes in every different poll. The electoral arithmetic is at their fingertips even if they would have failed half a dozen in mathematics. The caste and religious leaders are the second group poll strategists, they know which way to tilt in a particular election season. When votes garnered is the sum total of the permutation combination of vote banks, the eternal battle to reach the correct formula will be never end. The beauty of the game is that the formula keeps on changing in every election, in reality it is the most dynamic subject in human history.

Unfortunately, there are no classes taken anywhere. The high-tech data driven formula of Cambridge Analytica was not able to take root in this country. When winning elections is the sine-qua-non of democracy and other professionals were not able to provide the winning strategy, the stage was wide open for the grandmaster dubbed as Political Strategist. His capability to understand the nitty gritty of the state or the nation in a general election and with a mix of emotions, electoral arithmetic, data, media blitzkrieg, branding and like could facilitate your electoral victory. He  could also transform himself at times into an intuitive psephologist, spokesperson, media manager and like. A man of all hues and no colors, he could change his political skin at any time. Might be he is the non-political element in the military grade political war.

While the number of experts on the Indian election’s firmament keeps on increasing, the end of elections generally seems to be the end of democratic activity. Does democracy start and end with the elections? The constitution provides full clarity with the focus it provides on different pillars /activities of democracy. We have renowned constitutional lawyers and experts to help us out. But what beyond that?  Have we been able to create other experts to run our democratic delivery machine; the governance experts, the social sector experts, the experts on positive discrimination, govtech as a discipline and practice, human development experts, the resource utilization experts, the transformative education experts etc. Let’s not miss out the breakdown of governance experts. The list as expected would go on and on; the size and complexity of the nation warrants so. They would be the strategists of modern India and lead us to our place in the sun.


Sanjay Sahay

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