Has Saba Naqvi just spilled the beans on Akhilesh Yadav and EVMs?

By now, the right-wing is all too familiar with the continual left-wing whining at motley of websites that have mushroomed after BJP’s 2014 general election victory led by Narendra Modi. They are basically the same old cabal of usual suspects raising the same old talking points over and over again on a medium (internet) they thought was dominated by the right-wing in India. There have been many left-wing propaganda websites like Scroll, Wire, Catchnews… you know the list.

Therefore at first glance, the recent article “The Opposition’s Guide to the BJP” published here in The Wire might seem entirely routine. It’s written by Saba Naqvi, one of the usual suspects. I like to refer to them as “history-sheeters of secularism”.

But there is one very interesting, very juicy tidbit that Ms. Naqvi lets us know in her article:

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screenshot from the article

Interesting! Very very interesting! Let’s dissect what Saba Naqvi has said here.

(1) It seems that Saba Naqvi is telling us that at least one pollster who worked for Akhilesh Yadav had predicted a BJP landslide.

(2) Saba does not give precise information about exactly when the surveys were conducted, but she says that “he kept predicting a BJP wave”. This suggests there was more than one survey and those surveys all pointed to the same result.

(3) Saba tells us that “as the elections began, he polled 96 seats … and again threw up a BJP landslide”. The key parts of that sentence are “as the elections began” (which gives us a rough timeline for when the survey was done) and “again threw up a BJP landslide” (which tells us that the predicted BJP landslide tied up with previous findings).

(4) Saba mentions that at least one survey involved 1000 people each in 96 seats. That’s a total sample of 96000, which means this was a fairly expensive and detailed survey.

This is why Saba Naqvi concludes that “it is possible that Akhilesh acted with better information than Mayawati did“.

Why is this so interesting?

Because, if there really was a pollster working for Akhilesh who had repeatedly predicted a BJP landslide in multiple surveys, where does this leave Mr. Akhilesh Yadav’s public positioning with respect to EVMs?

Akhilesh blames EVM

If the result on March 11 from Uttar Pradesh was on the same lines as the feedback that Akhilesh Yadav had received internally, why was there an effort to muddy the waters over EVMs? Was it a deliberate lie?

We have always known instinctively that questioning EVMs is the gambit of a sore loser. But this is the first time, we seem to have some direct evidence that a loser might be lying deliberately.

Of course, I have no independent way to verify whether Akhilesh Yadav was deliberately lying. For that matter, I have no way to independently verify whether Saba Naqvi is telling the truth, or what she knows or doesn’t know regarding this matter. But from reading Ms. Saba Naqvi’s little revelation, we certainly are entitled to the suspicion.

The election process is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is now up to the personal ethics of Ms. Saba Naqvi to come out and clear the air. A deliberate effort to undermine public faith in the process is a very serious matter.

If Ms. Saba Naqvi is in possession of information that will definitively expose the lie of someone trying to undermine faith in our elections, she should come forward and disclose it as an act of public service in the highest national interest.

But we know she will not do that, because “sources” are more important than the nation.

Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.

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