A little over a week after the co-founder of leftist propaganda website The Wire gave advice to anti-Modi political parties to time their demand for moving to ballot boxes intelligently, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar seems to have decided to follow his advice.
MK Venu who is the co-founder of ‘The Wire’ had tweeted on 1 June that the opposition needed to make its demand for a ballot paper from a “position of strength”, which as per him would have been following their victory in a few by-polls like Kairana on the previous day:
The opposition should seek a move towards ballot paper from a position of strength. After the resounding victory at the by-elections is the right time. Either ballot paper or a VVPAT which the voter can see & put it in a box so electronic outcome can be matched by paper.
— M K Venu (@mkvenu1) June 2, 2018
Now in an almost prophetic response, Sharad Pawar has been quoted by the Indian Express as saying that all the opposition parties would seek ballot papers for Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections.
As per the report, Pawar like Venu had suggested, was seen taking a moral high ground about how NCP had raised concerns over EVM malfunctioning at 64 booths despite winning the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha.
Thus Pawar, while making a speech on Sunday during NCP’s foundation day celebrations in Pune, was reported as claiming that all the opposition parties are going to unite in requesting the Election Commission to shun EVMs and go the ballot paper route.
Even though the Jury might be out on whether MK Venu’s ‘advice’ was indeed an inspiration for this demand by Pawar, the fact remains that journalists have a record of doubling up as poll strategists for the opposition.
We had reported how following the 31 May by-poll results which were a mixed bag for the BJP, journalists like Nidhi Razdan and Rajdeep Sardesai pontificated how opposition unity was the way BJP could be defeated. Controversial journalist Sagarika Ghose was even seen nudging the Congress to correct its path with regards to the Scheduled Tribes.
Incidentally, even though Pawar and Wire’s co-founder were seen cheering on the Ballot papers, they failed to address the reports of rigging in the recently concluded Bengal Panchayat polls, where a video showed a TMC worker mass voting on a bunch of such Ballot papers.