‘Tis the season for electioneering

29 Jan,2019


By Ranjona Banerji


The election season is upon us. And there is so much to look forward to!!

1 Reporters and senior journalists from all manner of publications and broadcast entities tearing across the nation, breathlessly telling us what they think people think.

2 Breathless conversations with politicians in air-conditioned jeeps and buses holding forth on what they eat on the campaign trail and how much or little they sleep.

3 Photos of politicians eating and sleeping in village huts to prove that they are socially aware and conscious.

4 Stories the next day about how those photos were just “ops” and “optics” and actually the politicians ate food from some shmancy eaterie nearby and slept in a fancy hotel room.

5 Little exciting bits of “local colour” thrown in, with locals dancing, shouting, singing, doing nothing and so on.

6 Any amount of opinions polls which career wildly from prediction to prediction, ensuring that they ensure that everyone wins a little bit.

7 To be matched by exit polls which have plenty of fun ensuring that the result is as clear as mud.

8 Interminable discussions amongst experts, about swings and caste compulsions and tie ups and break ups and coalitions.

9 Live telecast of speeches, which are either excruciatingly boring or extorting people to kill each other.

10 TV debates on such speeches.

11 Long discussions about charisma and oratory which have neither charisma nor oratory.

12 So much election coverage that it is impossible to tell which is “paid news” in the Election Commission’s definition or paid news in the Twitter definition.

13 A bombardment of fake news and videos all over social media. Handwringing about fake news on social media. No stopping of fake news on social media.

14 Scary opinion pieces on how these elections are controlled by Martians with a vested interest who have invaded Mark Zuckerberg’s mind.

15 Photos of rallies with no people contrasted with photos of rallies with many people, all of which will finally be proved to be photoshopped by photoshop experts.

16 More discussions on EVMs and how and why they can or cannot be manipulated. This is although everyone has made up their minds.

17 Fervent appeals through change.org and such petition websites to beg everyone to vote for NOTA although almost No One Will Vote NOTA.

18 Assurances from the Election Commission that all is well.

19 Belief from nobody that all is well.

20 Catchy little slogans that become all the rage like Tea with Tutu, Coffee with Coco and so on. Almost none will be Whiskey with WoeWoe, which however is what everyone really needs.

21 Standard photos of groups of politicians standing with a book of election promises called a “Manifesto”. To be read by as few people as possible, because, Brexit.

22 Huge excitement in TV channels about coalition partners hating and loving each other and what that might could or should mean or the panellists think they might mean.

23 Photos of starlets and former starlets campaigning for the parties of their choice.

24 Expose of any number of politicians who do not know the National Anthem.

25 Me, exhausted.


Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Edior, MxMIndia. The views here are personal

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