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The election game

Remember, before starting this game, you must pledge to not play fair. Now, let’s begin.

Roll the dice. Whatever you get — protest! Loudly. Arrange for a stage and the loudest loud speakers that (tax payer) money can buy. Say that the other party has rigged your dice. Whatever the results, you’re being cheated. 10 points.

Oops, the first round of results show you’re in the lead. Instantly do a U-Turn. Go back onto the stage. Give interviews. Tell people how honest the elections are, how you believe in the system, and that anyone who protests is anti-national. 15 points for this turnaround.

Proceed. You are now entering a new phase. Rallies. One rule. Make sure you organise more than your opponent. Bring out the biggest face of your party, give away masks of the face, splash the face on every hoarding. Promise free everything — money, rice, places of worship, free air (fabricate statistics about how much pollution there is in the states you do not run yet). 25 points.

This annoying popular candidate from the other party keeps edging ahead. Resort to your Rescue Card. Horse-trading. Threaten, publish fake stories about this dirty scoundrel. If all else fails, bribe the dirty scoundrel to join your party. Throw him a party to welcome him in. Kill any media story that says you said he was dirty. Wear matching halos. 45 points.

Your ally, the media channel, has to keep at 24x7 stories about how you are winning (especially if you’re not, no one really wants the truth anyway). Fire the journalists who expose the truth. Are we a nation of people who expose? Hack their accounts, get them arrested. Replace them with lip-sync dolls who will shout and spout whatever you tell them to. Brilliant! You’re almost there. 65 points.

Diversion needed. Quick! Some idiot party member said something sick. Start stories about Covid-19 (thank God for such a timely diversion), border problems, film stars, drugs. Blame the foreign hand for trying to roll the dice. Not working? Talk history, even better, make up history. The voting masses lap it up. 80 points.

There are still some stubborn hurdles in the game. Activists, students, writers. Get rid of them. Any way you can. Now, the flag at the end is in sight. Make sure it is yours. Give a tear-jerker speech about honesty and democracy. 90 points. If you can squeeze out a tear too, you make it to 100 points. Congratulations!

Where Jane De Suza, author of Flyaway Boy, pokes her nose into our perfect lives.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 6:03:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/the-election-game/article34223647.ece

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