ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Silly Season

 most PhDs, who does not know, are illiterates. This is not rigging: this is highway robbery, and has produced situations which mock all the known and unknown laws of probability. For example, going by the record of the serial numbers of issued ballots, in many booths voters have east their votes exactly in the same sequence in which their names occur in the electoral list. It will be altogether tiresome to quote the scores of instances where the printing press has pre-empted the democratic process. But a cursory mention of what happened in the constituency of the most prominent communist leader in these parts will suffice. The constituency of Baranagar, in the north- ern outskirts of Calcutta, returned Jyoti Basu to the West Bengal Assembly, without a break, in 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967 and 1971. In the latter year, his formidable rival was Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee, twice elected Chief Minister of the state. Nonetheless, Basu won, by a margin of more than 13,000 votes, out of a total poll of a little more than 70,000. Barely a year later, in 1972, Jyoti Basu lost, to an obscure candidate, by a margin of 40,000 votes.

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