In Mulayam’s worldview, those who had received these laptops saw Narendra Modi’s speeches on their screens and ended up voting BJP. It acted like a fifth columnist of the BJP, except that the man who oversaw it was Akhilesh. But this man is also the same Chief Minister who has turned Uttar Pradesh’s law-and-order clock backwards. And between laptops and law-and-order, even a blind man can see what swayed the voter. The position that Mulayam has taken is not new.
A quarter century ago, you could hear such voices in India—of people who believed that computers and technological innovation were forces of evil. That someone should now hold such a view is bizarre, but that he is in a position of power to enforce the implications of such a view is dangerous. The Samajwadi Party chief assumes that rolling back progress will get him votes. The truth is the reverse: it is regression that loses leaders like him votes.