The big day is finally here: the biggest democratic exercise in the world has already begun with the first round of voting for the Indian general elections on April 7.
This is a festival of sort, for the voters because they are going to cast their votes to choose the federal government after five long years of incompetent and corrupt rule; and for the candidates because one can always claim to be the prospective winner till the very moment the results are declared.
The moment of reckoning will soon come for all but single candidate from each constituency, but that is for later.
And without doubt, this is the prime time for the media in India: faring better than the rivals at such times may go a long way towards catapulting the fate of a media outlet and a media house.
A close look at the pre-election coverage in mainstream media in India will make you feel that these polls are all about Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi attempting to slice each other's throats with very big daggers; the former being in a very advantageous position to win the fight.
In fact, many sober and intelligent heads have been complaining that a very complicated electoral race with multiple dimensions is being deliberately reduced into an utterly simplified clash between two men in a media frenzy that is fixated at readership and viewership and nothing else.
If elections were to be governed by strictly statistical concept of probability, Modi would obviously slice Gandhi's throat politically. But that is under the condition that the opinion polls conducted so far in India have been representative enough to reflect the sentiments of the voters across the country, something many analysts are not convinced about given the track record of opinion polls in the past.
The intricacies that the opinion polls cannot deal with have to be elaborated from two standpoints.
From the standpoint of the parties and the candidates, these elections mean different things for the incumbent Congress and the opposition BJP; the expectations and the stakes are different for each accordingly.