Well, in this part of our country, our state went to polls and I didn’t miss this once in a five year opportunity to exercise my democratic right and a considered duty. My neighbour brother had already voted by the time I started to the polling booth. He had the distinction of being the first voter at our booth, his background of course is rooted in Socialist agenda and they make it a point to do this very dutifully.
As I reached the polling booth being greeted by party men of various colored flags and enlightening me on the number of their candidate, the booth had lot of people waiting to cast their vote. I verified my voting slip and stood in a designated queue. Reading all those faces who think they are doing a great service to this country (including me!) by voting. There were all people, some you know we can call them Software Professionals by their looks, the jean clad, funky T shirts a few of them, then of course the local people pretty easy going.
Then I could see some first time voters their face beaming with a sense of satisfaction and an elan of achievement. They do deserve to wear that attitude for the simple reason that they had come and vote unlike some of us who do this thinking how does it matter if we vote or not.
As I kept looking around I saw a photographer, a pres corp waiting on the lines to see and capture a ‘moment’. He did not fail when a few minutes later a physically handicapped voter rode his bicycle to the front door of one of the booths. Luckily it didn’t have steps, it was one of their slanting stairs for them, I think somebody had thought of these people and worked in tandem to facilitate his franchise. How wonderful of them to think on those lines.
As the voter got down to floor and went in, the photographer caught his picture of the day waited eagerly for him to return. A two minutes later, he returned with a smile on his face with a sense of fulfillment of having voted on all fours and the flash started again some five shots and he was back to his special cycle. Some telling him, “Hey You are going to be on Paper tomorrow.”
The queue was moving up fast and I had almost reached the steps of the building when I saw another frail old man in his eighty being helped to climb the steps, as they both walked in, I was surprised he was wearing a saffron cloth that is symbolic of sanyas, and I was left wondering if he didn’t want to do away with sanyas as far as voting was concerned. It made me a happy citizen. After all my country men were the most patient ever, and I always have this notion, “Inspite of the politicians, the country is doing good.”
Few minutes later I enter the booth I give my voting slip to the second presiding officer, he calls out my number and name for the polling agents to take note of. On the other side we see some seven people seriously taking down the number which he had shouted atleast three times.
This time the electoral rolls are photo rolls so it is tough to cast a bogus vote unless with the connivance of the Presiding officers. I have heard stories from my friends when they had worked with a certain party they would see the Presiding officer at their home and make an offer for x number of votes and all the polling agents would be taken care of. I don’t know may be we cant put enough bogus votes like last time and may be one of the reason why the turnout was low is this.
Two people in the ‘crowd’ were known to me though our body language didn’t show that, it’s a risk you know to show yourself in front of them all put together. They will come to some conclusion you see.
I now sign a register and get my finger inked. Then move on the place to reset my EVM and then press the * button. The lady officer says ‘you proceed it will beep, don’t worry’. As I near the exit there is ‘beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep’ sound. I was reminded of my Physics class when they asked me this question, ‘why do they have these sounds for horn and indicators,’ basically they are disturbing and catch your attention and number two you have no choice but to listen – the pitch is so high in these sounds you see.
So with a sense of accomplishment, I come out as if I have won the election.
This is one kind of duty our citizen do every five years and as I kick start my bike I have but all forgotten why i have voted or would I be eagerly waiting for the result and would it really make a difference.
Would it make a difference, well may be for those in power and those in opposition, but for me!