The ink is supposedly indelible should be impossible to wash away for at least a week. But it faded from day one and disappeared by the end of day 2! Unlike the blaring newspaper headlines every morning that didn’t seem to talk about anything else except what one candidate said about another and what rules were broken by high profile politicos for the last one month.
Finally, after a long drawn out drama, the multi-phase polling in the world’s most populous democracy ended last evening.
In Delhi, there was no dearth of incentives to encourage people to go vote.
Show your inked finger – buy one exotic lunch buffet and get another free! Get fifty percent off on all salon services on poll day if you are inked! Upload selfies of your inked finger and stand a chance to win a holiday for two!!
But the drama is far from over. From all that has been happening one is inclined to be concerned that the large electorate hasn’t quite managed to decide on an absolute answer, in spite of more than average polling.
814 million registered voters. An overall average of 65% voted. Well, about 600 votes, give or take a few millions!
They say a brisk voter turnout indicates ‘vote for change’. Not good for the ruling political party but then, in today’s scenario I wonder if we have managed to elect a government that will be stable enough to last a full five year term.
What a mess that will be! Re-elections – like we have all the time and money in the world to indulge in sheer wastage! I am not sure I’m ready for another round of debate and drama, which, like an eminent columnist said the other day, wouldn’t even qualify for a college debate – it is so irrelevant.
But amidst all these emerges some heart warming stories that make you wonder – about those who fought for the freedom of our country and who set out to mold a free India – what made them tick? What made them different, who were these people?
Shyam Saran Negi – a 97 year old walked several kilometres to the polling booth to cast his vote at 6:55AM on 7th of may 2014 along with his 92 year old wife Hira Mani. The first person to vote that day in his constituency at Kalpa, the little Himalayan village in Himachal Pradesh. Incidentally, the polling booth was at the very school from which he had retired after a service of 23 years.
( Photo courtesy PTI )
What’s amazing is that Mr.Negi was the first person to cast his vote in Independent India in 1947 and has since then never missed a single general election, often trudging through heavy snow to reach the polling booths. The state Election Commission had appointed Negi it’s poll ambassador for campaigning in the tribal areas in the state and this grand old man also received a lot of media attention when he was featured in a Google India campaign video.
Negi was cheered on by local well-wishers and honoured with flowers, a shawl and scarf by the Deputy Commissioner of Kinnaur where his constituency is when he emerged from the booth after voting.
"I’m happy to get yet another chance to vote”, he said. “At 97, if I can vote, there’s no reason why the youth cannot. I Want India to be led by an honest leader, a leader who is not corrupt in any way”.