Thursday, May 8, 2014

On the Election Campaign trail# And so we Voted!


(To read about a bit about who and why of the Election Campaign please click here)



So finally the 30th of April came and went... the day our constituency of Fatehpur went to vote...
The days leading upto it were hectic and nerve-racking and we had no desire to eat-drink or sleep...
the count down had begun and the hours were less...
there was still that village to cover or this mohalla that needed to be reminded of our "nishan" and our candidate...
Its said that while you might have a number of months to do your canvassing leading upto the elections- to cover ground and visit each house in each lane, but its always the last couple of weeks that make or break the election...
the tempo picks up, and the voter that you may have brainwashed or convinced earlier to join your ranks may just do an about turn and join the opposing party because of something you said or did or didn't do in the last few days...
So reiterating it over and over again till the head buzzes with the right naam and right nishan is what all the elections wallahs do in the last few days....
The last few hours of the last day are spent finding out if all our confirmed voters (read same caste or religion coz the Uttar Pradesh Elections are all caste and religion based, no matter how much you want to deny it) have had thier voter ID cards/ voting slips delivered to them...
In fact till the wee hours of the last night leading up to the voting, we were hunting down the BLOs (the people who deliver the voting slips) of the various mohallas and insisting that they give the slips to the people whose names are there on the voting list and NOT hide them in thier pockets (two of them actually had bundles of these slips in thier pockets and had to be forced to distribute them)
You might say that these voting slips dont matter if your name is there on the voting list and you have an ID card to your name... 
But what of the nameless, ID-less rickshaw puller or kabadi-wallah or vegetable seller whose voting slip is the only way to exercise his right to vote, who doesnt even have a ration card leave alone the famous "Adhar card"?
and whose vote is actually the vote that can make or break our election!!
and who is not being given the voting slip coz he belongs to a particular community or caste and so shouldn't be allowed to vote?
When you look at the Elections at a micro-level....you realise the immense struggle that the downtrodden, the common man faces, who has no ID, no ration card, no Adhar card, no proof that he even exists....
and he barely exists... day from struggling day....
and to be cheated of his right to vote, to chose his own leader? 
But then I am digressing...sorry!

And then the D-Day looms and we get up at the break of dawn...
stomach all clenched and everyone all fired up...
Our boys, our teams are posted at each street along with thier bikes and lots of tempos and rickshaws to ferry the old and the infirm as well as women who have too far to walk to get to the voting booths...
Me, my brother and my mom and a few other people in thier unmarked cars... the flying squad or so we liked to call ourselves...
rushing to every booth to see if things were going smoothly...
A couple of tempos overturn...we rush there and have them replaced!
A few frantic calls from our voters to say that they cant vote...
why?
because their names are on the deceased lists even though they are carrying thier voter ids as well as thier driving licence...
One voter even had her passport as an ID proof...
We rush there and speak to the officials, argue and plead because there are quite a few of them, but to no avail... 
they are sent home with the "assurance" that they will get a chance to vote in the next election when thier names have been added on...
what a farce!
And so the hot and blazing day flies by... as we fly by... from booth to booth- passing on refreshments and cool drinks to our hard working teams who are going home to home... persuading, pleading, and getting everyone to caste thier votes!
And before I know it... 
its over.
Its 6 o'clock and I get home to crash on the bed...
....jumping up with the sudden realisation that I didn't manage to take even a single photograph of this momentuos day!!!
without thinking I haul the camera and rush out only to come back, disappointed...
the crowds have dispersed...
the voting booths closed...
and everyone heading home.
But even then, just to appease my disappointed soul-
I take a few shots of the nearby smiling happy faces with the proud raised finger...




Oh and for everyone who is following these posts of "On the Election Campaign Trail" 
the final counting is on the 16th of May...
So till then I will continue to post the images and the sights that have moved me this one and a half month of eye-opening campaigning!

2 comments:

  1. nice Maryam.. :) so chaotic and so much to do.. you guys did a good job.. well done..!! :) wish i could have been there.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. well said apa its always a pleasure to read.. i get the whole feel of the election ... even when i am so far away

    ReplyDelete

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