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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Poll update

I feel more enthusiastic to cast my vote as I grow older: when I was young, I was too cynical to take the trouble.

Today was polling day in Durgapur – the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections, 2011. My wife and I checked out with neighbours that there was a big crowd at our designated polling centre in the early morning, so we turned up there at about 11:30, hoping that the blazing and sultry heat would discourage a lot of people from turning up. We were not disappointed, and we were lucky too, for there were two long queues at the other booth, whereas ours was deserted, so we were in and out within five minutes flat.

I was deeply satisfied and not a little proud to see how quietly and efficiently the whole show was being conducted. Three cheers for the Election Commission! I sighed to think, for the umpteenth time, that things can be done very well indeed in this country whenever the administration makes up its mind to do so. Shall we ever see the day when everything runs smoothly and speedily like that, every kind of public service that goes into making a great country?

Now I am watching talking heads pontificating on TV, and catching up on the unraveling news. Barring stray untoward incidents, things seem to be going equally quietly and smoothly everywhere. One noteworthy thing is that the voter turnout is likely to be very high. It is heartening to know that the real common man (and woman – women are highly visible at all the booths) still pins so much hope on the electoral process. I hope, for the long-term welfare of this country, that our ‘leaders’, regardless of their party affiliations, learn to take the faith reposed in them more seriously: our people have been betrayed too often for too long…

One thing that I have been missing on TV is that young voters (those in their 20s) are not being interviewed at length anywhere. Is it because the news channels have a blind spot, or because the young generation doesn’t count, not having any coherent and articulate political views of their own at all? If the latter is true, what a shame!


Debotosh Chatterjee said...

I made my debut as a 'voter' in Indian democracy today ! The polling station i went to was flooded with people who believed that even 'one vote matters' . The queues were ridiculously long but not a single person left the booth before casting the vote. Some years back,as some of my elders tell me, this was not what one usually saw at a typical polling booth of Bengal . Some people used to leave the polling booths in disgust,the long queues and summer heat making it impossible for them to sustain their interest in casting their votes .And then the inevitable - the CPI(M) cadres would come and produce fake voting cards to cast false votes and the Left would get sweeping victories in every general election in our state . This time the situation is different - people stood in long queues for hours and the strict security personnel made sure that the party agents were not able to cause trouble ! That is really heartening to see in a country where laws are disregarded with ease and malpractices in public procedures prevail in many places !
Regarding the last paragraph in the post , i really cannot say much ! After seeing the kind of things that my friends do on facebook , it is really not clear to me how many youths are really 'interested' in knowing about the electoral system in our democracy or have enough faith in it !

Anand Tiwari said...

Historic day for West Bengal. I never thought this could happen in my lifetime.