Videos | Podcasts | Slideshows | The Gallery | Archive | About us

Despite ban, electioneering in full swing as polling starts

By Rashmi Ramesh

The ban on canvassing within 24 hours of polling day was widely flouted.

“Vote for Congress, madam!” a woman wearing a scarf with the Congress logo said.

“Vote for BJP, kid. Bring in development with Modi-sarkar,” said a man with a bulging paunch wearing a BJP scarf and a pink cowboy hat.

It is common knowledge that there should be no campaigning or canvassing 24 hours before election day and on the election day as well.

When I asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s cowboy hat man about this, he said: “Where am I campaigning? I am only helping people choose the right leader.”

I may have believed that if he had been telling people to just vote and vote for the right person.

What was interesting was that there were no Aam Aadmi Party candidates campaigning. In an earlier conversation with Sumit Negi, an AAP candidate, I remember him telling me to vote. And “vote for the one who you think will be the best for your constituency and for your nation.”

Trust me, I am not campaigning for AAP or trying to get anyone to go against Congress or BJP. But the fact that I found the AAP not campaigning surprising, when it is actually supposed to be the norm, shows how we far have adapted Bangalore’s famous “swalpa adjust maadi” attitude.

Shashikala, a voter, said: “I have been voting for the last few decades now. It has always been like that.”

Why do we turn a blind eye towards all this? There will be people who may not have decided who to vote for, and may get influenced by the campaigning. That’s why there is a ban.

This was the first time I have voted in a Lok Sabha election, and it got me peeved at the very start. As a journalist, I have begun to notice things that I would have thought to be the norm earlier.

For example, as I was standing in the queue to cast my vote, a tall man, dressed in beige shorts and blue T-shirt, asked me, “first time?” “Yes,” I said. “Mine too,” he said. We both got out of the booth after voting, he after me, and he exclaimed “The voting machine was all in Kannada! I don’t know any Kannada!”

But that’s another story.


  © Unless otherwise specified, all contents of this website is protected by copyright. All rights reserved by the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media.