The straight road around a kilometre long from my house to St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, my alma mater always remains congested.
I was hoping that the road would be deserted on Thursday.
Voting for the assembly elections took place in Kanpur yesterday. I have witnessed many elections. I would find roads almost deserted on polling days. It would seem the city was under curfew.
I was thinking that I would light a cigarette, amble up to my school that had been converted into a polling centre, cast my vote and return home walking leisurely, smoking another cigarette.
I was wrong. I found the road more congested compared to other days. I had to force my way through a milling crowd.
And people in the crowd were of varying characters – silent old women, babbling men, giggling girls.....
The facial expressions of the people were different. But their body language showed enthusiasm. Everybody seemed to be in a hurry to cast vote.
Uttar Pradesh, my home state is in the process of electing a new government. The voting percentage in the current elections has broken all previous records – a good sign for democracy.
Many will disagree with me but I feel credit must go to Anna Hazare for people in large numbers exercising their voting right.
People have always felt helpless against the inefficient and corrupt political system. The common man would seethe with anger at the misdemeanours of the government but was unable to do anything. He could only curse or remain a dumb spectator.
No political party is happy with the high voting percentage in the state. Politicians probably wanted the masses to remain passive.
Anna Hazare is his speeches repeatedly said that in a democracy the common man was the king and the elected representative his servant.
People now may have become aware of the power they have in the form of their votes.
I felt happy as I stepped into the compound of my old school after years.
The school was crowded but not chaotic. Polling was on smoothly. Polling agents and volunteers with smiling faces were directing people to polling booths.
Some booths had very long queues. I was glad to see a short queue in front of my polling booth.
A home guard standing in front of my polling booth announced, ‘Women and senior citizens need not join the queue. They can directly enter the booth.’ So finally, we are waking up to the needs of the elderly also.
While waiting for my turn, I was amused to hear the beep of the electronic voting machine.
We hear beeps frequently these days while watching serials and movies.
Beeps are used to make expletives inaudible on screen. But at the polling booth was the common man swearing at the politicians and camouflaging his act with the beep of the voting machine? Or has the beep become the new voice of the masses?
My turn finally came and I pressed the button of the voting machine and cast my vote. The beep was loud and clear.