Voting Day 2009 in Varanasi

It was voting day on the 16th in Benares. Everybody was supposed to have a voter ID card which is issued by Election Commission of India but again this year Election Commission of India was not able to provide the voter ID card to everyone; actually I also did not get it. Three days before elections, I read a article in the newspaper saying that voters could use 16 different kinds of documents instead of a voter ID card to vote. Since I also did not have a voter ID card, I went to vote with my ration card and PAN card (income tax card).

I went to the Assi crossing first where they had assistance centers of all the political parties. There were four assistance centers this year at Assi crossing- BJP, Congress, SP and BSP. I was supposed to get a slip that has my serial number in the voting list from any of these partyassistance centers. I looked for the least crowded counter so that I could get my work done quickly and Congress counter had the least number of people. BJP was the most crowded one. I got my slip at the Congress counter but thought to just visit other counters as well.

I saw something really strange- the Congress Party counter was offering breakfast to the people who were going to their counter which is an illegal activity. They had their counter on the main road but the breakfast place was inside a room. They were telling all the people to go inside the room, have breakfast and vote for Congress. A lot of people had switched from one party to another party this year. The people whom I had seen sitting on the BJP counter during last elections, were sitting on the SP counter this year. It’s crazy to see how these political people change themselves so quickly.

BJP candidate Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi had called me one day before elections. Usually they use computers to call people and they did the same this year also but some calls were made individually by people and I was lucky enough to receive the call made by Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi. First I thought it was a computer but the person on the phone was responding according to my questions to him. I am sure it was Mr. Joshi himself. Since I was in hurry at the time he called me, I could not talk to him much. I wish that I had time when he had called me because I would have loved talking to him.

He requested me to vote for a suitable candidate. He never told me to vote for himself but at last he said that he was Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi which was a clear indication of his request to vote for him. Obviously he was my favourite candidate and I voted for him but I would have loved asking him questions before voting for him. Well, next year.I went to vote and noticed that there was less security this year. There were hardly four or five security guards at the polling booth. Usually polling booths are full of security guards. It was strange.

All the different party people were telling me to vote for their party. A few people had Fevicol (a gum) and other different kinds of chemicals and they were telling me to put some gum or those strange chemicals on my finger before going to vote so that I could remove the ink easily off my finger after voting and make fake votes again for them in the evening time. All these people were counting the number of people who had not voted yet and would send someone from their party to vote in the name of the people who did not vote but I was happy with only voting in my name.

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