New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) How many people knew the name of the candidate they voted for in Sunday’s municipal elections in the national capital? It seems very few, at least in the upper and middle class colonies and societies.
Many in these colonies either voted for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit or were die-hard Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters and were not bothered about the candidates.
At one south Delhi colony, there were many people, mostly women, who had no idea about the candidates who were contesting.
“I don’t know who the candidates are. I just know that I am voting for Sheila. She has single handedly changed the face of Delhi,” said 40-year-old homemaker Usha Singh. Her friends, who accompanied her, agreed.
Singh was not alone. Sukhbir Kumar, a chartered accountant, just nodded when he was told by his neighbour to vote for “lotus” – the BJP symbol. But, he was heard speaking aloud: “..I am a Sheila fan. I am voting for the hand (Congress symbol).”
“I have no clue about the candidates. But whatever development we have seen in the city is courtesy her (Dikshit).”
Maybe Sheila Dikshit’s magic will work, and this time Delhi will see a civic body ruled by the Congress. The MCD is ruled by the BJP.
When a Rajya Sabha member became ‘Pappu’
In the time of ‘Dabangg’, or fearless – the poll panel’s description of those coming forward to vote, Rajya Sabha member and Congress leader Parvez Hashmi became a ‘Pappu’ or one who did not vote.
Hashmi, who had come to vote in Delhi’s Okhla area, was furious when he saw his and his family’s name knocked off from the voters’ list.
“I came with my entire family to the polling booth and I find that our names are missing from the voters’ list. We have been made ‘Pappu’,” fumed Hashmi, a four-time winner in Delhi assembly polls.
The words ‘Dabangg’ and ‘Pappu’ – the former a popular Bollywood movie and the latter a popular Hindi film song – were coined by the state election commission to draw voters.
In a popular ad campaign, the election commission had urged voters: “Do not become Pappu, go and vote.”
Carnival time at resettlement colonies
It was carnival time at many of the resettlement and unauthorised colonies. Many of the prospective voters were told a day before that they will be picked up and dropped back home – with some lunch thrown in.
Enthusiasm was palpable. Many took their children along for this “election” bounty.
“It is a holiday and we are having a picnic. The best thing is, it is all paid for,” said Akbar Khan, who lives in Najafgarh area in outer Delhi.
Khan and his family like others in their area were told that vans would be ferrying them.
“We just have to vote. After the all-paid travel, we can at least do that,” smiled 30-year-old Khan, who works as a driver and took his entire family along.
First timers and elderly more enthusiastic
A common sight at the polling booths was the enthusiasm among the elderly and the first timers. Both voting for a better and improved city.
“This may be the last vote of my life and my vote is for the improvement of the battered road in my area,” said 80-year-old Balesh, a voter in ward no 134 Tukmeerpur in Yamuna Vihar in east Delhi.
She had a fracture in her hand, but still came out to vote.
A first-time voter Imran Khan said he didn’t want to miss the chance to vote.
“It was my duty to vote but I don’t expect change in Jamia Nagar where the living condition is abysmal,” 22-year-old Khan said.
What touched many was how senior citizens were helped by youngsters to cast their votes.