Besides, there are elections for the state assemblies and municipal bodies. In all cases, the election scene at polling both is almost the same, though there is much more hustle and bustle for the Lok Sabha elections.
A polling booth presents a very busy scene. There is hustle and excitement. At a little distance from the polling booth, there are tents of the contestant parties with names and election signs of the candidates written on colorful banners. Although canvassing on the day of polling is prohibited by law, yet it continues in low whispers.
The chief official at the polling booth is the Presiding Officer. It is his duty to supervise the overall arrangements and to ensure that the polling is held smoothly and fairly.
One or more police constables are there to help him in maintaining law and order inside and outside the booth. There are two or three polling officers to help the presiding officer (or Returning Officer) in conducting the polls. One or more agents of each contestant candidate also sit inside the booth to satisfy themselves about a fair poll. There are also supporters of each candidate who move to and fro outside the booth. They have lists of voters in their hands and continually count the number of voters who they think have voted in their favour. If a particular voter of theirs has not reached the polling booth till late in the afternoon, they may rush to his house and fetch him in their own transport, thus violating the Election Law.
However, the man who matters most on the polling day, at least ostensibly, is the voter. The candidates, their agents and supporters bow to him, exchange smiles and pleasantries with him. They regale him with refreshments -even, if he so feels inclined, and in the case of voters in particular, bribery maybe the rule. Hard drinks may also be offered to certain desirous voters. To cap it all, sometimes, there are fake voters sent by the candidates. In some cases, even “dead men” have been said to have cast their votes.
The polling begins in the morning and ends at 4.00 or 5.00 p.m. It is more brisk in the afternoon. Sometimes, even centenary ands and handicapped persons come to cast their votes. The people, no doubt, are enamored of this democratic process. Only the corrupt, power hungry political leaders play havoc with it. At the end the presiding officer gets the ballot boxes sealed which are then sent to a “central place” under police escort.
It is said that man is a cultured animal. But when there is a fight the wild animal in him gets the better of the cultured animal. The root cause of most of the quarrels in the world is impatience and lack of sympathy and forbearance.
Last Sunday, I went out of my house to fetch some eatables from the market. There is a vacant plot a few yards away from my house. The plot is very much situated between two built residential houses. In…