Sick of pep talk on poll day

It was raining cats and dogs out there, but nothing could dampen our energy and enthusiasm for voting.
Sick of pep talk on poll day

Kamal Baruah


It was raining cats and dogs out there, but nothing could dampen our energy and enthusiasm for voting. The most awaited poll day is special, as it is a paid holiday for us. So after a good shower, we drove away towards the polling booth. Shockingly, it was a few miles away from our residence. However, the Election Commission of India wrongly listed our electoral roll at a distance. I started to count polling booths one after another as I moved on down the Hatigaon-Sijubari road.

We had already crossed two booths, but our polling station had not yet arrived. Meanwhile, I saw the road through the windscreen that was submerged by the incessant rain. There was no traffic other than a few magic vans plying. At one point, I realised I couldn’t go over the waterlogged area as the entire road was flooded. A cautionary long stick for hazardous driving stood in the middle of the road, guiding traffic away from the danger point. We moved through the water and didn’t stop, just kept a steady momentum over the knee-deep, muddy water.

Should I vote for this kind of development in my constituency? At least the municipality could have provided a stress-free road before poll day. Adding to the inconvenience is the fact that the minority area is being neglected by successive state governments. The locality is thickly populated with narrow lanes of Notboma, while residents suffer due to the poor infrastructure of the road.

Our car had to park on the road while we waited in line for an hour, surrounded by stanks of urine. The booth at a public school needed a little care from the administration, as did the school authority. There was the usual long wait as polling officials delayed the progression of voting tasks, which made things worse. There was still drizzling outside. We came up the stairs in two overfull rows and finally pressed the ballot box to strengthen our democratic roots. It was quirky, old-fashioned, but such an experience when today’s citizens move their daily lives with technology at ease. I stopped for a moment before pressing the ballot. I get inked in hope of a better future when citizens are deprived of basic amenities like road infrastructure. There was none to air our grievances; even the media people were not seen to report such inconvenience. The road for development is really in need. I hope the concerned authority is listening.

With the parliamentary election around the corner, the ruling party publishes its work widely, and the opposition makes promises one after another for better cities and better lives for citizens. Whom can I trust? We are sick of pep talk about development during this time, but at the same time, don’t expect such poor infrastructure near a polling booth. When administration could not even arrange a seat for the voters, I suppose the absentee voters are the next best option. Youths are probably disheartened by the poor set-up. So the causes of voter turnout gradually diminish.

All in all, we must honour the right to vote given by the Constitution of India. It is indeed a sense of pride moment and should motivate people to vote to contribute to the nation-building process and bring about a change. Political parties often refer to a loyal bloc of voters from a single community and win elections one after another. Democracy would be successful once all its citizens participated. So you can tell there is an election in the air, and its citizens have undergone the paradox of these false promises, year after year, in the same old ways.

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