Confused, confused….on poll eve

Posted: April 22, 2009 in Prime Minister, Suresh Kalmadi
Tags: ,

On the eve of polling day, my confusion has increased. Who do I vote for? The manner in which the politicians have been gunning for each other, it makes one wonder what they are really interested in – running the country or running down (and riding roughshod over) their opponents. And hey, none of us at home have voting cards yet, just numbers! What a democracy!
Politicians, former bureaucrats, social workers, retired cops, they’re all there promising the gullible voter the moon. Can they deliver? We’ll have to wait another five years to find out.
If one looks at my city (Pune) things couldn’t have been messier. I remember reading the PR material of a very prominent builder which spoke of Pune as the perfect city. The manifesto said Pune would never have water or power shortages because it was surrounded by four rivers and two dams. Oh damn!
I wonder where those rivers have disappeared and I also wonder how much of the water from the dams is reaching us. More importantly, do the rivers and dams have the capacity to feed the city? Six to eight hours of power cuts everyday, water that comes two hours in the morning and evenings respectively. But, I guess we are luckier than a lot of other housing colonies, even the up-market ones where I see water being supplied by tankers, which cost a bomb.
Logically, the sitting MP should get a second chance, because it is next to impossible to get things done in five years. But the fact of the matter is Pune has seen traffic problems multiply, infrastructure struggling to cope, and housing that’s unaffordable (unless you have loads of cash stashed away somewhere).
But instead of doing something about it, everyone’s busy trading charges as things spiral out of control. Somehow, the reputation Mr Kalmadi has gained, is of someone more interested in making money, getting in front of the cameras shooting his mouth off or posing with celebrities, then being seen as someone who the people voted to look after their city’s interest. That may be untrue, but that is the image he has. Since I didn’t vote for him the last time and do not know Mr Kalmadi personally, I will reserve my comment.
But let me tell you what happened in Lucknow when we lived there some years ago. During the last election in 2004, Lucknow’s candidate was then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On voting day, my landlord asked me if I was interested in voting. Since I was part of the floating population, I could not vote, but as a journalist I was curious to know what he was proposing.
On probing further he produced a sheaf of slips with names of voters of different age groups. He then gave me one and asked me to go to a party’s polling booth. It was quite funny, actually. The guy at that booth, studied my face for a while, ran his finger down the list and stopped at one. Then he pulled out the slip with the corresponding number and asked me to cast my vote. My wife got one too and she was kicked as hell because the slip mentioned her age as 29! She wanted to keep it as a souvenir!
She walked to the booth and strolled right in just to see what would happen. I refused to go in. I was absolutely appalled by the brazenness of the entire exercise. And mind you, this was then the Prime Minister’s constituency. I called up the editor of the newspaper I worked for, and told her about the incident. Needless to say that the story never appeared in the newspaper, for ‘various’ reasons! I guess, it wouldn’t have looked nice for something like this to emerge from the PM’s constituency.
But back to the present, So for the first time in so many years, I am confused – not because there is an embarrassment of riches, but because I don’t see a single deserving candidate for whose sake I should get that indelible ink put on my finger.

  1. sudhakar says:

    We all understand your predicament and are with you.

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