A photo exhibition captures the proud history of Indian elections

The world's largest event management exercise, as the Indian General Elections have been described, has been captured in all its method and madness in a photo exhibition, India and Elections, at the Chitrakala Parishath Art Complex.

The photographs offer vivid glimpses into the 60 years of elections in the world's biggest electoral democracy — from historic victory speeches to routine ballot counting. The exhibition, organised by the Election Commission of India to mark its diamond jubilee, was inaugurated on Tuesday by Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla.

The sombre sepia shots of the very first general election, held in 1951-52 morph into the colourful frenzy of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections that saw 700 million voters throng eight lakh polling stations (the highest polling station at a 15,300-foot altitude) as 8,050 candidates clamoured for votes.

A short film on the Election Commission (formed a day before the country became a republic in 1950) narrates the extraordinary challenges it has to overcome — of weather, terrain, accessibility and dialect.


The photographs capture behind-the-scenes moments of poll officers carrying electronic voting machines, “the wonder machine of democracy”, on elephant back to remote parts of Assam or gingerly lowering them with the help of ropes in the rugged Spiti.

Election dates are chosen while ensuring that places are not snowbound, dates do not disrupt agricultural schedules of sowing or harvesting, and exams are not interrupted as school buildings double as polling stations.

The exhibition is on till tomorrow.

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