“Just one cap please”

Supporters of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) are easily recognisable because of their trademark caps. At a polling booth in Basavanagar, AAP supporters were handling a helpdesk just like the other political parties. At around lunch time, a police patrol jeep stopped and asked them to remove the caps. Perplexed, the supporters asked for a reason. “Only one person can wear a cap, not all of you,” a policeman said, not doing much to dispel the doubts that arose among the supporters. Not wanting a confrontation, the supporters removed their caps one by one, with one even remarking, “Let us not fight sir. If you don’t want us wearing caps, we won’t.”

Canvassing was strictly forbidden within 100 metres of the polling stations. Were the policemen considering wearing caps as a form of canvassing?

Pick your symbol

What does a frock symbolise? Or a television? Could be nothing or could be anything. There is no dearth of unique ‘symbols’ in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Voters were spoilt for choice as they could choose not just from flowers, battery torches, chappals, black board, gas cylinder and calculator but also from cauliflower, dish antenna, stethoscope and a helmet! Independents appeared to be the most innovative when it came to choosing symbols. Whether or not they succeeded in attracting voters or not will be known only on counting day.

- K. C. Deepika

Whom do I vote for, swamy?

Narayanamma, aged around 65, came to the polling booth at the New Vani Vilas Government PU College for Girls in Bangalore South. She showed her voter’s identity card and a slip given by party workers to the police constable who was at the entrance. When the constable was looking at it to guide her, she innocently asked him: “For whom should I vote, sir?” As he tried to explain that it was up to her, she asked if she would be given any “coffee kharchu” (a small amount to buy herself a cup of coffee). As the constable struggled to figure out a way of explaining the electoral mechanism, she said she had been told by someone to press serial no. 1 in the voting machine. When this reporter asked her if she knew the name of the ‘serial no. 1’ candidate, she replied: “gottilla swamy” (I do not know, sir).

- T Murali

Will or won’t Aadhar do?

Most polling booths had put up a list of 14 documents for proof of identity that a voter could carry in the absence of a voter ID card, which was a circular issued by the Election Commission itself. However, some voters were in for a surprise when electoral officers at a booth in JP Nagar First Phase doubted if the Aadhar card could be deemed valid Identity proof in the light of the recent Supreme Court direction to withdraw all notifications making the cards mandatory for availing social security schemes. While some voters were flummoxed by this and meekly returned to bring other identity proofs, a section of voters were furious and fought with the officers. After a fiery exchange of words, the electoral officers did relent and allowed the voters to exercise their franchise.

- Deepa Ganesh

Little girl’s pride

While it may have been just another election for old timers, the ones who were excited besides first time voters were young children. Some children, who came to the booths with their parents, stood outside and caught a glimpse of their parents voting. A seven-year-old girl, who was thrilled visiting the polling booth at Government Lower Primary School in Devanahalli taluk with her father, was all the more excited to see his finger being marked by the indelible ink. The father requested the polling officer to put a mark on her thumb too. The polling officer obliged, and the little girl walked out of the booth sporting a hundred watt smile.

- Tanu Kulkarni


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