Friday, April 04, 2014

An election like no other

An election like no other, say the pundits. However, almost no two elections are the same. There is something or the other happening. Sometimes, we say this before the election - sometimes after. Having said that, I remember many previous elections where this sort of a feeling was there. The one I remember far back was the voting of VP Singh into power. And then of course, how PV Narasimha Rao, came to power and stayed there for 5 years. And then of course, AB Vajpayees famous speech on how he would not compromise to get the support of legislators - and returned to power in a spectacular re-election.

Be that as it may, this election is still an election like no other. One, the connect this election has established at the ground has been amazing. Almost everybody around is politically aware and 'in the democratic process'. The number of volunteers, selflessly contributing time - taken from their jobs, family lives and other activities is amazing to see. There are people of all hues and ages across parties. Old and young, men and women - the number of 'people like us' who are ordinarily disengaged from the electoral process and hurly burly of politics are 'connected' this time.

Social media - leads in building awareness. Whethere it is twitter, facebook and even whatsapp - politics is all around and the voter is an immensely aware voter - whichever direction she votes. Mainstream media while it is still around the discourse is not such a big player any longer. Things go viral on youtube, twitter and then is shared widely on whatsapp and other groups - whether media focusses on it or not is a separate point altogether. And many a time social media leads the way and media merely follows.

The visceral engagement of people that I see here is amazing.

And yet, there are our usual suspects - the great muddle class. Going on summer vacations - right at the time of elections. It is sad to see these people do so - despite having that crucial vote. But these are perhaps the people who see themselves as having no stake in the country - just remember if you dont vote, you cannot crib. And perhaps they wont - they will just press the escape button and leave. Anyway for the rest of us, elections are up and we will vote. Please spread the word!

The word is that this is indeed an election like no other (like perhaps the next one and the previous one and then some), but watch out for April 10th - the first date of polls. If there is a record breaking turnout - it is perhaps a 'wave' election - keep watching!

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