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Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Experience as a polling agent for AAP

I have always been a BJP supporter- it may have a lot to do with the fact that my parents were hard core Jan Sanghis and very anti Congress. However, things for me  changed considerably  when the Anna Hazare movement happened . The movement came at a time when one was just so disillusioned with the political scenario in the country- with a non functioning  Prime Minister heading an equally non functional government, with corruption in all places, with price rise etc. It wasn't that my loyalties changed but yes, there was a shift towards Anna and his ideology. As things turned out, Anna's movement fizzled out but it gave birth to a political party, the Aam Aadmi  Party . In the run up to the Delhi Assembly elections this newbie party promised many things, or rather over promised- but what arrested one's attention, interest and sympathy was the fact that they sounded sincere about looking into the malaise of corruption. So, while rooting for Mr Modi, chuckling over his one liners, looking forward to a government headed by him, one also kept track of the AAP. I definitely wanted AAP to do well in the Delhi elections- wanted them to get an encouraging response.

Just a few days before the elections I was walking with my friend, M, in the evening. We had exhausted  our usual topics ( maids, books, children, food...) and there was a momentary silence. I think it was to fill in that silence that we started speaking about the up coming elections. It turned out that M was also  a big fan of Arvind   Kejriwal and AAP and so we had a good time discussing politics before saying bye and returning home. Next morning I get a  call from M- she is all very excited and babbling incoherently. I finally am able to understand that AAP needs volunteers for election day duty, that M has already signed up and that , seeing how I was so enthusiastic about AAP, would I also like to volunteer? Since it had come down to putting my  money where my mouth was- I said yes. This happened in the morning of the eve of the assembly elections. In the evening I got a call that I was to report for 'duty' at six in the morning!

Six sharp we  ( M and I) were at the polling booth.  We hung around for half an hour , alongwith a posse of policemen, before the activity for the day began. It turned out that we were the polling agents for AAP - these agents are the guys who ensure, on behalf of their respective party, that no hanky panky occurs. After some time the poll agents for the Congress and the BJP treaded in- decent guys, infact all of us   knew each other well , and so there was an air of bonhomie from the start.

Well, polling passed off peacefully at our booth. Everything had been organized well- the election commission guys were professionals, well trained and no nonsense types. There was hardly any breathing time for us- believe me polling agents have their work cut out for them, but we enjoyed ourselves and felt very self righteous about 'doing our bit' for the fledgling party.

The best part ?  The polling booth was the booth for the  residents of our colony and the look on their faces on spotting M and me was to be seen to be believed- it was invariably, " what are you folks doing here"?