In India, elections are big affair. Be it parliamentary or Panchayati elections, it is high pitch voltage drama. But, the amount of involvement of masses and administration does vary. Bigger the election lesser is panic, lesser is botheration and lesser is pressure on the administration. Even the amount of canvassing (which is unmatched across the globe), goes up as we step down in the hierarchical position in democratic structure going for election. Panchayati or municipality election (the lowest rung of local government) is a scenario of posters, flags, and hoardings at every corner, lane and street. This becomes more scattered as the area of constituency grows. Local level dhol and drums vanish and instead of relying on door to door foot contact the contestants shift their trust on fast moving vehicles, breezily waving their hands non stop, hurting their wrists by over exercising it. Therefore, hence proved that level of position going to hustings is inversely proportional to intensity of drama.
As part of Chief electoral office, I had first hand knowledge of action at the top level. State Assembly election was war at all fronts. Everyday was a Monday, in full session, with meetings lined up back to back, information flowing in and out at bizarre pace, day unfolding as if there is no tomorrow, and tomorrow being again the same today. Life relentlessly paced through, without breather to recollect and retrospect. If anyone lost sense of humour then it was solid frustration, and if humour prevailed then it was challenge to save it from drying out soon. Wit wilted and venom flowed, succumbing under immense pressure of work and work culture.
I have come back to election office, to liaison for police department again. I landed up with misgivings that parliamentary elections are bigger than assembly, and hence more nerve wrecking, hair splitting, and demanding. But, there was big surprise in store for me. It is turning out to be cool affair, with things moving very normal, which is abnormal in this office. I had experienced a situation when normality was out of place and abnormality a norm. A volte-face in situation is keeping me in dilemma, as to when the bubble of abnormal peace will burst and things will go haywire. Everything looked opposite- smiles staying on face for unnecessarily longer period than required, putting doubt on its credulity. People were taking pains to describe their business and busyness, in order to justify their involvement at same fervor as in last elections.
Witnessing the election process from top, having a bird’s eye view is an experience in itself. Last time, it opened the whole world for me, having a perspective beyond police. I realized that police was a cog in the machinery, which though having important role to play, was not the only important organization. Hitherto, I was under impression that ‘we’ were ‘I’, in the election process and ‘I’ dominated the electoral process. However, during first stint, I realized the concept of ‘we’ in totality in this mammoth electoral 'Yagya'. I am enjoying this parliamentary election, sitting in hot chair. Hot chair- not because of some power or being most wanted in thick of action- but, because of sitting in a room on top third floor with big two wall glass doors, without ventilator, letting all sunshine getting trapped and baking me right from morning to dusk, and only noisy ceiling fan fanning the oven. Surely, this experience will add value to my knowledge.