I believe that the “Secret ballot” is a misnomer in the Indian context, more so in the age of the exit-polls. if one takes a good look around then its easy to come across people who are discussing about which party they had voted for and the reasons for it. the reasons offered range from the serious to the inane. the locality i live in has a liberal number of old-fashioned residents. the families do not encourage their womenfolk to pursue higher education or to take up jobs. so the women (mostly married in their teens) are confined to their homes, watch sob-stories on the telly and exchange juicy gossips. they hardly get to read any newspapers as none are delivered at their doorsteps and they do not make an effort to keep themselves updated with the world around them. an election means that they go to vote for a party as per the instructions of their menfolk or as per their fancy. i once heard a woman say that she had stamped on the beautiful “kamal the phool because that was the only symbol that was looking good”.

for people like them and many others a party, candidate, political idealogy, national and state level equations are beyond comprehension or worse, they could’nt care less. so an election is just another festival where they get to see a number of slogan-shouting people marching down the road and colourful symbols and hoardings.

perhaps the same goes for a section of the young urban population. their world revolves around their careers, social activities, relationships, hobbies etc. when they go to vote they hardly calculate whether their mobile phone is going to cost more if the candidate of their choice comes to power.

in such a scenario a number of people take the entire exercise with a “non-serious” air. what a person chooses to do about the secrecy of his/her ballot depends solely upon him/her, as i guess there is no constitutional compulsion. it is assumed prudent not to disclose one’s choice as a pronounced “bias” might cause offence.

as for me…i enjoy the desperate and futile proddings that my neighbours attempt to make me talk. perhaps the best policy is to watch attentively from the sidelines, make a well thought out decision and then go to the polling booth.

btw..swb i enjoyed ur last post abt your cousin’s fancy for dimples.

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