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Voting day finally arrives

April 30, 2009
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The day arrived and I voted. It was a difficult choice as major parties in my area had fielded criminals. I wonder if that was why there wern’t many people around…but then I guess we went early, at 7:30. I had no choice but to vote for an Independent. I just hope he doesn’t lose his deposit!

They are marking the middle finger nowadays. Lets hope we can show this same finger to the netas when the results are out.

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65 Comments leave one →
  1. Vinod permalink
    April 30, 2009 9:20 am

    Lol.

  2. April 30, 2009 9:50 am

    Maybe it’s their way of telling the nation that it will take a few million middle fingers to shake our politicians into action!

  3. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 30, 2009 9:59 am

    //They are marking the middle finger nowadays.//

    Strange. I was marked on the index finger. So either there is no prescribed procedure or someone goofed up. I hope the EC does not annul my vote in case it is the latter.

  4. April 30, 2009 10:16 am

    Thats not correct… I dont think there is any change of rules.
    I voted in the phase 2 last week… and they marked the index finger as always…

  5. April 30, 2009 10:27 am

    Vinod, AD, :) :)

    Vivek and Soul, we went in a group and they asked for the middle finger, for each one of us. Perhaps we mumbaikars are a specially privileged lot who can show them our middle finger. :)

  6. April 30, 2009 10:37 am

    LOL :-D

    Yup, the middle-finger is reserved for Mumbaikars this time!

  7. April 30, 2009 11:39 am

    @ Nita : Hate the ink thingy. I mean in all these years they could have come up with a better way of marking people who have voted. How about a retinal scan or fingerprint reader like the one’s they use at the airports? That is completely fool proof. Anyway good that you have voted and shown them your middle finger.

    • April 30, 2009 11:43 am

      Whats wrong with the ink thing? Not good for yr skin… or doesnt match your nail polish..?

      Retinal scan? Fingerprint reader? Hahahaa…What next? Evoting… coz u dont want to go to the booth… or a Mind-reader to read whom u want to vote for – coz pressing the button is too old fashioned already…

      • April 30, 2009 12:10 pm

        What next? Tweet to vote! :-)

        • April 30, 2009 12:31 pm

          Mahendra:

          I did the next best thing – tweeted the post ;-)

          Nita:

          What happens with a postal ballot?

          • April 30, 2009 7:45 pm

            Shefaly, postal ballot is usually opened after the voting is done and before the vote is allowed it is checked that no one of that name has voted. I am not sure how foolproof this system is and whether there are any other checks and balances. I do know that nowadays people in the army no longer vote by postal ballot. They are now allowed to vote wherever they are posted.

      • April 30, 2009 3:44 pm

        What is wrong with the ink is that it is not indelible. It is removable and people can cheat. Not to mention you are right, it looks ugly and its a bit like branding animals so its also in my mind a bit demeaning.

        Actually E-voting is a good idea! If they can find a secure way to do that. India does not even have the postal ballot, if it did I am sure more people would actually vote. How many people would not be able to vote because they are not even scheduled to be home on that day? I already know a few!

        • April 30, 2009 4:16 pm

          Well, if u worry abt the decimal who can remove their indebible ink mark and then come back with another EPIC/Photo-id and vote again…think of the scope of scams that can happen in e-voting… Even the richest and most technically advanced countries dont have evoting… no one will trust it – and there will be lot more of chaos and mistrust with charges of hacked results… It just doesnt cut right now… Maybe in 2020..yes!!!

          Comeon…atleast our system is more robust than what they had in Florida…took weeks to count and decide which joker won.

          BTW… if u are worried abt the few who may ‘taken off for the long weekend’ and so couldn’t vote (or didn’t care to)… what abt the zillions who wouldnt have e-access…

          • April 30, 2009 6:00 pm

            @ A soul in exile : You seem to have taken this discussion completely in to a new direction.

            I did not say that e-voting is feasible right now. So there is no point discussing it, all I said was that it was a good idea. It is your jumping to conclusion that I am advocating such a thing.

            Fingerprint scanners are available right now, like I said they are deployed at many airports to cross check if people are entering on fake passports. I think we can have biometrics in voting to make it foolproof, there is no need for such ink. The whole city of Chandigarh has smart chip embedded drivers licenses as an example, so why cant you have smart card enabled photo ID cards for voters that carry their biometric information?

            People should be able to vote no matter where they are on the day of the election or at least they should have an option to vote by post. That is a system prevalent in many countries. Also it is considerably cheaper than setting up one polling station for only one voter in Gir, Gujarat as an example! What about the old, the handicapped, the invalids etc, would they not benefit from a postal ballot. Not to mention people not in the country at that moment?

            I do not care what happened in Florida. It is not where I put my vote. I am talking about changes and improvements to the system that exists here! Marking people with ink may carry symbolism for you but to me it just represents ‘lack of vision’.

  8. April 30, 2009 11:56 am

    lol :P

  9. April 30, 2009 12:20 pm

    Seems to be a MH phenomenon? A relative in Kolhapur was also marked on the middle finger.

  10. April 30, 2009 12:21 pm

    I would not show “finger” to them. Because I am sure most of them do not have any idea what it means :D :D

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      April 30, 2009 7:49 pm

      Suda,

      You’re right. Our glorious, ancient civilisation is totally innocent of crudities ;-) .

  11. April 30, 2009 12:22 pm

    LOL @ the finger.

    the politicians deserve it.

  12. April 30, 2009 5:38 pm

    NITA,I have always maintained that those are good for lighting candles for the TVs are not ones who actually vote.They will discuss the politics tonight over a drink.At the close of the day,voting was close to 20%.??

    • April 30, 2009 7:33 pm

      BK, in south mumbai apparently it’s around 22% and that is sad! overall in mumbai it’s over 40% and down from last year. It is very very sad! Tomorrow being first may and a holiday it’s a long weekend and a lot of people have left mumbai! Either that, or just apathy. Whichever way, it’s bad.

      p.s. (an hour later) I need to make a correction here. It’s not 22% but around 42 or 43% and in some parts of mumbai the turnout is 49%. In fact the voting percentages in south mumbai has gone up from last time (although a slight decrease for overall mumbai from last time) and so has voter registration. So this means that a much larger number of people from south mumbai have gone in to vote, if one takes into account an increase in total registrations and turnout. One does not know who actually voted, the ones who protested after 26/11 or the ones who didn’t but initial reports suggest that there has been a decrease in slumdwellers voting in mumbai. Not sure how valid this report is and what it means.

  13. April 30, 2009 5:42 pm

    You are not supposed to disclose for whom you voted for. There may be ‘n’ nos. of independents but still better not even orientation let known in open.

  14. April 30, 2009 6:44 pm

    hehe …. amusing post Nita,

    For the purpose of marking, the thumb is a good option too, depending on the educational profile (or rather the lack of it) of one’s candidate !!

    vaibhav

  15. Alice permalink
    April 30, 2009 7:32 pm

    i have a mark on the middle finger too… how weird is that…!

  16. April 30, 2009 7:53 pm

    Hmm. Surprised to hear criminals stand for elections in Mumbai.Had thought it was a UP/Bihar phenomenon.

    • April 30, 2009 8:31 pm

      Arby, I guess we should count ourselves lucky because in the constituency where I was voting only three people had a criminal background and alas all three were from major parties! but over all there were dozens more whom one could choose from and none of them had criminal backgrounds, although few were educated.

      • April 30, 2009 8:40 pm

        But then winnability becomes an issue. Is this a general trend in Mumbai – Main parties fielding people with criminal background? If so, I am curious to know whether there has been a strong voice for “Reject All” option among the voters?

        • April 30, 2009 9:27 pm

          No, this is not the trend Arby. Just happened to be so where I was voting from. And yes there is a no-vote option but not on the electronic voting machine. One has to do it in writing. I didn’t find out as I was not planning to do it.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      April 30, 2009 11:08 pm

      Arby:

      The phenomenon has migrated.

  17. rags permalink
    April 30, 2009 8:01 pm

    Only 40%… I thought people wanted to make a statement after the Mumbai attacks… Atleast that’s how they sounded on We The People and their candle light vigils ;-)

    • April 30, 2009 8:30 pm

      rags, it’s more than 40% and I believe that south mumbai turnout is higher than the previous elections. Also registrations are higher which means that a lot more people have gone out to vote in south mumbai. However central mumbai turnout was lower than last time and it has decreased the average. I heard some news reports talking of a decrease in slumdwellers voting, and I am not sure whether this report is right and if it is, then why it is so.

      • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
        April 30, 2009 11:15 pm

        Nita,

        Central Mumbai (meaning Parel, Lalbag and all those mill areas) have undergone a very percepible gentrification, from the predominantly working class areas that they were. So it comes as no great surprise that the turnout has been lower. The decrease in slumdwellers voting could be an indication of a decrease in their population in those areas — the slums themselves have perhaps moved to other parts of the city.

        Vivek, perhaps you are right. Need to get at what really happened. I am sure there will be a lot of analysis on this in the coming weeks. – Nita.

  18. Sudhir Jatar permalink
    April 30, 2009 8:36 pm

    According to a report by the Association of Democratic Rights (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW), as many as 258 candidates, constituting 17.3% of a total of 1,567 in the poll fray in 13 states for the third phase of polling have serious charges framed against them:
    Out of the total 107 constituencies, as many as 45 have three or more candidates with criminal cases pending against them. There are 392 charges of heinous nature on the candidates which includes murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, extortion among others.
    Number of Candidates with Criminal Charges:
    Samajwadi Party 13, BJP 9, BSP 8, INC 7
    States with Maximum Number of Candidates with Criminal Backgrounds:
    Gujarat 69, Bihar 54, Maharashtra 36
    State with Highest Percentage of Candidates with Criminal Backgrounds:
    Bihar 27, Gujarat 19, Maharashtra 18, UP 14

    By the way, it is not important which finger is marked so long as any of the fingers is to establish that you have voted once!! Let us not miss the wood for the bark!!!

  19. April 30, 2009 9:00 pm

    It’s good that you went out and voted. But when you are sure that you are voting for someone who would never win , it’s like wasting your vote.It’s a very unfortunate situation when you have to vote for a criminal still I would have preferred to vote for a political party which I think can take the country forward because I think the policies of the political parties at the center affect you more.
    This is my first voting experience : http://tinyurl.com/dnk7k2

    • April 30, 2009 9:48 pm

      @ Nikhil George:

      I don’t think if you are voting for someone who you think would never win is like ‘wasting’ your right to franchisee. If a person can contest the election despite being sure of not winning ‘this’ time, one can always vote for him/her in hope that sooner than later things would change for the better. That’s the “audacity of hope” for you ! : ) ‘Change’, by its very nature, is slow…
      Voting for the ‘least bad’ candidate is not a very bad thing to do, believe me, considering that your not voting could benefit someone or the other in the bigger analysis.
      But yes, “none of the above” also ought to be introduced.

      vaibhav

    • April 30, 2009 10:08 pm

      “But when you are sure that you are voting for someone who would never win , it’s like wasting your vote.”

      But how will someone win unless people vote for that person first? If we already know before voting who will win, why vote in the first place?

      You have somewhat of a Catch-22 logic going on in your comment. It’s the केंकड़ा mentality of pulling others down. ;)

  20. April 30, 2009 9:33 pm

    Nikhil, congratulations on your first vote. About the other aspect you mentioned, about wasting your vote, no I don’t think so. If everyone thought so then good people would never win would they! We have to make a difference by voting for the right candidate even if we feel that he would never win. If he gets a sufficient number of votes maybe in the next election some major party will give him a ticket. Today major parties are giving tickets to criminals because these criminals due to their muscle power manage to intimidate and bribe people into voting. Finally these independents, if they win, do join up a political party, and I know that choosing the right candidate is what is important. Someone who won’t take money to ask questions in parliament, someone who will not take commissions from government contracts. The individual matters. At present the parties don’t think individuals matter, that is why they field criminal candidates! Once they realise that people care, that people will vote only for honest people, then they will give better people tickets. This is sure to happen. The electorate has to change first.
    Overall though it’s a tough decision if candidates are bad, and finally it is an individual decision.

    • May 1, 2009 2:30 pm

      I so agree Nita! You have explained this so well. I have been following this and it is possible that we a larger number of voters from South Mumbai this time.

  21. Sudhir Jatar permalink
    April 30, 2009 9:44 pm

    The Supreme Court, on 23 Feb. 09, has asked a larger bench to decide on a ‘no vote’ choice for voters as the question involved interpretation of a citizen’s fundamental right. The bench would also examine the “width and amplitude” of the EC’s powers under Article 32.
    The election commission (EC) has already supported People Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), in its contention that voters be given ‘no vote’ choice in electronic voting machines (EVMs). But the Centre says this right cannot be given as the right to vote strictly means to put a stamp in favour of a candidate.
    Judges said PUCL and DMK leader Era Sezhiyan have sought striking down of Rules 41(2) and 49-O and issue of a direction to the EC to make appropriate provision in the ballot papers and EVMs to enable voters to exercise their right to negative voting and keep exercise of this right secret. This can be expressed either by staying away from polling or by going to the station and informing the presiding officer or by “positively discarding” all candidates.
    Under the existing provisions of Sections 49(O) and 128 of the Representation of Peoples Act, a voter, who after coming to a polling booth if does not want to cast his vote, has to inform the presiding officer of his intention not to vote, who in turn would make an entry in the relevant rule book after taking the signature of the said voter. This is not secret ballot and is not the same as the ‘no-vote’ option.

  22. Dev permalink
    April 30, 2009 10:10 pm

    Nita, congratulations for voting! I hope that the candidate you voted for wins.

  23. April 30, 2009 10:53 pm

    i will turn 18 after the elections are done away with. i guess i will have to wait till the next general elections. i would have certainly voted for nobody . at least the criminals cum politicians shouldnt feed on my vote
    and yes, keep your fingers crossed. i guess the finger will do its magic for the netas!

    Arpit, there are a lot of Independents whom one can vote for. There is absolutely no necessity of voting for a corrupt politicians. The more people come out and vote for honest people, the better it will be for our country. – Nita.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      April 30, 2009 11:21 pm

      Arpit:

      //…after the elections are done away with// ???

      I seriously hope not !!!

  24. May 1, 2009 12:47 am

    Nita, there is apathy yes, but its towards these parliamentary elections for this authoritarian central government that keeps denying the states and the people of India their rights.

    The voting in the assembly elections for MP, Delhi and J&K last year had high turnouts. Why ? Because people know that state and local government are more responsive to their needs.

    The central government just ends up being a bunch of autocrats (also called the Cabinet) that force down unconstitutional ‘notifications down the populations throat.

    Instead of doing its job and making sure that states like Chhattisgarh dont create private armies that terrorize the population the ‘centre’ just wants to rule India like some colonial empire. So in many ways these elections are nothing but a big joke.


    Can’t say I agree with you here Vikram. These elections are crucial and I am quite sure that people this time have been far more responsive. I have been hearing that far more educated people have voted even in Mumbai than ever before. Any changes take time. And I have hope for the future. – Nita.

  25. May 1, 2009 1:44 am

    I think that either the EC is plain dumb or they are being sarcastic! But looking at the brighter side, we can show the finger without anyone raising a question.
    p.s. won’t it be against the Bhartiya Sabhyata when a woman shows her middle finger to someone??

    Amit, yeah, our version of the Taliban, if given a chance, will want to give the mark on a woman’s forehead for all religions, in the name of Hindutva! :) – Nita.

  26. May 1, 2009 2:50 am

    @ Amit:

    I’m sure that the thing about showing the middle finger being against our ‘bhartiya sabhyata’ would be equally true for us men ! : )

    @ Nita:

    Is that your finger in the picture? *curious* : )

    • May 1, 2009 3:00 am

      Well, it depends what the custodians of our culture think. 100% of the time, they don’t care what the men in this country do! :P

    • May 1, 2009 6:49 am

      yeah vaibhav, that’s my finger. Don’t use nailpolish, never grew my nails.

  27. May 1, 2009 1:56 pm

    @ vivek : i mean to say that i will miss my chance to vote this year because i will turn 18 on 6 june which is like 1 mnth after elections are over. so i missed the opportunity.even when i was posting my comment i too felt that line had double meaning. grammatical errors. sorry!

  28. May 1, 2009 2:58 pm

    nita, it does not make sense voting for an independent candidate for whom u r skeptical that he will lose his deposit. I believe that when u r in dilemma about the candidate, one hv to choose the party and the ideology he/she believes in or has faith in it. When there r two devils to choose from, u hv to choose a lesser devil or a party u believe in.

    I’m disappointed that u ,being politically aware and active, hv wasted ur precious vote and that too at very precious time for the country.

    • May 2, 2009 7:33 am

      Soham, I am but an ordinary citizen voting for change and I know if not today, then tomorrow the parties will field good candidates. In the meantime I refuse to vote for devils even if it results in a hung parliament. I prefer a no-vote. I will not compromise my principles and be in any way responsible for voting in a known devil. I won’t be able to sleep at night! And this is the path I have chosen and I hope that others choose this path too and one day India wakes up to a better tomorrow. Everyone has different visions for a better India Soham, and this is mine. I want the parties to learn a lesson, that fielding criminals and devils will result in a no-result.

      • Nisha permalink
        May 3, 2009 2:25 pm

        I agree with Nita. Each of us have to vote for the person we think is the right person to represent us (i.e a person we feel is one who holds as similar an opinion as ours and will represent it in a discussion in the parliament). Only when all of us do that is a person who represents the most of us elected. It beats the purpose if we vote for the person we think most people are going to vote for. By doing that we effectively give up our representation.

  29. May 1, 2009 5:00 pm

    Middle Finger is back…
    Don’t meddle with it man. ;-)
    I just today itself saw pic of Bachchan family showing middle fingers to everyone.
    (Oops!! I meant that they wanted to show everyone that even if you are a celebrity, then to you have just one vote. So go and give it)

  30. May 1, 2009 6:59 pm

    As a side thought: The photo seems to be the finger of your left hand. Assuming that you clip your fingernails at the same time, I’m guessing that the finger on your right hand is also of the same size. Assuming that you eat your food Indian style, NITA, its not hygienic!!

  31. May 1, 2009 11:01 pm

    lol … too good … the middle finger says it all!!!! :P

  32. J Paul permalink
    May 3, 2009 3:55 am

    Why do we always see pathetic voting percentages in North India. I liked the CNN-IBN header ‘Mumbai Can’t, Mumbai Won’t. Well it seems that urban India just don’t have the sense of duty to exercise franchise but prefer sitting in the comfort of their homes and sending sms’s, mails etc for everything and anything they want to change. I thought Mumbai would come out strong especially after 26/11 but I feel so sorry for Mumbaikers.

  33. Padmini permalink
    May 4, 2009 3:27 am

    I was wondering what the Bollywood folks (those who voted,of course) were doing holding their finger up. Nita, good comment.

  34. May 4, 2009 3:17 pm

    http://www.hindu.com/2009/05/01/stories/2009050160562200.htm
    The picture says it all.
    Amir Khan on the ‘other hand’ showed two of his fingers. :D

  35. May 8, 2009 6:37 pm

    we had our index fingers marked and as I saw on tv, Delhi people too got index finger marked. I wonder why was the middle finger marked in Mumbai.

  36. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 30, 2009 7:54 pm

    Now wait a minute! Was it tweeted or twitted? If the latter, is it the post or Shefaly that’s being made out to be a twit? (No offence meant, Shefaly).

Trackbacks

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