A SCENE AT A POLLING BOOTH
India is one of the largest democratic countries in the world. Democracy rests on the power of the people. Democracy is a government that depends on the consent of the governed.
In a democracy, rules are elected by the people. The members of parliament and state legislative assemblies are elected from time to time. So, elections are very important nowadays. The election commission is entrusted with the task of conducting free and fair elections in the country. The commission prepares the electoral roll for each constituency. It also announces the dates of elections in advance and makes arrangement for the smooth conduct of voting at each polling booth.
The eleventh general election in India was held in the months of April and May 1996. All the leading political parties fielded their candidates to contest seats in the election. Hectic campaigns were undertaken by the parties. There was great hustle and bustle everywhere. The election commission of India was very keen regarding rules and regulation and the norms of expenses by candidates. So candidates organized a house-to-house campaign. The stopped 48 hours before polling.
An Indian citizen who has completed the age of 18 has the right to vote. Though I was not a voter, I was curious to know about election. So I went to the polling booth nearest to my house on the day of elections. On that day all the schools, colleges, offices, markets and other institutions were closed. There were some tents put up near the booth. They all belonged to different parties. Long queues of men and women were seen at the booth.
The polling booth is under the control and supervision of a presiding officer. There also polling officers to help him. The agents of the candidates are also present at a booth. Ballot boxes are kept behind a curtain. When a voter comes, the first polling officers calls out his or her loudly. When the voter is identified, the second polling officer applies indelible ink on the sign or affixes his thumb impression on the counterfoil of the ballot paper. Then the voter goes behind the curtain and puts a cross mark on the ballot paper against the candidate’s name or the symbol of the candidate he wants to vote. Then it is folded and put into the ballot box. On the day of my visit to the booth the voting started at 7 am in the morning and continued till 5 in the evening. There were some attempts of malpractice. Two persons came and tried to cast the vote for some other persons. But the presiding officer didn’t allow them to vote. When the polling was over, the ballot boxes were sealed and sent to the counting centres. Thus the polling came to an end peacefully.
It was a very interesting and delightful thing to watch the anxious faces of the candidates and their supporters. Everyone was hoping the success of his or her candidate.