At last the elections are over. In our ward, Shakuntala finished behind the Congress candidate, who was re-elected.
India is proud to be the world’s largest democracy. And these local elections are taken seriously, especially in economically deprived areas like Tadiwala Road. While allegations of malpractice surface from time to time, the elections are generally expected to be ‘free and fair’. And despite dodgy voter inducements such as illegal cash payments, or even bizarre supposedly legal ‘incentive’ schemes, people generally accept the results once they have been announced.
The Congress party workers were certainly celebrating. They set up some huge loudspeakers and partied away with dancing, fireworks, paint-throwing and all that tamasha. I spotted a vehicle pulling up just near to the DGS office. Out jumped a couple of Congress workers, who soon unloaded bottles of Kingfisher Strong beer (‘strong is wrong’ – I know from painful experience) and several pegs of whisky. Time for a party. They must have spent a fair few rupees on hiring those speakers; the monotonous pounding music was driving us nuts. And then suddenly, it stopped.
Peace at last! Excellent.
It turns out that a fight had broken out. A few hooligans were chasing each other up the road wielding big sticks. Hence no more music. Things are back to normal now, and Tadiwala Road has reverted to its regular status of what I’d call ‘chaotic harmony’… There’s rarely a dull moment around here.