Letter from the polls

By Nitin Gupta
Sana Dua promoting Voting in Jammu and Kashmir

The biggest global democratic exercise—Indian general elections 2019—have been getting lot of coverage across the globe. Former ministerial adviser Mr Nitin Gupta, who visited India as an “election tourist”, to study and observe the political action on ground, analyses few incidents that went viral at the time

★ Election “Brand Ambassador”

The first runner-up of Femina Miss India 2017 contest Sana Dua was announced as the brand ambassador for the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sana voluntarily offered her services to the state Election Department for educating, creating awareness and motivating the electorate to exercise their franchise to ensure greater participation in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Sana’s victory in the Miss India Beauty pageant had put J&K on the global beauty map. She has been taking her new role with Election Commissions pretty seriously, and went about encouraging and motivating the eligible youth to register themselves as voters, and use their voting rights during the poll process.

An advocate by profession and an enthusiastic social activist, Sana went around reiterating the Election Commission’s slogan “No Voter Should Be Left Behind”. She has been appealing to the general masses, especially the young voters to celebrate “Desh ka Maha Tyohar”, and exercise their right of franchise in the ensuing elections.

★ Polls, camera, action

Indian film industries are not just a form of entertainment but also a parallel form of information which serves as a form of visual literacy for people from the lower and lower-middle class.

The movie industry plays such a central role in popular Indian culture that several prominent actors have even found a place in temples, where they are literally idolized and worshiped. Many actors have also parlayed their on-screen reputations into successful, real-life political careers.

Scores of film industry stakeholders from Bollywood and other Indian film industries are involved in the Indian elections 2019—either as candidates or as star campaigners.

The Bhojpuri film industry too made its presence felt with trio of Manoj Tiwari, Ravi Kishan and Nirahua Yadav in the race for Lok Sabha. Indian PM Narendra Modi’s interview with actor Akshay Kumar was one of the most discussed topics on internet for few days.

BJP denied ticket to Dr Udit Raj, replacing him with popular singer Hansraj Hans in Delhi. Scores of other actors such as Sunny Deol, Hema Malini, Jaya Prada, Urmila, Naghma, Pawan Kalyan, Vivek Oberoi, Poonam Dhillon, Ameesha Patel, Divya Spandana, are involved directly or indirectly in the Indian elections 2019.

Sunny Deol with Bobby at Election Office
★ One tight slap

Misogyny can strike any time, and on the stray occasion, get struck back harder. A video showing actor-turned-Congress leader Khushbu Sundar slapping a man who harassed her during an election rally in Bengaluru generated a lot of attention on social media. The act went viral on social media. People from across the party lines praised Khushbu for being a strong woman.

Twitter user Sagay Raj termed her swift response as “Instant Karma” or Kapala Moksha in Kannada.

★ Sing song and squabble

To raise the issue of Minister Mrs Smriti Irani’s educational qualifications, and the discrepancies in declaring them in election affidavits over the years, former INC Spokesperson Mrs Priyanka Chaturvedi used her creativity to pen and sing a parody.

Mrs Chaturvedi twisted the lyrics of title track from legendary television serial starring Smriti “Kyuni Saas bhi” to “Kyunki Mantri bhi kabhi”.

The parody song went viral, bringing in spot light the lyrics writing and singing abilities of Mrs Priyanka Chaturvedi. The song provided some light hearted entertainment in the political heat of Indian elections.

Few days later due to differences with the Indian National Congress, Mrs Chaturvedi resigned from INC. She later joined Shiv Sena, and has recently been given the post of “Upneta” in her new party, with the responsibility on increasing Sena’s imprint in Hindi speaking population across Maharashtra.


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