In a democratic country, the Government is in the hands of the elected representatives of the people. Hence elections are held after every fixed period of time to elect suitable persons to carry on the Government. There are elections to the Indian Parliament and the various state legislatures every five years. Elections are also held for the various local bodies as the Municipal Board and the District Board.
This year, elections were held in my city to elect representatives for the Municipal Board. The different political parties- Congress, BJP, Communist etc- took part in the elections. Some of the candidates did not belong to any political party but contested the elections as independents. A school building near my house was elected as the place of election for my ward.
Weeks before the election canvassing began; the different political parties took out processions and organized meetings to place their programmes before the public. The candidates and their supporters also went about in rickshaws and tongas, fitted with loud-speakers, shouting their slogans. Pamphlets and handbills were freely distributed and stuck upon walls. As the day of the election approached, the canvassing gathered momentum. The candidates now began to go from door to door for canvassing.
A day before the election, elaborate preparations began at the polling station. It was divided into three polling booths by tying bamboos wherever necessary. In every booth a curtain was hung in one corner. Two tables were also arranged at fixed places in every booth. I was told that the Ballot boxes would be placed behind curtain, and the tables and chairs were to be used by the different polling officers.
The election was to begin at 8A.M. sharp, the Presiding Officer and the Polling Officers all arrived two hours earlier. The ballot boxes were sealed before the representatives of the different candidates who had also arrived, and were then placed behind the curtain in every booth. As the time of the election drew near the hustle and bustle increased. The voters had already arrived in large numbers. All canvassing was strictly prohibited. Some people were moving about talking and chatting, and others were standing in lines outside the three booths. Suitable police arrangements had also been made to maintain law and order.
At five minutes to eight all the polling officers were in their seats. The election began at exact 8 A.M. The election procedure was a simple one. A voter would first go to the table. Here he was identified and a mark placed against his name in the voters list. His finger was then marked with an indelible ink so that he might not vote again. Then he went on to the second table. Here he was given the ballot paper and the procedure for casting the vote was explained to him. He then went behind the curtain and cast his vote in secrecy. The blind, the infirm and the cripple were helped by the presiding officer to cast their votes.
The election continued smoothly till 1 p.m. Then there was an hour’s break for lunch. The polling had been brisk and most of the voters had already voted.
When the election began again at 2 p.m.., it was comparatively quiet. Most of the spectators had gone home. The voter came only in two’s and three’s. The election continued till 5 p.m. Then the ballot boxes were again sealed before representatives of the different political parties and dispatched in safe custody to the Municipal Board. The election thus came to an end.