First general elections that I have faint memories of were 1971 Loksabha elections that are best remembered for landslide victory for a breakaway congress led by Indira. I was very young- may be in class 2nd or 3rd but the festivities associated with elections caught my fancy as a child. There were meetings in which parties would generously distribute flags and metal batches bearing party symbol. Collecting these party batches as memorabilia was a favourite pastime of children. Of course, Bollywood has always been a national obsession and I didn’t remain untouched by it and the thought of seeing film stars in person generated unprecedented euphoria. I distinctly remember a meeting addressed by then very young and super handsome Dilip Kumar. Crowds had simply gone berserk to catch a glimpse of their favourite thespian. And there were other speakers of excellent oratorical skills. Most prominent of them was youthful Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who subsequently led the destiny of this nation with great distinction, whose oratory would keep audiences spellbound for hours. He interspersed his speech with anecdotes laden with rustic humour.
And then I followed consecutive elections, each strengthening the democratic fabric of this great country. Elections were highlighted by serious issues, great leaders, good orators, celebrities and the right earnestness they deserved but there was seldom bitterness, violence and rowdiness. Leaders were gracious enough to accept the verdict with humility and assured the elected Government of all the cooperation in driving the national agenda for next 5 years. There was no acrimony, enmity or aversion.
The provocation for this blog came from the current round of elections being held in 4 states where the acrimony, bitterness and aversion seem to have touched all time high. Let’s restore the grace and associated festivity of elections – objective of all parties and leaders ultimately is to take India ahead of all other countries. If objective is same and is so noble why then this acrimony?