iconimg Sunday, August 02, 2015

Manoj Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 04, 2013
It is 2 pm on Wednesday and 81-year-old Snehlata Goel is sitting with a neighbour and surfing channels. Usually, the small TV set in her bedroom plays some soap or the other, but today it’s a news-only menu. It is poll day in Delhi and Snehlata’s elder son is the BJP's chief ministerial candidate, Dr Harsh Vardhan.
 
"I do not know why they are repeatedly flashing the news of the arrest of some Swami,” she says, referring to self-styled godman Asaram's son Narayan Sai, a tad irritated. “I just want to know if people are coming out to vote or not."
 
In a while, the domestic help, 33-year-old Gyan saunters in. Snehlata mentions he had gone out to cast his vote at a booth in Krishna Nagar — the constituency from where Vardhan is contesting. "Whom did you vote for?" she asks. "The BJP, who else?" he mutters before disappearing into the kitchen.
 
Snehlata herself cast her vote early in the morning. "Harsh Vardhan came home very late last night and asked me to get ready by 7 am so we could go together. When I reached the polling booth, I was swamped by photographers. I do not know what they wanted my photograph for."
 
The neighbour, Annu Jain, is ebullient, she seems pretty convinced that Harsh Vardhan will be the next chief minister of Delhi. The mother of the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, however, is more discreet. "I am looking forward to December 13 . It is Harsh Vardhan’s birthday. My son has put in a lot of hard work and he should win."
 
The story goes that when Harsh Vardhan was named CM candidate, Snehlata got the news from her younger son out in Australia, "Harsh Vardhan does not discuss politics with me, only my health."
 
And she too is worried for him. How will a win affect his career as a doctor, how much of added responsibility will he have to take on, will they have to shift houses — are some of the questions crowding her mind.
 
Interrupting the flow of thought, Annu Jain chimes in: “Can I attend the swearing-in ceremony?" Pat comes the tactical answer: “Well, this is premature question; no one in the family has thought about that yet."