“We prepare for the poll a day in advance,” says Roopal, 22, who went to vote on February 8 in Bahraich along with seven family members. “Sometimes we need to buy a new sari, accessories and even make-up.”
Even conservative Muslim women are seen queuing up outside polling booths in their best satin or silk burqas.
“We do not take voting day casually. We decide who we will go with and at what time,” says Rani, 27, from Barabanki. “For instance, the women in our family decided to go voting between 9am and 11am after serving breakfast, and then return in time to prepare the lunch.”
Voting is almost like going to a party, said Hemwati Shakya, 32, from Umaran, who attended the rally jointly addressed by Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi in Rae Bareli on February 14, five days before polling. “We don’t often get an opportunity to go out, and so we make the most of it,” said Shakya.