Wednesday morning was full of ecstatic highs, and for some, shocking lows. After America voted, the countdown to the vote tally for US Presidential Election was telecast live at the US Embassy in Chanakyapuri in the Capital. At 7am, the atmosphere was already charged with excitement, and the early morning dew didn’t stop Delhiites from pouring in. An All-American breakfast welcomed the guests, with pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, chunks of ham dipped in maple gravy and muffins.
At the venue, mock elections kept the guests entertained, with secret ballot boxes installed and ‘I voted!’ stickers ready to be put on display. Some posed with cardboard cut-outs of their favourite candidate, ready to Instagram them as soon as the result was announced. By noon, the chilly morning faded into a sunny sky and the big screen updated the tally, with the odds deviating towards Donald Trump. This resulted in an evident shift in the mood considering majority of the guests present were a part of camp Clinton.
In a crowd that comprised mostly of diplomats and ambassadors, students from Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia were also seen indulging in some star and stripes talk. Gauri Sharma, a second year student of political science at DCAC, said, “I am extremely saddened because I’d never want Trump to win, given his derogatory comments and flamboyant attitude.”
Another student, Mir Faisal Yousuf, a first year physics student at Jamia feels that this win would impact immigrants and minorities, especially Muslims. “I wasn’t expecting this to be such a close contest. Being a minority, I’m a Hillary supporter. I wish to do my masters from US, but now I may have to rethink,” he said.
A panel discussion, moderated by professor KP Vijayalakshmi of Jawaharlal Nehru University, was another highlight. Among the panelists was Raja Mohan, director, Carnegie India. He felt that there is a need to understand America on its own terms, and not based on individual preferences. “The result will affect everyone in the world. These elections have shown how much of a political animal America is, and it is important to understand the country without personal likes and dislikes,” he said.
The US Ambassador to India, Richard R Verma, addressed the crowd gathered just before the new President was announced. “I want to congratulate both candidates, Secretary Clinton and Mr Trump on a very hard fought campaign. We have come a long way from when I was working in House of Representatives as an intern in 1987. Then, you could count on one hand the number of people of south-Asian descent that were working on Capitol Hill.” He added, “We are here to celebrate and recognise the American democratic election process. We have a special vantage point here, in the world’s largest democracy as we watch the process play out. The ties that bind our countries are based on shared values and go beyond any one person or party. Whatever the result, the US-India relationship will continue to grow and prosper.”