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The great cover-up

Elections are round the corner, but what are those structures covered in tarpaulin? Let's take a dekko

india Updated: Jan 12, 2012 11:47 IST

As the day ended on Wednesday, so did the deadline, issued by the Election Commission (EC), to ensure that all sculptural representations of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati were kept under wraps. The EC's strictures were applicable to the elephant as well - not the ones in zoos or those roaming free in the wild - but the bronze and stone avataars that might remind people of the BSP, Mayawati's party. With hundreds of these pachyderms across UP now wrapped in plastic sheets, the upcoming assembly polls in the state are expected to ensure a level playing field for all contestants.

Television and newspaper reports kept a close watch on the elephantine (obviously) task of covering up these elephants. Some wondered whether elephants represented on temple walls or currency notes would be robed as well. That daunting task was avoided, as the focus seems to be on elephants trumpeting Mayawati's achievements, allegedly built with public funds. Yet others ruminated on what would happen to the numerous structures that bear the surname of India's first political family? It seemed that while statues representing the Gandhis were also covered by the EC's strictures, the offence caused by the dead was much less than that caused by those alive and kicking.

Which brings us to the hypothetical voter on polling day itself, on his way to cast his vote, with gigantic plastic-clad structures looming in the background. Wouldn't human nature warrant that the mind will keep dwelling on that which is hidden and yet omnipresent, and that other parties and their symbols will be but specks on the mental horizon by the time the polling station is reached? The voter might even feel cheated at the thought of the monies spent in erecting these statues and then in covering them up. And how she votes then, will be the puzzle we will all be waiting to solve.