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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

It was Shah Rukh vs Gehlot-Scindia in Jaipur
Indo-Asian News Service, PTI
Jaipur, December 01, 2003
First Published: 20:52 IST(1/12/2003)
Last Updated: 20:52 IST(1/12/2003)

For some hours on Monday morning, the longest queues were seen not outside polling booths in this Rajasthan capital but outside theatres screening the latest Shah Rukh Khan blockbuster "Kal Ho Na Ho".

Shah Rukh was the clear winner over Congress' Ashok Gehlot and Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Vasundhara Raje Scindia -- at least between 11 am and 12 noon when the lines before ticket counters in the city's Rajmandir and The Golcha theatres far exceeded any queue outside a polling booth.

When asked about whom would they vote for, Khushi Singh, a third year law student said pertly: "My vote goes only to Shah Rukh".

Are Gehlot and Scindia listening?

*****

If the youth seemed to have temporarily discarded politicos for the lure of seeing Shah Rukh Khan prance and emote his way through "Kal Ho Na Ho", the older generation had a more interesting preoccupation - the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

From early in the morning, old men could be seen walking towards polling booths with their grandchildren and telling them about the voting process. There was a healthy turnout of the elderly, all thanks to the EVMs they had never used before.

Said RK Sharma after casting his vote: "It was really a nice experience to cast the vote by pressing the button."

*****

There was a lot of excitement about the use of EVMs for the first time in all the 200 constituencies of the state, but it was short-lived in some places with technical faults being reported in many machines.

At many polling booths, people had to wait for a long time due to the technical snags. Ironically, even Lalit Kothari, chief electoral officer of the state, had to wait for nearly 20 minutes at the Gandhi Nagar polling booth in Jaipur before he could cast his vote.

Reports of such faults came in from across the state and even Deputy Chief Minister Banwari Lal Bairwa faced the same problem.

Clearly, even high-tech machines can go wrong.

*****

The BJP is praying hard that it will get an opportunity to appoint the desert state's first woman chief minister in Vasundhara Raje Scindia. And it seemed that women were determined to make themselves noticed outnumbering men in many booths.

This was true even of Muslim areas where burkha clad women were seen coming in groups to cast their votes.

Now it is only to be seen whether this show of strength translates into support for Scindia or Gehlot. Or somebody else.

*****

The timing of the elections gave people a chance for an extended weekend and a well-deserved break from the routine.

While several decided to stay back at home, there were some enthusiasts who coupled their democratic duties with some fun. Like Avinash Pandey of Banipark, who went out for a picnic after casting his vote.

"I was one of the first people to cast my vote in the morning so that I could move out with my family. See, I have done both the duties of a citizen and a family head," he said.


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