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A glimpse of hope, despair at counting centers

They spent their early morning beside a bonfire, setting afire tit-bits of papers and dry leaves, writes Vijay Soni.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2003 21:09 IST
Vijay Soni (
Vijay Soni (

Eight-year-old Madhav, who lives in Ambedkar Nagar's slum cluster, has been camping at the Jijabai ITI counting centre since early morning. He had put in a month's hard work campaigning for the Congress candidate Choudhary Prem Singh.

His efforts were backed by the hope that if Prem Singh wins, the latter will help him in getting electricity and water supply for his mud-and-brick house in Ambedkar Nagar.

As the news of Prem Singh maintaining a lead against his BJP rival trickled in, a sense of relief and happiness was nowhere as pronounced as on Madhav's countenance.

Madhav was not alone. With him were a group of other hopefuls who had reasons to be there on the day of counting. They spent their early morning, beside a bonfire, setting afire tit-bits of papers and dry leaves.

"I am not sure, if I will get electricity and water but Choudhary saheb has helped me in the past. So, I have reasons to be here", said a sceptical Madhav. Madhav is a migrant labourer who came to Delhi 12 years ago in search of livelihood.

"We were promised that we will not be displaced and will get electricity connection but that has not happened in the last ten years", says Krishnakant, a plumber from Orissa who lives in the outskirt of Ambedkar Nagar.

With the final round of counting complete and Prem Singh declared elected from Ambedkar Nagar constituency, it remains to be seen what happens to Madhav's cherished dream.

With a pinch of Salt

The election results shows it's women power, but not for all. With Shiela Dikshit, Uma Bharati and Vasundhara Raje stamping their presence emphatically, it sounds good for women but only for those who are on the top. Arti Mehra of BJP, who lost against her nearest rival Kiran Walia of Congress from Hauz Khas, took her defeat with a pinch of salt.

"In my case, it was a woman against woman. People of Delhi have gone for Congress, en masse. Let's admit and respect people's verdict", said Arti, clad in a saffron outfit with a tilak on her forehead.

But have Sheila Dikshit and Sonia Gandhi anything to do with the Congress capture in Delhi?

At least for Subhash Chopra, Sonia played a major role. It's not Shiela Dikshit. "Shiela Dikshit has been in power for the last five years, but the credit should goes to Soniaji who has been able to keep the party together", says Subhas.

Courage under fire

As the counting of votes began early morning and news of the first and second rounds began to trickle in, frantic calls were being made by the party workers to their contesting leaders. Few of the contesting leaders had the gall to be there when their fates were being decided. It was only when the initial trends of victory were visible, they started trickling in.

A feast for some

The day of counting was no different than the election day with strict restrictions on cigarettes, mobiles and eatables inside the counting halls. The most affected were party workers who couldn't inform their leaders about the actual status and had to come out of the hall to inform their leaders the latest trends of the counting.

As most of them were aware about restrictions on mobile, they had kept it in their cars. But there were others, who thought morning to be too early and had come with their pack breakfast. On not being allowed to take it inside, they had to drop it at the entry points. So, it was cigarettes, bidis, sandwiches, biscuits and other goodies galore at the security gate.

And not to say, few feasted on them, including security personnel. Election times are good time for all!

First Published: Dec 04, 2003 21:09 IST