From Down Under to vote

Published on May 11, 2004 06:33 PM IST

Ajit Singh, an Indian businessman based in Sydney in Australia flew all the way to Guna in Madhya Pradesh to exercise his franchise.

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PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Bhopal

A groom exercised his franchise on the way to his marriage ceremony, 35 members of a family voted at the same polling station, and yet another Indian came all the way from Australia to vote.

These were among the many sidelights that the Indian general election threw up in Madhya Pradesh in the last phase of polling Monday.

After all, India is the world's largest democracy and elections are held after a gap of five years. Some even compare the exercise with the mega religious gathering of Mahakumbh Mela.

For Ajit Singh, an Indian businessman based in Sydney in Australia, the polls were very important all right.

Singh, a native of Shivpuri district in north Madhya Pradesh that falls under the Guna constituency, flew to India to cast his vote.

He had to shell out Rs.57,000 for the trip, but that didn't worry him.

Singh, however, felt sad at the low turnout of voters - at 46 percent in the state - and felt that voting should be made compulsory in India.

The elections were on the mind of Shweta Khandelwal too, even in the midst of her own marriage! A resident of Neemuch district, she got married May 9 to a resident of Jaipur in Rajasthan.

Shewta was to leave for her husband's house early Monday. But she decided to cast her vote before leaving. Wearing her wedding dress, and much to the surprise of the election staff, Shweta reached her polling centre and voted.

Similar was the case of Kamlesh Nandekar of Indore. He got married Monday, but before leaving for the bride's house for the ceremony, Nandekar went to the polling station to cast his vote.

Like Shweta, he too was in his wedding attire.

Equally interesting was the case of Srikrishna Bhaiyya's family in Indore. Thirty five members of the family reached the polling centre in a cavalcade of three cars and several two-wheelers.

Police personnel became alert at seeing the cavalcade, thinking it belonged to a politician.

Bhaiyya's family consists of 55 members, of which 40 had the right to vote. The eldest voter in the family was 83 years old while the youngest was 21.

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