| People discuss the general election at a tea stall in front of New Secretariat on Wednesday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
On the election day eve, political hullabaloo scored over the Indian Premier League fever.
The discussions over candidates and the last-minute interpretations before pressing the button, outshined the usual glitz and glamour of the opening ceremony of the seventh edition of the IPL, the annual T20 cricketing extravaganza.
On Wednesday evening Patna-based lawyer Ravi Parmar had invited a few friends to his home to watch the first match between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Though the opening ceremony was beamed live from Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, the topic of discussion among the cricket fans remained Shatrughan Sinha, Parveen Amanullah and Misa Bharti. The contestants from Patna Sahib and Pataliputra had replaced the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma and Jacques Kallis.
“On the poll eve, most people introspect about their decision on any candidate or a party before casting their vote. Everyone was pitching in with their viewpoints and why they preferred a particular candidate. Though the deliberations doused the cricketing spirit, it was fruitful at the end,” said Parmar.
The verbal volleys among voters were witnessed across the city during the day. From vegetable markets to grocery stores, from tea stalls to autorickshaw rides, voters were busy debating and putting across their points about the “right” leader.
“Clear hai, badlav chahiye. Development chahiye. El lehar hai iss baar (It is clear. We want change. We want development. There is a wave this time),” said businessman Ajay Prakash, while seeping a cuppa with his friends in front of New Secretariat in the afternoon.
Those overhearing the debates could easily sense the tilt and gauge who would be at the helm of affairs after the election.
“All the shopkeepers at Harihar Chambers were discussing elections. Based on their discussion, I can say that despite allegations of not visiting the constituency, Bihari Babu (actor Sinha) seems to be taking the lead in Patna Sahib. All credits to the Modi wave,” said Nihar Sajjan, one of the shopkeepers.
At Patna Junction, many people, especially youths from other districts were seen heading back to their native places so that they could cast their votes on Thursday.
Harsh Vardhan (18), a first-time voter from Garsanda village in Munger, seemed elated while waiting for the train in the afternoon.
“I have informed my coaching institute that I would not be able to attend the classes during the next two days because I am going home to cast my vote. I want to vote because I want more jobs for youths and more development in the country. I am excited because I would be voting for the first time,” said Harsh, who is preparing for competitive exams in Patna. Munger votes on Thursday.
The airport, on the other hand, seemed comparatively deserted. The movement of buses at the Mithapur stand was also low.