Gorakhpur: Where the election is hiding in plain sight

It's the afternoon of the fifth phase of polling and by 11, the percentage had touched over 25. 

Published: 27th February 2017 03:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th February 2017 08:31 PM   |  A+A-

Voters show their identity card as they wait in a queue to cast their votes at Muradnagar, in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. Uttar Pradesh and four other Indian states are having state legislature elections in February-March, a key mid-term test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government which has been ruling India since 2014.(Photo | AP)

Image used for representational purpose. | AP

Express News Service

GORAKHPUR:This may be the most furiously fought election in any state, but the cities, towns and villages in this region are quieter than the nightfall over the mustard fields. The Election Commission has done its bit, ordering the walls cleared of posters and the hypocritically humble faces of local politicians. No buntings relieve the convoluted chaos of power lines. No processions or chorus of slogans interrupt the lazy progress of burdened rickshaws.

There are small squadrons of motorcycle riders shouting the occasional slogan; but the candidate remains hidden behind the darkened glass of a white Scorpio like an enigmatic reason behind a purdah.

It’s the afternoon of the fifth phase of polling in the UP election, and by 11 am the voting percentage has touched over 25 per cent.

The nature of the vote-seeking has changed. And of politics too.

Suryakanth Pandey, a former Mulayam aide for years, joined the CPI in Faizabad. He had no money to contest except tor the sundry thousand well-wishers slipped into the pocket of his torn kurta. He knows he will lose like all the battles Lohiaites have fought in the changing castelands of the cowbelt. 

Pandey says Mulayam changed with power. That projects only proved to be well-paved roads to illegal wealth.

But the wealth seems to have vanished after demonetisation. Workers are sweating it out knocking on doors. Even powerful local MPs do street-corner meetings. Narendra Modi may address crowds from splendid stages but the arithmetic of elections is toted up at nukkads.

In this silent tumult, the chorus of whispers form the political conversation of Uttar Pradesh.

The election? Oh yes, its hiding in plain sight. 

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