Who cares for the lal batti
Thus far this election has, if anything, been remarkable for the zero-tolerance for VIP tantrums when cars are stopped by the police for a cash and booze check on the highways. No vehicle is being spared no matter what the colour of the batti -- red, amber or blue. For a change, senior officers are out in the field, flagging down even ambulances for that matter. The checkpoints are looking for basically two staples of any poll in India, cash and liquor. Plus, in Punjab, drugs as well.
But baksheesh will be sought
That’s not to say the cops won’t touch the odd wayfarer for a tenner or two. One farmer had the consternation of going to a bank to withdraw his quota of Rs 24,000 and being paid partly in a whole lot of coins. Carrying all that metal past a naka, he obviously attracted the attention of the policemen. Questions were asked and proof was shown but then a whole sackload of coins are an altogether an impressive sight than a wad of notes. So the coppers put out a hand for a baksheesh of Rs 200 bucks, all coins mind you. The farmer’s loud protests attracted the attention of paramilitary officers posted there and they came to the cultivator’s rescue.
The flower girl’s campaign tactics
The Aam Aadmi Party’s campaign style is radically different from the rabble-rousing tactics employed by the more conventional parties, namely the Congress and the Akali Dal. No noisome two-wheeler rallies with youngsters shrieking like native American braves. In ones and twos, much like flower girls and Red Cross volunteers, the AAP volunteers approach motorists at traffic lights and roundabouts carrying polite banners. They request rather than hector. Their most visible campaign material is the balloon bearing the party symbol. At once it is frugal and more visible. Most of the AAP volunteers have come from out of state.