Election time

Its election time once again. These are the local municipal elections here in Bhopal but the work load usually doubles because of them. Since these are for a new township, the number of voters as well as the area which these elections cover is very small. This broadly means that the major parties, which would normally distribute their workers over a much bigger area and dilute the canvassing, are concentrated in just one township. The result is a madhouse.

All day people are clamoring for posters, banners, calendars (the Hindu new year is on the 9th of this month) and often a mix of all these. Normally the national parties get their work done in one of the metros and have it shipped to Bhopal for local distribution. But during the local elections all the work is done here. Of course, that means more work for us but it also means that we can’t finish all of it. We never have completed all the work in the past for local elections. It keeps pouring in even during the last hours before canvassing is stopped.

Yet no one goes home disappointed. Everyone tries to get in as much stuff as they possibly can and they know that all of it will never get done. When the work of a particular candidate is done, he comes back with more work because there is time. This goes on till the clock strikes midnight on the stipulated day before the elections to mark the end of all canvassing. Then we just shut the machines down mid-print. Ok, that is a bit simplistic but it does explain the essence of what goes on. Work does go on till the last day. The parties keep throwing accusations and answering each other to keep that edge. Most of the time it is through open letters to the voting public in the form of pamphlets or posters.

Unfortunately, during this time the regular work gets stopped. Most people understand about the elections, a few don’t. But they don’t have a choice. Every printing press is pressed into printing campaigning materials. So no one else does any other printing either. Its all elections till they are over. This is usually followed by a few days break before continuing normal work again. Most of the people in this line are dead tired by that time and need a break. Designing and printing goes on in three shifts during this time and everything is urgent. The photographers also do a good business during this time taking countless photos of candidates and their issues.

India is the world’s largest democracy and our election process, especially the campaign paraphernalia printing amounts, bring that out in flying colors.

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