Bray hard: Know your elections
By Al Ngullie
In Nagaland, you know it is already election time when every politician in the street suddenly happens to recognize you as his long-lost cousin’s first-wife’s maternal uncle’s younger brother’s Science lecturer’s third husband’s grandmother’s fourth nephew’s best friend’s English teacher’s step-mother’s neighbor’s village council chairman’s son’s best friend’s neighbor.
Notwithstanding the unspoken wisdom that election is often lovingly referred to as ‘a general conference of donkeys’, polls are – in a way – also a reaffirmation that man is the only creature in the animal kingdom that commits the same mistake over and over again. During polls, leaders and the trampled alike, converge for a common cause. The common cause is to build a ‘brighter future’. Well enough, is it not a curious scientific coincidence that donkeys and asses are one of the most short-sighted creatures in the entire animal kingdom? Now you know.
Here are some Indian election trivia you might want to go though. For Nagaland, well, you’ll have to bray…pray…harder because – as a senior state bureaucrat once put it – “Nagaland is a statistical nightmare”. There’s practically no one or department to compile statistics. Do you know:
• This one is really cute: This election, one polling booth is to be set up in the Gir Forest hills in India’s western state of Gujarat. So what’s new? Well, to enable a single voter, a priest, to cast his vote.
• Ever wondered where the term “Goondaism” came from? Of the 543 elected members of Parliament, 128 (or 24 %) have criminal cases against them. Several cases are for serious crimes, including murder and corruption.
• The word ‘candidate’ comes from the Latin `candidatus` meaning “one clad in white.” $500 Pierre Cardins will do for Naga candidates, thank you very much.
• Believe it or not, in 1996 for the Modaurichi assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu, 1033 candidates contested for a single seat. The ballot paper was in the form of a small “magazine.” (Many citizens are suspicious that the Education department actually printed it as a magazine to encourage politicians to be literate…)
• India is truly a democracy of the rural and common people. In India, four out of every 12 ministers and 6 out of every 10 MLAs, cannot even write their own names. Thumbs up to them!
• The Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd is to supply 2 million bottles of indelible ink for the 2009 elections. Each 10-millilitre bottle inks 700 fingers. Order another million bottles for illegal immigrants.
• ‘Ballot` and `bullet` are both derived from words for `balls`. The Greeks dropped a white ball when they favored a candidate and a black ball for those opposed to. (Now you know where the vote-phrase “Castrate the pollers” came from)
• The Indian National Congress party has been in power for 48 years of the 61 years since the Republic of India was founded. Well, you can’t always blame your parents for messing you up.
• The shortest-lived government in Indian history was formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1996. It lasted 13 days. Did someone just whisper ‘Lucky country’?
• This time, more than 714 million people form the electorate, an increase of 43 million voters over the last elections in 2004. Now you know why condoms are an urgent necessity.
• Here’s your chance to blame politicians for causing Global Warming and Climate Change before Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) were introduced: You save about 8, 000 metric tonnes of paper by using EVMs.
• In Bomdila district of Arunachal Pradesh in a recent election, only three persons turned out for polling, landing a place in the record books as the lowest voter turnout ever. Now that’s one commendable state that has no faith in politicians.
• Rs. 100 Million approximately is the total cost of a single election. So think twice before you vote for any candidate. It’s your money they are spending.
• One Ashok Kumar, an independent candidate from Chandni Chowk, Delhi got 45 votes in the last elections. His is the lowest vote-getter till date. We need more such voting to slowly push politicians into extinction.
Note: this article is written by one our journalist Al Ngullie, if you would like to read more of his previous articles, jounals you can visit his column on United Colors of Naga