Long way to go before the US catches up with us

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: I saw the Ace Political Expert (APE) in the lounge of the Legislators’ Home watching Barack Obama’s getting elected as the next President of the United States of America.

He was very subdued and not euphoric when the whole world was going ga-ga. I figured there must be a specific reason for APE’s thanda reaction.

As we sipped the double strong coffee specially made for our MLAs, I asked: “What’s the matter? You don’t seem to be happy over Obama’s victory. Isn’t it a historic victory for the Afro-American?”

“That’s all fine. Their election process is too dull and drab. Maja Illa. It lacks the intensity, the intrigue and the suspense of our elections. They have a long distance to go if they have to catch up with us.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“They don’t have even a single booth capturing event in their elections. They haven’t heard of Indian ink, which is really Mysore Ink, if you ask me. How do they make sure the same person doesn’t come back to vote again and again? Imagine, even with Indian ink marked between the forefinger and nail, chamchas of our politicians still manage to sneak in and vote proxy for others after washing it off. I just can’t understand their system.”

“Any hanky-panky is generally ruled out as they have evolved a good system there.”

APE wasn’t happy with my reaction.

“They don’t even declare a holiday for an election unlike here and I am told all the liquor shop there remain open. The way Obama won with huge majority, it can only mean free flow of liquor, which happens here even with liquor shops closed.”

“They don’t give free liquor or buy votes or for that matter even sell tickets for Ministers’ children.”

“I understand their soldiers working in Iraq and Afghanistan also cast their votes. I am sure Barack Hussein Obama’s supporters would have made sure large number of  Iraqis and Afghanistanis would have sneaked in their votes  for him,” said APE.

“It can’t happen there. They have a Social Security Number for all their citizens.”

“Don’t we issue ration cards and election cards too and still voters can’t find their names in the voters list? What about security? I am not sure the American Public would not have been able to vote as freely as we do.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Here our Central Reserve Police and Police from neighboring States protect the polling stations as well as voters.”

“It’s not needed there.”

“Our politicians make  agreements like ‘Twenty20’ wherein one side rules first and other side is ditched when it is their turn to rule or launch  ‘Operation Kamala’ , Vimala or Shobha which are subtle nuances in political experiments.” APE wouldn’t give up.

“What do you find one major difference between our politicians and American politicians,” I asked in the end.

“I can cite many. First, by coining slogans like  ‘Roti Kapada Makaan’, ‘Garibi Hatao’ our politicians show they really care for poor. Second, some of our MLAs and MPs may be crooks, convicts and criminals, but their hearts bleed for the poor; so they try by hook or crook to become Ministers to serve the poor. I am not sure if that is the case in American politics. Finally, words like ‘secular’, ‘communal’ ‘Booth-capturing’ is our contribution to the democratic processes,” replied the APE as we came out of the Legislators’ Home.